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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by geebs, Jan 26, 2011.
Quote:Beautiful!! Can't wait for mine to start laying!!
Quote:The reputable breeders didn't get there overnight. Most of them are what I'd respectfully call "old timers" who have spent a lifetime - some since childhood - combining old school techniques with modern knowledge of genetics to develop a line of one specific breed that gains a reputation for being one of the best. When you think about all the different genes that are necessary to put together a correct bird, you can see why folks would want birds from some of these reputable lines. Though with Marans I don't know that there are really any "proven" lines that produce consistently correct birds more often than not. But these reputable lines have had more of the incorrect traits culled out, narrowing down the challenge if you can start with birds from these lines. Can you produce good birds from "far removed" offspring? That depends on what you've got to start with. You'll probably go nuts if you don't keep your flock relatively closed. But if you've worked with what you've got, and you still can't produce a bird with enough size or proper type, shank color etc. then you'll have to bring in new blood. But by that time - several generations of a closed flock later - you should have eliminated many incorrect traits from your flock if you are willing to cull all but the very best. And you will have learned that your flock just won't produce, for example, a correctly colored hen hackle, or a proper tail set, or proper pale slate shanks. Then you will have a specific set of genes that you can carefully introduce into your flock. You will have learned what traits you don't want to re-introduce back into your flock, and you will be a LOT more knowledgeable and picky about who you purchase from to help your flock.
Quote:I know some of this is just a rant, but most of us have probably felt the same frustration at some point. I think once you recognize that Marans are so new and so unique, it will be easier to accept that the process will be long and challenging learning process. I believe it STILL is for those reputable breeders. That's why they are on this forum. I don't think any of them has the whole ball of wax figured out. I know some of the long time breeders are still learning about genetics and the role it can play in eliminating large numbers of culls in a breeding program. I think most folks don't have the time and funds to invest in developing their own line, and most folks just breed Marans for fun and because they love the hobby. Some folks who breed champion birds never aspire to develop their own line. Creating a champion bird every few years, and creating a line that breeds true and consistent are two different things entirely. The information out there about marans is relatively small compared to the entire scope of chicken genetics that include all varieties and all traits. I believe it is possible to get most of it in your grasp within a year, if you are diligent to research, ask lots of questions, take good notes if necessary, share what you learn in the process, and find reputable "partners" to verify that you're heading in the right direction. I believe that is what most of us are doing here on BYC.
I think that often hobby breeders (like me) have "issues" that keep them from progressing more quickly - for example they keep their sweet tempered roos with major faults, or they don't keep good records, or they maintain a layer flock with all their less than desirable hens - which consumes resources, etc. Some start breeding before they have a basic knowledge of the genes involved, and unintentionally breed forward dominant faults into their entire flock, which then takes them several generations to eliminate. I think everyone needs to decide what kind of breeder they want to be, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and having realistic expectations from themselves and from their flock. Then it can just be really a really fun and fascinating challenge. Otherwise it's just an expensive means of being frustrated.
BRILLIANT post, VC!! This one is one for the book! Thank you.
I respectfully disagree with just a small part of VC's lengthy (and awesome!) post.
In working with a few old-time breeders, most (if not all) are of the opinion (and I agree) that once you have birds from "so-and-so" - the very next generation, they become your line. I've always felt that it's super important to know where your stock came from, and that folks want (and ought to) know where you get them; however, once you make that very first cull decision - that makes them yours. YOU are deciding what to keep, and thus, what to breed for and against. This is why there can be so many "Wade Jeane line" birds out there that look so different, as can be said for ANY lines. Unless Wade Jeane himself is making the cull decisions in each & every flock that has originated from him, they cannot actually be called W. Jeane birds.
Quote:I agree Wynette. Once I sell the birds I don't want my name associated with any offspring produced and they aren't going to give me credit when they win with my original birds either. You are very smart in knowing that the culling decisions are very important.......especially in the beginning. Many people don't seem to know how important that is. Mating the correct birds is the other important part. many poultry people never do get the eye that it takes. Very few genetic experts seem able to put together good birds, so in my opinion and from what I have seen.....there is a knack to it and not all people have that ability. I am not saying that some people can't raise chickens because I believe just about everyone can. I believe very few have the ability to successfully breed chickens, so the birds tend to go backwards.
These threads are a good place to learn how to recognize good and bad traits and which birds you should use for breeding. I think most people can pick up the visual clues once they understand what to look for in breeders. There is a lot of info around on how to do that, but I find going to shows and talking to the breeders who are successful and knowlegable is the way to go. It is practical on the spot teaching.
Hey Wynette, I don't think we disagree. I guess it may just be semantics, or a different use of the word "line". I think when folks refer to a particular line, most of the time it is to talk about where their original birds were sourced from, where they started. Some continue to say they have "Davis" birds years after they sourced their originals, but that is a matter of opinion. I think it is useful to refer to the known lines, to determine what issues you may have - overlarge combs, hidden wheaten, mossy etc. - because the popular lines are most widely sourced, there's more information out there about what you might run into.
