Biodiversity of Poultry

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by purelypoultry, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. purelypoultry

    purelypoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    Fremont, Wisconsin
    Hi, I have written a paper on Biodiversity of poultry for my english class. I have so far written the problem section and need to write the solutions section yet. I would like you to read it and comment about. I would like your feedback on the topic and concepts I have presented. I am considering writing a book about this.

    I have included the Intro here

    Biodiversity of Poultry

    Poultry biodiversity is essential component of our agricultural past and future. What changes can increase poultry biodiversity and why are these changes necessary? Why did the chicken farmer cross the road? The traditional answer is to get to the other side. An alternative motive may exist.​
  2. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2009
    I call it Genetic Diversity. Same thing. And YES, Genetic Diversity is essential fact of life. Since chickens are manipulated by what is in style, there is alot of inbreding that is ruinning many breeds. With purebred chickens, one question I ask the breeder is, what blood would you use on your line? Many times the breeder will tell you of whom he/she would like to breed to their line of birds. Unfortunately, there are too many brother to sister breedings gone way too long till that line can not reproduce anymore, or worse only reproduce smaller birds. I am a firm believer in using several lines of birds in my flocks.
  3. purelypoultry

    purelypoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    Fremont, Wisconsin
    I called my paper biodiversity because i started it with both genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity in mind. Do you think there is a potential for a book titled Poultry Genetic Diversity: How and why? or should it be titled biodiversity of poultry?

    What changes can increase poultry biodiversity and why are these changes necessary?
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Next year I'm going to buy some from Peachick if she has any... and tailfeathers and I'm hoping to get some hatching eggs from Wisconsin to. Lots of genetic diversity.... I hope.

    I've basically got W/BW Ameraucanas from two breeders
  5. It is VERY important for the back yard chicken owner to receive a pure breed and keep it as such. This is much harder than anyone would suspect and requires a great deal of preparation, housing, correct feed and medical care and lastly careful attention to the offspring and their diversity within the same family.

    Many that raise Serama chickens know the heart break of a failed hatch, the attention to detail in raising these birds and the continual protection they need without limiting their lives. Just an example.

    I try to raise a family of WILD games every year. I have now lost all of my hens except one and have three roos running the property that are good enough to breed. I will have to go back to the gent I started these with and beg for three more hens and will most likely have to give up a roo in trade.
  6. Keara

    Keara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2009
    We need to define the words being used first. If you are "Just" talking Chickens than you use Genetic Diversity. If you are discussing an Ecosystem, like say a Dessert, than you would say Bio diversity. Chickens are not an ecosystem...

    "Biological diversity, simply stated, is the diversity of life...As defined in the proposed US Congressional Biodiversity Act, HR1268 (1990), "biological diversity means the full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur, and encompasses ecosystem or community diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity."

    Genetic diversity is the combination of different genes found within a population of a single species, and the pattern of variation found within different populations of the same species. Coastal populations of Douglas fir are genetically different from Sierran populations. Genetic adaptations to local conditions such as the summer fog along the coast or hot summer days in the Sierra result in genetic differences between the two populations of the same species."
  7. purelypoultry

    purelypoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    Fremont, Wisconsin
    I was looking to do a book about making poultry farming an ecosystem and about genetic diversity.
    I am starting to think maby it should be divided into two different topics.
  8. GraceAK

    GraceAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Eagle River, AK
    Why is genetic diversity important? Just ask anyone who has hatched a bunch of pure BC marans. They've been so inbred for dark eggs that many of the chicks that hatch with crippling foot problems. When these chicks are then bred with welsummers (an entirely different gene pool) the number of deformed chicks drops dramatically. i think I saw this on the Welsummer thread. It shouldnt be too hard to find.

    All in all, I would recommend looking at the Marans thread for problems with closed gene pools. [​IMG]
  9. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2009
    I remember a thread that shows some 220 plus breeds of chickens that have gone extinct since the 1930's. It is very important for the smaller breed clubs to hang on. Especially for the breeders who are religious to their own breeds. We need more breeders who can read the book of standards. And carry the torch for the future chicken farmers of the world. It is very important to buy from good quality breeders. Or you are wasting your time.
  10. tadkerson

    tadkerson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2008
    I am going to approach your papers as I would if you were a student. I am not trying to be a jerk. I want you to present the best paper you can. I have worked with students for over 15 years in writing formal scientific research papers. I have had students that won national and international awards. I hope you understand where I am coming from with my critique. You have written a good paper-[​IMG] you need to make some improvements to make it a paper worthy of publication and move to the next level.

    I am going to give you some ideas to think about.

    Biodiversity of Poultry

    Poultry biodiversity is essential component of our agricultural past and future. What changes can increase poultry biodiversity and why are these changes necessary? Why did the chicken farmer cross the road? The traditional answer is to get to the other side. An alternative motive may exist.

    I agree with Keara that the correct term would be genetic diversity. Poultry do not interact with the biosphere in the same way as wild animals do. Poultry can effect the
    environment but that effect is under the control of humans. If a part of your paper deals with the impact of poultry on the environment, than you have a case but other wise I would stick with genetic diversity. I do not see the biodiversity concept within your paper.

    I do see the concept of genetic diversity verses monoculture (single genome inheritance).

    Poultry, as defined by the American Poultry Association, is “a general term applied to all domesticated fowl, including chickens, turkeys, and waterfowl” (American Poultry). Since the publication of their glossary, they have added guineas to the definition of poultry. The American Poultry Association, also known as the APA, includes only the domesticated species. In ducks the APA includes the mallard derived domesticated breeds, and the Muscovy species. As for geese the APA includes the domesticated breeds, the Canada goose, and the Egyptian Goose. For guineas the APA includes only the helmeted guineas. American Poultry Association standardized turkeys include the domesticated breeds.

