Are not all chickens these days actually hybrid?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by brummie, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are not all chickens hybrid? After all, pretty much any pure breed we mention now was a cross of 2 different types of chicken breeds a hundred or so years ago. So what makes them pure breed now, and if we have a cross these days between 2 different types of chicken, it becomes a hybrid?

    I just don't get it. Do I need to understand genetics in detail to properly understand the difference between hybrid and pure breed?

    Sorry if it's been asked before, I could not find thread.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You are correct that many of the well known breeds are composite breeds. Chicken breeds are not species such as a robin, sparrow or eagle. These are domesticated birds and have been for thousands of years.

    What make s a breed at all is that the birds are bred toward the Standard. This expression is much preferred. Standard bred poultry means the breeder is well versed in the lengthy description of the bird known as the Standard of Perfection. This Standard goes into great length as well as having drawing showing "the Perfect" Orpington or "the perfect" Barred Rock. Of course, no bird is perfect, but well bred, Standard bred birds come close enough to the Standard for the breed that they are greatly admired. If one wishes to discover just how close to the idealized standard of perfection a bird is, just enter it in a major poultry show where it will be judged by experienced and knowledgeable judges.

    If a bird is so far, far "off" from the Standard written for it, legs are wrong, body shape is wrong, the tail is wrong, the eye color is wrong, the breast, feathers, color, beak, comb is wrong for the breed it is posing as, then it is said to be very impure or off the Standard.

    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A hybrid is an intentional crossing of birds, aiming a specific result.

    For example, the hatcheries use many, many hybrids. These are not breeds at all. But, if they want to sex the chicks, by fuzz color at hatch, they can make a hybrid to do that for them. For example, if you but a Red/Gold rooster over a Silver/white hen the chicks hatch with the males being like their mothers and the females being reddish/brown like their father.

    This is a popular hybrid. The intentional crossing to create a mix, on purpose, for a purpose.
     
  4. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for input Fred.

    So let me get this straight. There is some sort of "standard" to judge what a pure breed is and what is hybrid? If a bird is not a good specimen of that breed then it is not considered part of that breed, but is considered a hybrid? But that does not make sense. Because, for example all leghorns are considered leghorns no matter how bad a leghorn it is, if it's parents are leghorns it is a leghorn. I'm still not getting it.

    And besides, what would this standard mean in practical terms? Are hybrids not as good quality birds for their meat or eggs? (is that why they are a bit cheaper). What if a hybrid was crossed with another hybrid(a goldline x goldline for example)? What would you get, the same hybrid offspring (goldline in this case)? And why do I hardly ever see hybrid roosters? Where have all the hybrid roosters dissapeared to? What's a hybrid hen supposed to do when it can't find any hybrid roosters?
     
  5. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't purebred chickens breed true and hybrid chickens don't breed true? Because I know that Red and Black stars don't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, many hybrids are VERY desirable. The females of the laying hybrids are prized. Unfortunately, the males are not and most male never make it out of the hatcheries alive.

    With meat birds, the male hybrids are very prized. They'll be the larger bodied meat birds. Although it is common practice to ship out chicks of both males and females in the meat world of hybrids. Both are quite edible.

    No, hybrid do not "breed true". The Red Sex Link, commonly marketed with names such as Golden Comet, Cinnamon Queen, etc, do not repeat. You can breed them, they aren't mules, but the nifty sexing of chicks? That's a one trick pony. At second generation the chicks cannot be sexed at hatch. They're just nice chickens like the rest of the chickens of the world but can no longer be sexed at hatch.

    Just remember, a breed is not a species. A breed is a human invention. When a bird matches the ideal of what the creators of the breed intended, then it is said to be a good example of the breed. When the bird "sort of" looks like the breed, it said to be a poor example. When the bird looks too, too far off, No. It's a chicken, but not THIS or THAT breed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, they do. Better put, however, is that Standard bred chickens must breed true to their breed standard. That is one of the qualifying aspects of becoming a breed in the first. Again, the expression "pure bred" is a bit of a misnomer. It applies better to pedigreed animals like dogs and cattle or horses much better than it does to the chicken. Chickens don't have pedigrees per se.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  8. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fred, thanks for taking the time out to explain that, I think I'm finally beginning to get it.

    A chicken is a chicken. I can cross for example a vorwerk with a australorpe, and I'll get a chicken that may not neccassailry have an "official" name and standard for it, but it's probably still a good healthy chicken that gives meat and eggs as good as any other "pure bred" chicken and I should not be worried about it being a cross, it's still a chicken. This "unofficial" cross, although not a pure bred, is not a hybrid either because it can still breed true?

    So I should not feel gutted that what I thought were my Rhode Island Reds, are most probably "Production Reds", because I still have good, healthy, normal, real, living chickens, which for me is better than RIR, because I want them for eggs and these produce more eggs than RIRs. And there is no difference in egg, as an egg is an egg whichever chicken breed, cross or hybrid it is from.

    So the only real difference in practical terms between a hybrid and a pure bred is that hybrids do not breed true whereas as Pure breeds do. Is that it?

    For some reason I have avoided hybrids, becasue I always felt they were sooo carefully selected and bred to meet so many certain criteria for maximum production that they were almost not real chickens, that they were almost like robots. But even a hybrid is a true living real chicken, with it's own personality just like any other normal chicken with the only difference being that it cannot breed true. Is that right?
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Again, I'd back off the term purebred.

    There's no reason to be "guilted". However, there's hamburgers from McDonalds, hamburgers from the TGI Fridays and on occasion, I've had a gourmet hamburger from a super, duper place that was out of this world. They're all hamburgers, but they are not the same.

    To be very, very honest, almost none of the hatchery birds, even those "called" RIR are even close the Standard for the RIR. That's true of most everything the hatcheries sell. They are McDonalds, if you will. Cheap, available, healthy and shipped to your door or picked up for cheap at your local farm/feed store. Feel guilty for eating at Mc Donald's? No.

    But now and again? It sure is nice to have a better hamburger. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  10. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    not "guilted" , but "gutted" is a term we use here in the UK to mean upset or frustrated or let down.

    Another question comes to mind. If the only difference between a "true bred" and "hybrid" is that hybrids do not breed true, and that there is no real difference in quality/liveliness/health/personality of the bird you are getting then why is it that hybrids are more prone to to illnesses and need to be vaccinated more than "true breds"?

    Also, If I was to cross for example a australorpe with a vorwerk, then is there anyway of knowing whether the offspring will breed true or not when they themselves breed (without actually waiting for them to breed)? I'm guessing if the offspring does breed true, then it can actually be given a name as a distinct breed, but if it does not breed true then it would just be considered another hybrid or crossbreed. Right?
     

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