Breeding related chickens

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by brothfeder, Aug 2, 2014.

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  1. brothfeder

    brothfeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know nothing about breeding chickens so here goes a few basic poultry breeding questions: It seems everyone as no issue backcrossing F1s with parent generations. This IS considered inbreeding, right? Can this be repeated many times? Can you safely cross F1s together? Its okay to inbreed chickens like this? I assume you should add a fresh cock or hen to the mix once in a while? The major question is how safe is it to cross related individuals and how long can I get away with it? Any references to professional breeding info would be awesome

    Thanks (yes I've researched my questions - but I gotta ask because inbreeding seems dangerous).
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi and [​IMG]
    Here ya go. One of my all time fav poultry books. These are laws, not opinions or theories.
    Wid Card was a noteworthy veteran poultry man. He had a gift for making complex subjects simple. Could often be found at poultry shows with a semi-circle of learners explaining the ins and outs of poultry breeding. Originated the White Laced Red Cornish fowl. Tho the book is vintage, the knowledge is timeless.
    Laws governing the breeding of standard fowls.
    A Book Covering Outbreeding, Inbreeding, and Line Breeding
    Of All Recognized Breeds Of Domestic Fowl With Chart

    Card, Wetherell Henry.
    Manchester, Conn. : The Herald printing Company, [191
    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=chi.087299559;view=1up;seq=5
    Best Regards,
    Karen and the Light Sussex
    in western PA, USA
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  4. tridentk9

    tridentk9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It depends. What is your goal in breeding? If it's just the SOP and shows- inbreeding is a fairly accepted idea in many species. If it's an all around healthier bird, you'll probably get a different answer. Inbreeding does "bring out" recessives so you have a better idea of the genes your chickens have, both those initially seen and unseen. Some recessives are good, some aren't but the inbreeding makes it easier for a recessive gene to find it's match and be seen. It also makes it easier to lose genes- and once they're gone they don't suddenly just reappear by themselves. Inbreeding does lower the Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) , a big factor in how the immune system works. It's also been noted that a higher inbreeding coefficient is related to a shorter egg laying lifespan and less eggs per year.

    Some of the problems with the MHC and immune system may be counteracted with the environment of the chicken from pre-conception to neonate. The study of epigenetics has shown that the environment, even back to the formation of the egg and sperm can alter some genes. In other words the offspring's genes may act different than expected from the parents. The area that seems to be the most affected, both positively and negatively, is the immune system. A great environment may be able to counteract the lower MHC. Or maybe not.

    So the answer after all that is- it depends.
     
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  5. brothfeder

    brothfeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks guys/gals you've all been super helpful. It seems that inline breeding is pretty beneficial for hertitage breeds, which is the type of breeding I hope to get into. Looks like adding fresh genetics once in a while can be helpful though, I'm hatching a clutch of french copper Maran which have the 'extra dark egg' gene. The breeder tells me that its totally fine to breed these together. The issue is that I'm pretty sure I would be mating brothers and sisters. I know now that inline breeding requires you keep parents as distantly related as possible. However I HAVE read that its okay to mate brother/sister once as long as you choose likes with likes (ex. they both make extra dark eggs and look similar).

    Does anyone feel its unwise to cross brother/sister for the first generation then parent/children the next? I could then start mating more distant relatives for the next generation(s).

    Thanks again folks your input and resources are invaluable.
     
