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what is the origin of the commercial chicken breeds?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Might sound like a dumb question but i have been wondering lately where did all these birds that companies such as ISA and Hy-Line acquire their stock from, the multiple websites says that they have gene pools that they maintain going back 50 years or so, what I'm wondering is are those millions of egg laying machines descended from one rooster picked up in someone's backyard or from private breeders like those on BYC. idunno.gif   would anyone have a clue..?

 

I know i am random but yeah i just want to get your guess or opinion. big_smile.png

post #2 of 4

My guess is those 50 years of that mentioned gene pool and the breeding stock owned by the companies are from various purebred flocks that have characteristics for good egg production and in full health, Professional geneticists and breeders have mixed in those flocks and have worked hard to create a bloodline of layer birds that are egg laying machines. The egg industry on a global scale is a billion dollar industry so multiple egg companies such as Hy-line keep their breeding stock and the bloodline of the birds preserved with little disruption to the gene pool.

Mixed flock consisting of Welsummer,Araucana,Australorp and Leghorn.

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Mixed flock consisting of Welsummer,Araucana,Australorp and Leghorn.

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post #3 of 4
frow.gif Welcome to the forum! frow.gif Glad you joined us! frow.gif

The commercial egg laying chickens were developed much the same way the broilers were developed. The commercial poultry producers, sometimes working through university programs funded by commercial money and sometimes internally, used selective breeding and detailed study of genetics to develop the commercial egg layers. They decided what traits they wanted and paid genetics experts to help them develop chickens with those traits. Research is still going on.

It was not just a case of selecting your best egg layers and breeding them. They wanted chickens that lay a Grade A Large egg practically every day, have small body weight so more of what they eat goes to egg production rather than maintaining a large body, handles confinement well, does not often go broody, is sexable at hatch, and who knows what else. They paid to hatch a lot of chicks and raise them so they could select what they wanted. It was science, years of hard work, and a lot of money, not luck. Leghorns played a major part, but other breeds were brought in to add specific traits.

Tyson is headquartered here in Northwest Arkansas and has donated enough money to the University of Arkaksas Poultry Science department that the U of A has one of the top three poultry science departments in the country. The poultry science building is named after a Tyson since their donated money help pay for it and helps maintain it. Tyson influences what projects graduate students work on to earn their advanced degrees so they can hire people specifically trained in what they want them trained in. I see it as a win-win. It is not all through the universities, but they play a major part.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #4 of 4
The modern day commercial layer hen or broiler shares a relationship with the pure bred birds of decades ago in much the same way that we humans share a relationship with Australopithecus. Yes, they descended from the best farm flocks of the early twentieth century, but that was a LONG time ago. A huge amount of evolution has occurred since then in the ways that Ridgerunner and MrViskers relates.
Chance favors the prepared mind.
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Chance favors the prepared mind.
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