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When to introduce new genes

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just to let responders know where I'm coming from, I do have an advanced degree in genetics so I'm very familiar with why inbreeding is bad. I also grew up on a sheep farm and my experience with that is when it came breeding time, we never had rams mate with their offspring and got new rams every few years.

As an adult, I have chickens for the first time. I've been breeding my flock for something fun to do with my young kids. I sell the chicks online on a popular website. However, as I'm learning more about different breeds and want to start crossing them to try to achieve desired characteristics, at what point do I have to introduce new genes to avoid the negative aspects of inbreeding in chickens? What is everybody's experience? Or should I try to keep multiple lines of the same crosses going to try to avoid close relatives from breeding?
Edited by ChickenJesus - 6/16/16 at 5:30pm
post #2 of 8

All you have to do is breed the rooster with a hen,separate the hens and her chicks.Even if the rooster "Does" mate with the offspring,in order for it to be "Inbreeding" the offspring have to hatch their own,at least that's the way I look at it.So,just separate the offspring,and get a new rooster for them,and keep your old rooster with your other hens,hope you understand.But I see where you are coming from because I am doing the same thing.I have so far gotten some pretty chicks,hopefully the rest of Mama's eggs will hatch.

 

Also getting a new rooster to go with the chicks as they get older,and can mate if they decide to hatch your first roosters blood line will still be in process.

I have a  few chickens.

2 barreds,named Falcon and Hawk

1 New Hampshire rooster named,Zeus

2 New Hampshire hens named,Vanillipe (One has no name)

1 silver laced Wyandotte named,Special girl

1 White Leghorn roosters named Foggy

3 black&red Sex links,(Black)angel,and one red is named little red,and the other one is Mrs.Prissy

And a few others that sadly,died

 

I have a 11 ducks.

Reply

I have a  few chickens.

2 barreds,named Falcon and Hawk

1 New Hampshire rooster named,Zeus

2 New Hampshire hens named,Vanillipe (One has no name)

1 silver laced Wyandotte named,Special girl

1 White Leghorn roosters named Foggy

3 black&red Sex links,(Black)angel,and one red is named little red,and the other one is Mrs.Prissy

And a few others that sadly,died

 

I have a 11 ducks.

Reply
post #3 of 8
Inbreeding with chickens is much less risky than with mammals. As I read and study more and more, it seems inbreeding and line breeding are generally encouraged rather than avoided - some of the best known, highest quality (and most typey) strains have had NO outside genetics added for many generations. I seem to remember reading of master breeders of BPR and RIR flocks that were near the century mark since last out-crossing to another strain.

This being said, the first selection criteria is fertility/vigor (often including disease resistance), followed in order by physical type, temperament, and (finally) color and comb. Culling heavily is mandatory.
post #4 of 8
"As needed"
Is my answer. I do not have a degree in genetics but am very familiar with the good and bad of inbreeding.
I agree with range hen. Its my opinion that the first negative issues that pop up with too much inbreeding is fertility and immunity system problems. I believe thats mother natures way of controlling inbreeding.
You have to bring in new blood to contol that. Everyones ideas on inbreeding , linebreeding, outcrossing and their breeding program in general is gonna differ. The goals of your program is gonna greatly determine when to outcross or bring in new blood.
When you were raising sheep id bet it was raising them for market. You brought in new blood often for better health and better fertility. If you were raising them and trying to create a new breed or lock in certain traits you wouldnt have gotten too far with bringing in new rams every year or two.
When trying to create something new in a breed or create a new breed all together inbreeding isnt bad its necessary.
Inbreeding creates the new. Outbreeding continues the new
Inbreeding locks in the traits you want. It also can lock in traits you dont. When to bring in new blood will be up to you depending on your program and where its at and where you want it to go.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangehen View Post

Inbreeding with chickens is much less risky than with mammals. As I read and study more and more, it seems inbreeding and line breeding are generally encouraged rather than avoided - some of the best known, highest quality (and most typey) strains have had NO outside genetics added for many generations. I seem to remember reading of master breeders of BPR and RIR flocks that were near the century mark since last out-crossing to another strain.

This being said, the first selection criteria is fertility/vigor (often including disease resistance), followed in order by physical type, temperament, and (finally) color and comb. Culling heavily is mandatory.

Thank you. And bantamrooster too. In mammals, inbreeding is really frowned upon. Ancient Egypt is a perfect example!

Is there any literature on the topic that I should be reading or you would recommend?
post #6 of 8
You'll find a great discussion (specific to RIR, but applicable to others) in this thread.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/407294/the-heritage-rhode-island-red-site

Immerse yourself in the section of this forum on breeding to the SOP and for exhibition. There's so much good information there from experienced breeders, APA judges, and geneticists! Some of the best threads run to thousands of posts over the course of years - and are worthy of the time invested in reading them beginning to end.

If there's a thread specific to your chosen breed in that section, study it. Refine your eye as regards the breed type. Study the APA Standard of Perfection, especially the beginning sections discussing general defects and disqualifications. Go to poultry shows when you get the chance, so you can see quality birds in the flesh...but realize a "best of breed" or "best of variety" can sometimes be a mediocre bird if the class is small. Larger shows are more educational. If you have the opportunity to visit with a judge or accomplished breeder (in the vast amounts of free time they have at a large show :-P ) ask about their selection process - both what they keep and what they cull.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you. Those are good pointers. I'm not really all that interested in show quality birds, but I understand the connection you are making! There are a few shows around me within a 2 hour drive so maybe I will give that a shot! In addition to reading the thread you recommended. Thanks again!
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenJesus View Post

Thank you. Those are good pointers. I'm not really all that interested in show quality birds, but I understand the connection you are making! There are a few shows around me within a 2 hour drive so maybe I will give that a shot! In addition to reading the thread you recommended. Thanks again!

It's not just about showing your birds, but about seeing what the breed should look like. The breeds we know now were originally developed for a purpose, and the Standard of Perfection - at least regarding physical type - reflects the "ideal" bird which is designed to best perform that function.

Hatchery quality dual-purpose breeds, for example, are notorious for being undersized and having pinched tails. Both traits cause them to perform poorly as table fowl when they reach the end of their productive time... which usually is only a year or two versus the five or more years of better-bred birds.

For your purposes, such niceties as comb shape and plumage color may be irrelevant. Frame size, body shape, vigor, rate of growth, broodiness (or lack thereof), foraging ability, etc, however, will be important whatever your final goal for your flock.
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