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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ChicKat, Nov 4, 2012.
A predigree database serves a number of functions if it's properly designed and implemented. It gives novice buyers of birds some degree of assurance that they're buying purebred birds. It gives more sophisticated users the ability to see the physical traits of flocks from which they're contemplating acquiring birds, and it helps them avoid inbreeding in the future. If pedigree registries are useful to improve other species of animals, I don't see why they wouldn't be useful for chickens.
Here's an example. I'm in the process of trying to breed better black copper marans. There are many cosmetic defects associated with this breed: mossy chest coloring in the roosters, squirrel tails, white tail feathers, inadequate leg feathering, wrong eye color, etc. There are also some flocks that produce eggs that are too light in color. I've spent quite a bit of money acquiring breeding stock, but mostly it's a crap shoot. I've gotten a few nice birds, but I also I've wasted hundreds of dollars on hatching eggs and chicks that ultimately produced inferior adult birds. I've culled dozens of expensive birds that didn't make the cut. Would it have been useful if I could go to an online database and see not only the parents of my birds but also their ancestors extending for generations? Yes, very much so, and I would be happy to pay more money for a bird that could prove it came from sound genetics. Would it also be nice to be able to select birds that wouldn't result in a high inbreeding coefficient with my current flock? Yes, again, this would be very helpful.
The goal here is for legbar breeders to have as much information as possible about the birds they're breeding. That's a powerful thing and something that doesn't exist now. More access to this type of information is a good thing, not a bad thing.
I also have some mixed feelings about the viability of a database for chickens. As many have pointed out, the prolific reproductive habits of chickens make tracking who comes from where a somewhat overwhelming task. I am not sure that I could expect a breeder or backyard chicken keeper to know who comes from who if they are operating on any sort of scale. I know that even with my small flock (5 hens, 2 roos) I might not be able to report correct lineage for everyone.
At the same time, as a purchaser of stock it would be very valuable to see even a very broad picture of the genetic pool you are purchasing from. For example, if you had offspring that you knew came from one of 2 or 3 different roosers and had photos and descriptions of them and you had photos and descriptions of the 10 hens or so along with photos you could get a good idea of the gene pool likely present in the dozen hatching eggs you may purchase. I think a tool like this could be useful for moving towards an SOP as well as for both new and old lovers of the breed to get good information. I guess at the end of the day, even an imperfect and inexact record would be useful. For that reason, I think it is worth making a go of it.
I also am concerned about the potential for people to be put off from the breed because they can not "register" their birds or because they feel it is an insular sort of organization. I think we all have to work together on the honor system with the information that is entered into whatever sort of database may be as well as aware that we not put up any unnecessary roadblocks for new enthusiasts to join in. I do like the idea of having some sort of feedback mechanism that incents people to keep their information as honest and transparent as possible.
I suppose blazing a new trail is never straigforward nor easy, however that does not mean it should not be attempted. I thinik that it will be good to try it on a small scale while the breed is relatively new. It will allow us to be more flexible in making changes to formatting. reporting, and input as we see fit.
Thanks for the thoughts. It is interesting to see both sides from your perspective.
Just because you have the chance to do something, doesn't mean it needs to be done. If a club majority wants this, then they want it, however, I disagree with it. Only thing is, this entire thing is being done bass ackwards anyways.
1.) Form Functioning Club
2.) Get 100% committed members
3.) Create Standard
4.) Do Work - Make your birds meet the standard.
5.) Get standard accepted
6.) Make database
Why is this the process that should have been followed?
1.) No club, no need for database.
2.) No members, no club.
3.) No standard, no database, no club.
4.) No birds that meet proposed standard, no standard, no database, no club.
5.) Get standard accepted, or none of this matters.
6.) Without any of the previous, a database is just a stupid idea with no reason to exist in the first place.
Who was doing the club documents and organization? I can get whatever needs done in a couple of days, I've been involved at the start of many organizations simply because I'm good at up-starts. What are the districts/precincts? Who is to be in charge of these and why and who decides?
MnM said: " Who was doing the club documents and organization? I can get whatever needs done in a couple of days, I've been involved at the start of many organizations simply because I'm good at up-starts. What are the districts/precincts? Who is to be in charge of these and why and who decides?"