    The APA defines breed as “an established group of individuals possessing similar characteristics, and when mated together produce offspring with those same characteristics. A breed may include a number of varieties of the same general weight, distinguished by different color plumage, or different types of combs, or a comb and color as in Dorkings, and some cases by bearded or non-bearded” (American Standard of Perfection, 1998). I changed your reference.

    If you have a choice, I would suggest you write in APA style; scientific papers are usually written in APA style.

    There are many negative consequences of our present industrial agriculture system. The poultry industry relies on monocultures of monotypic birds which Even those that are produced are harder to find. You could list the consequences here.

    This is your thesis statement - the main body of the paper should support your thesis- you want to present evidence that supports your argument in the following paragraphs. You should move this to the introduction paragraph, then follow the statement with information that would support your position.

    I also would suggest that you focus on the reliance of the world upon the global companies for meat chickens and eggs. If the system collapses because of some genetic predisposition to a virus or a resistant form of bacteria it could be bad news. Point out the importance of egg and chicken meat as cheap source of protein in developing countries and even in the USA. Point out the positive side of the industry in providing inexpensive protein.

    Can you prove that the monoculture has done what you say- push the other breeds into a downward spiral of lower numbers, lower meat and egg production, inbreeding, and finally extinction. This part of your thesis I believe will be difficult to support. You may want to rethink this statement.

    The answer to the industry problems that may occur is found in the backyards of thousands of people- the small flock owner.

    You have to remember that the industry birds are genetically superior when it comes to egg production and meat production. Other chickens are inferior because they have genetic diversity and never have been able to lay eggs or produce meat like an industry animal. You also have to remember that industry birds produce eggs and meat at a much lower cost because they are able to convert less feed into more eggs and meat.

    Some breeds of chickens have become extinct and I can not argue that point. But who is responsible ? I think the back yard breeders are helping with the problem- heritage breeds etc. Maybe the large companies need to develop programs to collect and maintain genetically diverse flocks. See if you can find information on Mareks resistance or disease resistance due to genetic diversity. This will help support your point about viruses in a population. This I believe is the strongest point you can make.

    That should give you something to think about.

    The poultry industry is made up of large global corporations. These corporations are seeking maximum profitability, to return wealth to their shareholders. They do not care about externalities such as biodiversity or true sustainability. In 2000 ninety-five percent of all poultry in the world come from five egg laying chicken breeders, five broiler chicken breeders, and four turkey breeding companies (Greger, 2006a).See change[/b] Since the publication of that statistic, several of those companies have since merged or bought out one another. Aviagen considers itself to be the world’s leading poultry breeding company because it delivers parent and grand parent stock to 300 poultry breeders in over 100 countries worldwide (Aviagen). Aviagen was bought out by Erich Wesjohan Group in 2005 which also owns Hy-line International another world leading poultry breeder. Even Aviagen is a composite of five different poultry breeder companies. These mergers into mega corporations only expedite the problems ( what are they list them tell me now.. It does not hurt to repeat your thesis.

    The industrial agriculture model is based on monoculture, production of one uniform type of plant or animal. Industrial poultry farms only include one type of bird; turkey farms raise turkeys, duck farms – ducks, chicken farms – chickens. These intense, species specific, farms raise millions of birds per year of that one kind. According to the book Bird Flu – A Virus of our own hatching, it is the fault of these mega monocultures that bird flu even exists (Greger, 2006b). Chicken farms are so intensely filled with these birds that there is no wonder there are disease problems on these farms; there is no genetic diversity within a flock. In nature there is genetic diversity so that when a disease hits the birds are diverse enough that some are affected and others are not because they are genetically immune

    The poultry raised on industrial poultry farms are monotypic, all exact replicas of one another. One pedigreed cockerel, a male chicken, has the reproductive capacity to sire two million chickens in its life as a breeder on a poultry breeding farm. The entire chicken genome was published in 2004, which informed us that commercial chickens have lost ninety percent of their alleles compared to native and non-commercial hybrids. The American Association of Swine Veterinarians shows us how horrible this can be:

    “As genetic improvement falls into the hands of fewer companies and the trend towards intense multiplication of a limited range of genotypes develops, there is mounting concern that large populations may have increasingly uniform vulnerability to particular pathogens” (Greger, 2006c)

    Works Cited

    American Standard of Perfection.1998. Mendon, MA: American Poultry Association, Inc.

    Aviagen the World's Leading Poultry Breeding Company Erich Wesjohann Group, 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <>.

    American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Conservation Priority List Ed. Jennifer Kendall. American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, 2009. Web. 14 Dec. 2009. <>.

    Greger, Michael. 2006a. Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching., pp ____. Herndon, VA: Lantern Books put in page found in book

    Greger, Michael. 2006b. Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching., pp ____. Herndon, VA: Lantern Books

    Hamre, Melvin. Farm Flock Poultry University of Minnesota Extension, 2008. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <>.

    Mastrude, Roger. What is a Heritage Turkey? Ed. Roger Mastrude. Heritage Turkey Foundation, 2008. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <>.

    Reese, Frank. Good Sheppard Poultry Ranch Good Sheppard Ranch, Inc., 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <>.

    Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities. S.P.P.A. Breeders Directory. Owatona, WI: Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, 1972. Print.

    United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. FAO United Nations, 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2009. <>.

    Unrath, Karen. American Bantam Association American Bantam Association, 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <>.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by