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi,
    Sounds like you have some interesting and exciting plans. Do not worry about the MHC affecting the immune system.
    Chickens are short lived compared to mammals and have a wider genetic base than mammals. For what you are
    doing, it is not an issue. Due to some stupid novice mistakes I made I no longer own the stud cock I need to breed
    back my hens too. So... on the advice of a trusted, experienced breeder, I will be doing just what you are suggesting
    next season. Breeding closely related brother and sister together. Then establishing 2 families using the breeding
    plan in Wid Cards' book above. I was worried the initial brother and sister breeding would be too close upon which
    to establish the two families. However, the breeder counseling me thinks it is doable. Using Card's plan, once the
    initial sibling cross is done, the breeding plan moves away from the 50/50 mix and, as the generations progress,
    develops 2 families each of which more closely resembles the fountainhead bird of that family. This is why your
    fountainhead birds must be of the very best highest quality in breed type. This breeding program will not improve
    overall breed type, except in the judicious selection of the minor details. Instead it will work to replicate the existing
    excellence in the fountainhead birds. So if you have 2 birds of extremely good breed type and you want to conserve
    it and improve the minor details. Then this is the program for you. In my case, I am close family breeding on a
    3x APA Grand Ch. stud cock. If you have average birds then your only chance for improvement comes every 4th
    generation when you breed the 2 families together. Blood tells. The end result of Card's plan is to create
    generations of cookie cutter birds. That's only a positive if you start out with the highest quality birds.
    BTW, I totally agree with the BCM breeder. It will be fine to breed them together. Just choose wisely, as always,
    and keep in touch with the breeder for future advice on things you see in your birds. If you strain cross your
    BCM's you will lose the dark eggs for several generations until you restabilize the dark egg genes.
    Best Regards,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi,
    What are the steps in becoming a breeder? A high quality breeder. Philosophically and psychologically,
    they are the same across species. They require both an evolving mindset, a love of education, and a
    willingness to move from level to leve with its associated replacement of stock. Here is a fine discussion
    written by an veteran elite Labrador retriever breeder from England. Respected worldwide for her dedication
    to fine breeding, this is part of Mary Roslyn-Williams classic book, "Reaching For The Stars".
    http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Labrador-Breeding-Mary-Williams/product-reviews/0854931589
    The Seven Stages Of Becoming A Breeder : http://www.wolfweb.com.au/acd/sevenages.html
    Everywhere you see a dog term just substitute the appropriate poultry term.

    What about obtaining stock in the first place?
    Poultry Herald - Volumes 33-34 - 1921 - Pages 123 and 124 .
    books.google.com/books?id=QsxJAAAAYAAJ
    ( click on cover image to access volume)
    Profitable Poultry And Eggs
    ( a column ) by George Pollard
    ( Mr. Pollard owned a huge poultry and duck ranch circa
    1904 where he successfully raised 1,000's of each.)


    FINE feathers do not make fine birds. The pretty feathers are an important item and always to be favorably considered. It Is a bad thing to forget that meat comes first in the value of the fowl for most purposes. To get a properly developed and a well meated carcass it is as necessary to breed with these ends in view as it is to breed for the feathering we desire. "Fancy" poultry has got most of its black eyes in the estimation of the unthinking public because its breeders have forgotten these facts and have pinned their faith on feathers alone, and forgotten that most people rather eat than do anything else.
    ===============
    Any breed to retain its popularity must make good as laying stock or for market poultry, and if you doubt it look up the history of the different breeds and varieties of the last 30 years and consider how they came into popularity and consider what has helped, or hindered, them in holding it. All the booming and advertising in the world can't put over and keep over a breed which lacks the primary virtues for which the great poultry growing public keep fowls— eggs and meat and after these, pretty feathers and pleasing shapes. For either show or shop the best results will generally be obtained by breeding within well known blood lines, or, at least, introducing only such fresh blood into established flocks as is known to have been bred for the same ends. Whatever the price, no stock is cheap which does not help to increase the all round value of your flock, and none is high in price which will add to the good points already possessed by your stock.
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    A few days ago a young man was looking for a trio of fowl to use in founding a flock of pure-bred poul
    try. He did not know much about hens, but did know about holding onto his money—and plainly was frightened at paying twenty or twenty-five dollars for a trio. The suit he was wearing probably cost him $50 to $60, and at most would last him two sasons and would rapidly deteriorate and at the expiration of that period be worthless. If well chosen, the trio of birds would last him two or three seasons, would produce first class stock, which by proper selection could be improved each season and the worth of his stock would increase with every year's work. Like many others he could estimate only the immediate outlay, and had no sense of the value of a right start with good stock.
    ----------------
    Breeding livestock is a proposition that calls for thought and foresight. When you build something of inanimate material you tear down and rebuild if the results are not satisfactory. Changes may mean the expenditure of some time and money, but the things can be revamped and the damage ends there. Not so with breeding livestock; what is pat in stays in—and you cannot wholly undo the mistakes what are made unleso you blot out the whole issue and make a fresh start. Then the error is not cancelled, though a fresh start has been made. So difficult it is U breed out undesirable traits in poultry that it oftens takes several generations to get rid or the unwanted features, and it is a trial of the skill of the breeder. It is so much easier to breed good qualities in than to breed out defects that it is better to pay almost any price for the right kind than to take the other as a gift
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  8. tridentk9