Hoping that you are meaning 'start ups' and not 'up starts'...LOL
This is so great that you are going to go after this MnM.
back in the thread working on the SOP about 3-weeks ago (correction post 316) I had put this out as a working draft for a mission statement for the club. Our advisor/helper from APA Walt was pretty supportive.
ETA here's Walt's Quote:
Your 4 points should work as they relate to the APA. This is a very organized effort. Great to see!!
We had someone trying to start up in Yahoo groups...but I don't think we had technical expertise and suddenly every one was snowed under...so it may be still in Yahoo groups.
Here is a mission statement I put out for review/comment etc. some weeks back.
The Mission of the American Cream Legbar Club is to promote and preserve as well as educate about the breed of Chicken developed by R.C. Punnett that is an autosexing, blue-egg-laying, and crested light fowl.
Club Goals include:
Working toward application for recognition by the APA using standards that have been adapted from the British standards
Estabilshing the first Chicken Pedigree Database to track the chicken background and genetics of cream legbar chickens
Establish support between owners of cream legbars which are first developed by Punnett
some folks on Yahoo Cream Legbar are working on the history of the birds...and folks from this forum are invited over there to participate.....
ADDing to this -- as you said we need regions,
ETA a club needs constitution and by-laws etc. identification of officers, duties of officers, and amount of dues, what constitutes a quorem - There are some pretty simple and straight forward models...My dh started a photography club some 15-years ago. I could go get that info and it could be used as a model.
Perhaps setting up a steering committee with a couple of consensus builders who could put some time into this in the next week could jump-start these technicalities..... (It isn't rocket science actually) --brain surgery, maybe, rocket science, no...LOL
Putting it together in a couple of days is agressive time line - but it would be impressive to see.
Yes, I meant start ups... I was in a posting fury.
We have been working on these goals albeit slowly, I have been responsible for collecting names for the CL club, about 15 people have sent me their information so far, and ChickKat and I in private have been hammering out regions and regional representatives. Some people volunteered to be regional reps, others have said they are open to help any way so we are hoping they will be willing to take this responsibility. I hope in the next couple of days we will be able to post for everyone to see. I guess the next step then is to decide how to go about club formation as far as officers, whether elected or volunteer basis, etc. I have no experience with club organization. So MnM if you want to start by forming a constitution, by-laws, officer structure, etc, I think by all means run with it. Just don't expect this to all be done tomorrow- we all have busy lives and other things that need our attention (LOL for me it's 4 hungry little gremlins and a honey business!).
I don't know what the right answer is about the database. I think a database is still a good idea so people can see photos of a particular flock and decide if I want to take a chance with your stock. Like RyeRanch said. But not to necessarily form a direct lineage line, more just a flock source database. I see direct lineage as too problematic with chickens. Reputation will quickly sort itself out, like it has with the French Black Copper Marans, after a couple of years people KNOW who the go-to people are for good stock. Just my opinion.
I know all about how real life responsibilities can take away from hobby time... Work, house remodel, kids, so on...
I'll take a crack at prelim docs here today and tomorrow.
I have been reading all of this debate on the database with much interest. I only have a lovely pair of Legbars right now, but woyld like to add more to my flock. The following is just my thoughts on the matter.
We raise and breed registered Quarter Horses and Paints. The fraud and forgery going on in both of these registries is unbelievable. Just because a certificate says "this is the horse you are looking at", doesn't make it true. My Dad's favorite line is "you can't ride a piece of paper", meaning that just because the animal is registered with a lovely certificate, it doesn't make him worth a dime if his papers aren't legit or if he is truly just a crappy horse with big names in his family tree. In my opinion, you would be better off compiling a voluntary database of breeders with descriptions and photos of their flocks. You could have sections for lineage, single bird accomplishments or what have you that the individuals would like to contribute. You could also have a review system or buyer feedback. I think you might be getting into a mess if you go into it with the attitude that a person's birds aren't worthy unless they are in the database. You are always going to get those with magnificent birds that won't bother to register them because they are just raising for the sheer enjoyment.
I think the main goal of the club should be education and promotion of the breed. Teaching people what to look for and breed to should be a priority. Worrying about regulating each and every bird is fruitless. You are always going to have unscrupulous "breeders" out to make a big profit no matter what you do and what type of animal you are raising. You are also going to have those that keep meticulous records and do everything they can to promote and improve the breed. It needs to be up to the buyers to do their homework and decide who they will get their birds from.