Anyone know what a bottleneck chicken looks like?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by floridachickhatcher, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. floridachickhatcher

    floridachickhatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2011
    I was reading Backyard Poultry one day and it talked about bottleneck chickens are chickens that have been inbred

    Cause i keep a log of what chicks i hatch out and what rooster was those chicks dad so that i know not to use brothers or him again or uncles cause we make sure our chickens are pure with no inbred genes what so ever

    my aunt asked me does it matter? lol i told yes that chickens can inbred and they will be deformed body or even mind
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have no idea what a bottleneck chicken is. I've never heard that term. You can get some great information from Countryside, Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, and similar magazines, but I don't blindly believe everything I read in them.

    Every chicken breed was developed by inbreeding. Practically every championship show chicken was developed by inbreeding. Practically every backyard chicken flock that the pioneers or small farmers depended on for meat and eggs was inbred. Inbreeding by itself does not guarantee immediate and total disaster.

    When you breed chickens that are blood relatives, you do two things. You enhance certain traits. These traits may be good traits or bad traits. Sometimes you enhance some good and some bad. The trick is to select the chickens that have the traits you want and breed them. Do not breed chickens that show traits you don't want. Inbreeding is actually a good way to find recesive genes and traits you don't want in your flock so you can eliminate them. But for this to work, yoou have to know what you are looking for and recognize it when you see it. It helps to keep records like you are doing.

    The other thing that happens is that you decrease genetic diversity. This can lead to problems. One possible effect (not each and every time without fail but occasionally) that has been documented is that they can have decreased fertility, especially the roosters. ("Can" means it might happen, not that it is guaranteed to happen. It might not happen.)

    There are techniques to keep genetic diversity up. Most require good record keeping like you are doing. Spiral breeding is a good example. Many hatcheries use the pen breeding method, which basicaly keeps a lot of different roosters with a lot of different hens. The random nature of the mating keeps diversity up, but it does require several roosters and hens.

    My flock is not that big. The way I manage it is every three or four generations, I bring in some outside blood to maintain genetic diversity.

    There is nothing wrong with the way you are doing it. But don't get the wrong idea about inbreeding. It can lead to problems if it is not managed, but inbreeding has been around for thousands of years.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    A population bottleneck occurs when a reproductive population is separated from a main population with resultant reduction in genetic variation. Perhaps this is the situation to which you are referring? I seriously doubt that there is such a thing as a "bottle neck" chicken. The Greater Prairie chicken is one species that has been harmed/affected by population bottlenecks.

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