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Confused about breeding program.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

We are trying to create a sustainable flock for meat and eggs, because I hate having to keep paying for chicks, and after careful consideration we settled on Buff Orpingtons. I'd like to start a breeding program in the spring. I have read so many breeding plans and I *think* I know how to go about this so we don't have too many issues, but I am getting confused from all the different ways I've read of going about it so I'd like to just lay out my plan and see if anyone can tell me if there are flaws/issues with it, please.

I currently 6 BO pullets who are 17 weeks old, they are hatchery stock and lord knows if they are closely related or not. I also have five 6-week old BO chicks purchased from someone semi-locally who breeds their own, 4 are for sure males and I'm on the fence about the other. Of them I was planning on keeping the two largest major-defect free cockerels for breeding.

I have one 8x8 coop with a 16 x 8 foot run, and two smaller tractor pens, and I'd really like not to have to build/purchase another if I can get away with it.

I have an incubator coming to me in November (a hand-me down from my husband's grandmother so I am not sure of it's capacity or anything until it arrives when she does), but I would like to use broody hens first :fl and only use the incubator if none of the ladies want to set for me.

My plan was this: Keep one cockerel in the larger pen with the ladies, let's call him A.
 Keep the other cockerel (we'll call him B) in a tractor pen.
As soon as someone goes broody, I will remove A to the empty tractor.
(Ideally I'd like to leave the babies in the coop with their mama and other hens but if that doesn't work out I can move them to a brooder.)
I'll mark all the resulting babies with A leg bands.
As they grow up, I will save the 4 best A pullets.
Now B and the original hens can mate and I'll label all the resultant babies with B leg bands, and save the 4 best pullets. 
So now we have the original hens, original roosters, pullets from A, and pullets from B. 
I'll butcher the old hens now and I will have only the 2 fathers and the 8 A/B daughters in the coop.
Here's where I really get confused.
So now, I will have to separate the girls, right? I don't necessarily want to mate B to his daughters, it would be better to breed him to A's daughters, and vice versa, correct? So will I need another coop/pen? Or maybe I can take the A girls to the B rooster pen for however long it takes for him to mate them all (if there are 4 pullets, how long would he need to mate them all? A day? A week?). 
Then the next set of babies will have B as their dad and A as their grandpa (lets call them Ba?), and the others A as their dad and B as their grandpa (Ab). From Ba and Ab I'd like to select one best cockerel and use them to replace A and B.
Now I have A hens and B hens, and an Ab cockerel and a Ba cockerel.
I will mate Ba to A hens, because they are the farthest removed, and mate Ab to B hens, and save the best four girls from each mating (crap, what do you name them? C and D? Maybe I should have gone with numbers....) and repeat. So one breeding season save pullets to replace hens and the next save cockerels to replace roosters. Now in people-speak, I think I am talking about breeding {mothers to nephews} and {granddaughters to grandfathers}.

Or perhaps I am over thinking it, and I can just let each rooster have a season in there, breeding with his daughters and half daughters rather than trying to figure out who's grandpa is who's and who is who's cousin twice removed. Oh man maybe I should just go back to super market chicken! :idunno

Will this plan maintain enough genetic diversity to last a few years, or would I be creating The Hills Have Eyes inbred freak chickens in no time flat?


Edited by machinfarm - 10/26/15 at 12:02pm
My menagerie: Buff Orpington chickens, Bronze and Bourbon Red Turkeys, Coturnix Quail, a Labrador, an American Pit Bull, two wild and crazy boys, a loving husband, and me!
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My menagerie: Buff Orpington chickens, Bronze and Bourbon Red Turkeys, Coturnix Quail, a Labrador, an American Pit Bull, two wild and crazy boys, a loving husband, and me!
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post #2 of 3

You won't see much impact from inbreeding for a very long time, even if you just let nature take it's course. There are many breeds and strains that have resulted from one pair, or a trio. Starting with a pair, you can breed daughters back to father and sons back to mother and create two lines, and keep going that way until you see problems, which would be many generations. At that point, the two lines would be far enough apart that they would give each other a boost, you could cross the hen line with the rooster line and start all over again. This method should see you through your natural lifetime. The important thing is to never select an inferior animal for breeding, because at that point linebreeding will intensify that defect. Learning to recognize defects is going to be more important than any specific mapped out breeding strategy. If A is superior to B, any perceived benefit to broadening your genepool through the use of B would be outweighed by his inferior contributions. It really shouldn't be hard to find a new BO rooster at some point down the road, if you needed some fresh genetics.

NPIP Certified Oriental Games and Asil
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NPIP Certified Oriental Games and Asil
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Ok, so quality trumps quantity when it comes to genetics, which makes a ton of sense. Thank you, varidgerunner!

My menagerie: Buff Orpington chickens, Bronze and Bourbon Red Turkeys, Coturnix Quail, a Labrador, an American Pit Bull, two wild and crazy boys, a loving husband, and me!
Reply
My menagerie: Buff Orpington chickens, Bronze and Bourbon Red Turkeys, Coturnix Quail, a Labrador, an American Pit Bull, two wild and crazy boys, a loving husband, and me!
Reply
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