    tridentk9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A bit of info on the MHC (Major Histocompatability Complex) in chickens. In wild avians as well as in mammals, there is a selection bias towards genetically dissimilar mates. Is it possible they know something? Their offspring also have greater survivabilty and reproduction rates.

    The reference list link. http://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302(89)79240-7/references

    And then a link to articles co-authored or authored by the same guy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Lamont SJ[Author]&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=2568373

    The COI (coefficient of inbreeding) is in reality much much higher when the parent stock are both inbred on the same family. The COIs listed imply only the parent generation is of consequence when discussing heredity.

    Breeding is a gamble. Mother Nature is the house and the house always wins!
     
  9. tridentk9

    tridentk9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Karen. The link to 7 stages had a link to an article on epigenetics. This article explains so much more than I did!

    And here you go! http://www.healtoxics.org/5news_htm/news50.htm

     
  10. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    The most productive laying strains of poultry in the world are closely bred, and they make up the crosses that we have in the commercial industry. Productivity and livability is very high before the cross. More and more they are being bred for a tolerance to certain disease pressures like mycoplasma.

    The most vigorous and healthy pure bred fowl on the planet are closely bred. I am referring to game fowl. They have no equal when it comes to health and vigor.

    You cannot make consistent and sure progress without some level of inbreeding. Constantly bringing in new is also constantly bringing in bad with the good. You are more likely to go backwards than you are forward. That is phenotype and genotype. All you will ever do is go in circles.

    The goal of breeding any livestock is improvement. You cannot do that outside a controlled structured setting with a clear goal in mind.

    Selection for health and vigor, is part of any smart breeding plan. You can improve both within a line. With good selection. It is impossible to select for tolerance to local pressures if something from another area is always brought in. Not to mention what is brought in with the new.

    I would not be against breeding a brother and sister if my goal was to set a trait or traits. This is not a practice to make regularly, but an exception could be made. Whether or not you can do it, depends how closely bred they are to begin with.

    You can go too far. It is up to you to know when that is, before it is. Depth to start is a help, and qty hatched brings in variability on it's own.

    The poorest fowl I have ever seen were mongrel flocks that were left to breed willy nilly. Often they become the most inbred. Even bringing in something new periodically does little to improve the flock. They will drift.

    What people forget is that a breed has been established for a reason. They do not stay that way on their own. Their natural tendency is to drift towards mediocrity. Bantams tend to drift to larger sizes, and large fowl tend to drift smaller. Maintaining and improving requires careful selection in a structured and organized fashion. Always bringing something new in is chaos. That is propagating and it is not breeding.

    The fastest way to become too closely bred are letting a flock breed willy nilly, not maintaining enough depth, no regard to relationships, and poor selection. Poor selection will run the best birds in the ground in short order.

    Bringing in new blood is inevitable, and necessary, at some point. It is up to you to know when that is and to do it smartly as not to lose the progress tat you have made. Your goal is to breed the finest examples of the breed of your choice. That is phenotype and genotype. That is health and production characteristics.

    Laying prowess is not a single gene, but a compilation of genes that is not simply inherited. The collection of traits have to be acquired and included into a given line of birds. that is not done always bringing in something new. That is going in circles, and at best standing still. You are trying to make improvements and progress towards an ideal.

    You do not breed paper, you breed birds. Get the best that you can come up with, and do as well as you can with them. In a few generations, you will begin getting an idea of what you need that you do not have. That might be when you start looking out, and looking for what you do not have. Then you introduce it smartly, preserving your own strengths. With some success and commitment, and a couple more generations, you will know what to do from there. Hopefully you have more than one family established by then. Many prefer four families, and hopefully these families are founded on good examples.

    Good luck, and have fun.
     
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