Originally Posted by 20736
I have an interest in breeding to the SOP, and am just starting.
In your opinion, should a starting breeder line breed his/her stock from one source, or start with more than one source for the brood stock.
Also, if you can state your breeding experience please.
I have cross breeding experience, but no SOP experience at all.
Thanks in advance.
I understand your curiosity. There is a lot of enthusiasm flying around about biodiversity and healthy genetics. About line and inbreeding being assoicated with lack of vigor and genetic bottlenecks.
My history is 15 years of collie breeding. I strain-corssed 3 vintage linebred strains , each completely unrelated to the other for at least 4 generations, to form the foundation of our kennel where we were striving to create a new strain of smooth collie working/show/service dogs. We did succeed but left the breed in 2009 because I didn't like the direction it was going . It took 2 years to find the strains and cross match them in the abstract for Type, Health and Temperment so we could have excellent balance in the abstract which showed up in the 1st and second litters as the stats predicted.
Now as to strain crossing to establish a flock or strain. Unless you have the months or years to spend in analyzing and calculating your predictable balance in the abstract, don't do it. There is at least one Darwinian law of variation which can interfere with your calculations.
Because poultry have so many sex-linked genes and the male is XX and the female XY ( as opposed to male XY and females XX in dogs cats and other mammals) , poultry are more difficult to breed than some mammals.
This is a very good reason to start with a vintage linebred strain and then linebreed it yourself. The founder of your chosen strain can advise you if, or when, to outcross to a related member of your strain. Do not outcross varieities or cross breed to another breed. The genetic variation which results can be very discouraging to a beginner and take years to bring back the excellence with which you started.
How to start:
1.Have a plan and a goal for your flock. Be able to articulate it to the breeder whose flock you have chosen.
2. Buy a copy of the SOP and join the APA to get the yearbooks. 60. for SOP and 25. to join APA. The best 2 investments you will make. Breeders will take you more seriously if they know you have joined and are studying the SOP.
3. Study the flock and strain you have chosen. Be able to discuss their creation and history with the owner. Be able to articulate what you with to accomplish with the birds you get ( see #1).
4. Join the National Breed Club and take advantage of their educational opportunities.
I know this seems like a lot, but creating the right foundation will show the top breeders you are serious and stand you in good educational stead when it comes time to cull your hatches.
5. Have your pen set up and ready so if the breeder asks(or even if he/she doesn't) you have a nice set-up to show them in pics. No need for multiple pens to start, you can add them later.
I spent quite a while studying the landrace breeds and discussing biodiversity with the folks who advocated vigoursly random mating or straincrossing or crossbreeding to maintain biodiversity. All they ever ended up with was random-bred animals. Landraces with no real definable character except they were of the same breed.
When I asked them how they intended to fix characteristics, their answer was...they didn't. They were content with random-bred animals as long as they were of the same breed...or in their world "landrace". So there is really no common ground between the purebred breeder and the landrace biodiversity advocate. At first, it seems as tho biodiversity is a good thing , as they advocate it for purebred animals. But if followed to its logical conclusion, it is a red herring which leads to the end of purebred animals with fixed characteristics. And if we are going to follow a breeding philosphy, we ought to be able to flow it t oits logical conclusion... and have that conclusion be a positive one for breeders of purebred animals.
So what shall we then do?
If there is no answer with the landrace folks, where do we look?
The answer lays in the study of the classic animal breeding plans laid out by such folk as J. Davies(1891); Jay Lush(1940's) and Jerold Bell( 1990 and forward). The Aga Khan, Tesio, and others.
By studying their works we find that there are ways to collect virtue in a pedigree or program which allow biodiversity and set characteristics at the same time. Often the different breeding plans are interwoven at different times in a breeding program to achieve this. A breeder may inbreed to set type, then outcross to a related member of the same strain, then linebreed until another outcross is needed to a related member , if ever.
Once the breeding plan has been established and understood, it is possible to never outcross and keep a viable gene pool... while upgrading the stock thru wise selection.
Ah, there's that word. Selection. It's the skill which keeps us from having to random breed. Done wisely, it lifts our stock to further levels of excellence each generation. Selection requires knowledge of the strain, the SOP and the nuances of the breed. It is very difficult to understand proper breed type without studying the history and origins of the breed...see how we come back even now to that "correct foundation" we were talking about earlier (1-5)? It's all interconnected. Each field of knowledge feeds the other. Add experience to that and we end up with wisdom.
I firmly believe that all the preceding info is why the veteran breeders (especially in the parti-color breeds) wisely advise to choose a veteran line-bred stock ( with show wins to prove it). Buy the very best you can and line-breed the animals. There is such variety in the poultry gene pool. Plenty of chances to exercise your artist's eye within the SOP while still working with a closed flock of one strain. In fact, more chances, because you won't be struggling against the tide of genetic variation which a crossed flock has. You can spend your time breeding further excellence instead. Talk to the breeder and follow his/her advice until you understand the nuances of the strain.
Karen in western PA
Edited by 3riverschick - 7/9/12 at 1:02pm