You know, your mention of gardening just made my brain turn in a different direction in thinking of this. I'm thinking of seed savers and people who develop hyperlocal strains of a given variety that do the very best in their yard/area - and this is seen as a very good thing, as it leads to lots of variety with regard to pest/disease resistance, heat or cold resistance, or thriving in salty soil (and therefore more resilience in the face of serious threats on a wider scale, re: severe weather, climate, or pest/disease outbreaks). See Irish potato famine for reference.
Indeed this is what we all should be doing for our own birds in our own flocks - and, by default, we do (hopefully), because we select those who do well. For instance, all of mine will ultimately be selected to do well in this hot hot climate (meat birds will grow well, layers will lay well), and to be alert and run for cover when an aerial predator approaches. This leads to overall increased robustness PROVIDED there is mindful selection. Letting everyone have babies regardless won't get you very far, and too many "crutches" would be problematic as well (which I will struggle with - how long do I provide overhead protection, what losses am I willing to accept - I will need to develop more vegetative cover before leaving them open and exposed to hawks, though).
I think the reason I'm so irritated about the CL situation is that I had always planned to do this work with the Naked Neck flock, but hadn't really anticipated a second "project" to work on the CLs. More work (though if it bothers me this much, I suppose I should put my money where my mouth is...)
- Ant Farm
Don't put your money where your mouth is for everything that bothers you. When I do that, I run out of money. LOL.
We do select according to our conditions. The birds better adapted to our conditions perform better. Priority is ALWAYS health and vigor. That settles the rest concerning conditions. This takes many generations. We select our birds according to diet to.
Predation is not a good selector unless you are moving to southeast Asia and will select Jungle Fowl. We are not raising wild birds. That would be like breeding and selecting Labrador Retrievers to survive like wolves. What I am saying is we are breeding egg and meat producers not Jungle Fowl. Our birds are at an unfair disadvantage against hawks etc. Managing predators is part of the game.