Like I said, I don't think most folks really want to create their own line - one that stands on its own and is referred to by name after many years. But I understand what you mean about the culling decisions that make the flock "yours". But just because someone recognizes faults and makes culling decisions based on their best judgement, knack, gut feeling, whatever you call it, if the flock is not at least somewhat uniform and consistent, and demonstrates progress toward the SOP, I don't think most folks would refer to someone's birds as a specific line of Marans.
I care about the SOP - it gives me something to shoot for. I have the standard in mind when I make culling decisions, choose pairs for single mating. But I don't have any desire to have a line of birds named after me, nor would I claim to have made any more progress at this point than the next breeder in producing consistent quality that breeds forward. So they can be my line of birds simply because I bred them, but I wouldn't presume to call them my line in the same manner folks refer to Davis or Wade.
VC - you have a follower in me! I agree about the "lines" and giving credit where credit is due. I guess for me, I sort of assume folks looking at my birds, regardless of whose "lines" I say they are, will question my choices - good and bad. Even hatching a handful of first generation eggs takes the decision about culling out of the original breeder's hands but is that really fair? I guess I assume serious breeders/buyers might even ask how many generations removed.
And Walt, I have seen LOTS of people at shows with winning birds proudly proclaiming the source of their birds. As they should.
Quote:I agree, most chicken folk are OK in that regard, but the bantam duck people aren't as a whole. The newcomers are but some the "breeders" are not. They don't want their customers to know that they have to buy birds to be in the hunt in these shows. That kind of competition raises the quality level of the whole breed. The ideal place when you are as competitive is as i am is to get your birds to such a level that they can't buy anything to beat you. I'm not saying that a person can't be beat because everyone gets beat. I'm saying the people who have to buy birds to compete will soon be out of the game.
All this might sound too competitive to some folks, but this is how the BCM's will get better. Write this down.."As soon as a BCM wins champion Continental in a major show, the interest, quality of birds and level of competition will go up dramatically". It is going to take a great Marans to do that, but you guys are getting much better every year. While it isn't for everyone, stiff competition seems to improve breeds. I have seen it many times.
Quote:I'm a bit late on this conversation...
I am very glad to see this! I'm an "old-time" breeder ... of dogs, and now breeding chickens. I've kept and raised egg layers for about 25 years and only within the last couple of years I started changing to heritage/rare breeds to begin a chicken breeding program for standard quality. With dogs, as soon as we choose a mating to do, unless the dogs are co-owned by the previous breeder, the resultant offspring of that mating is now the current breeder's "line." Just as Wynette states above. The breeders of the two dogs, unless you bred them yourself of course, had nothing to do with the mating. It is considered bad form to use the previous breeder's kennel name (ranch/farm name) on your stock without permission - which I personally would never give because I had nothing to do with choosing the mates. And according to AKC rules, it is forbidden if the person has registered their kennel name. Since getting into these chickens though, I see nearly everyone using the name of the person/farm who might have bred the birds their eggs came from several generations earlier.
I haven't known how to refer to the chickens I have except to say they came from certain bloodlines. I've also seen folks take heat for calling a line theirs (since their birds were from their chosen matings) because they weren't giving proper credit to the person who originally bred the birds that form their foundation stock. It gets quite confusing for me. Lately, I've taken to saying that my birds are someone else's "interpretation" of so-and-so's well-known bloodline.
I guess part of the difficulty arises in not having long drawn out pedigrees in chickens like we do in dogs where all the animals are registered and we can see just where the animals originated and who they were bred to, to get to where we are today. I got part of my BCMs directly from the breeder of well-known bloodline and the others were from folks who told me their birds were from "ABC" bloodlines. So I guess after the next generation, I will just say they are my bloodline? As I said, it gets confusing for me and I certainly don't want to offend someone since I'm just starting out of the gate.
Edited for clarification: I should state that just because the dogs you breed are now "your line" it is still considered proper to say your lines are based on "ABC" bloodlines. You still give credit in other words. Re-reading through these posts, it looks like that is proper in chickens too?
Susan in Grass Valley, CA
Very well put Hollyoak! I also bred AKC poodles and the chicken world is so different. I personally have made a program for myself that is based on the Breeders Standard for Canine so that I can keep track of my chickens. Even though the breeders I have purchased from do not name their stock that I have purchased their name is still in my records as to where and who they were, hope this makes sense. I am learning though that chickens are also like the canine and horse showing your either "in with the breed" or your not.
I purchased my marans from a very well known breeder of Marans and Orpingtons and Ihave learned that once they have left that particular farm the birds are no longer part of their flock therefore they want no part of yours. I dont mean for this to sound caddy, thats just what I have ran into this past year.
It would be so nice to just be able to talk chicken with out throwing out the names and all. If they are bred on your place then they should be yours. If the foundation stock needs to be know then say it and go on.
Well said, you two.
I also, am from the "canine mentality", It makes me shudder when a well known breed is bred to another breed to get certain traits.
GASP, mix breeds? It is done in chickens, but scares me to do it.
This is why I am here. To Learn