Genetic traits in geese


5 Years
Apr 25, 2014
Porirua New Zealand
I have Chinese X Sebastapol geese and they are virtually flightless give or take an ability to get a few feet maximum above ground for a few yards at a time. Any fence three feet or more high is enough to stop them. They have obviously inherited the flightless gene from the Sebastopol parents (caused by the flight feathers not having a stiff spine like most flight feathers). I intend to breed them with each other or may introduce a Pilgrim gander to one of the females. Can anyone tell me if the flightless gene will carry on strongly to future generations either from the Sebastopol X Chinese crosses breeding together or with the Pilgrim and how many generations is it likely to be retained for? I don't want to get rid of it as it is very handy keeping the geese under control from straying too far and not having to clip their wings. Would they need to be crossed back to a Sebastapol at some stage in future generations to retain that flightless gene, or once introduced will it remain?
If your hybrids have retained it, then you should be able to keep it in future generations.
Thanks very much for that.
That was the reply I was hoping for. It's good to have one's own suspicions and hopes reassured.
One thing though, you use the term hybrids, i would call them crossbreds. Hybrids result from a mating between two separate species or subspecies and are mostly infertile. In the case of domestic geese they are all closely related enough to be the same species or subspecies (with perhaps a few exceptions), even though we have many different breeds. Crosses between descendants of the European Greylag goose such as Pilgrims, Sebastopol, Toulouse, etc and the Asian Swan goose such as The Chinese goose are not hybrids but crossbreds and the offspring are fertile. I understand that however crossing with the Canada goose is different as it is a separate goose genus completely and is likely to produce infertile hybrids with most domestic breeds if they were to be or could be crossed.
The same applies in other species too. The red factor canary is an example of a fertile hybrid. After years of experimenting and crossings to try and introduce red colour into canaries (especially by Dutch and other continental breeders) a cross between the canary and the red hooded siskin in the 1920s produced a small number of fertile hybrids which were eventually crossed back to the canary over successive generations to eventually create a bird that was recognised as a true breeding canary with the genetic siskin traits bred out and the red factor retained. Today this is the popular Red Factor Colour Canary recognised as a separate canary breed just like Yorkshire, Border and other pure canary breeds. However the large majority of the F1, F2 and F3 generation siskin canary crosses proved infertile but enough fertile offspring were found to create the new breed. In fact bird breeding and exhibiting recognise two types of hybrids. A cross between a finch and a canary is classified as a "mule' just as a cross between a horse and a donkey or *** is called a mule, while a cross not involving canaries such as between different finches are classified as hybrids. It gets pretty blurred round the edges and overlaps and convenience muddy things sometimes but I like to think of inter breed crosses as crossbreds and between species and subspecies not directly related as hybrids. I found some pigeon fanciers get even more confused. When I raced pigeons years ago I can't recall how often I heard breeders refer to hybrids they had and they weren't even crossbreds. They would refer to a particular "line" which was a closely related group of homing pigeons based on one particular loft or breeder "crossed" with a "line" from another famed loft and call them hybrids. In fact they were not hybrids at all but still purebred Homers bred on an outcross between birds from two top racing lofts, thus enlarging the available gene pool as opposed to the close inbreeding or linebreeding of their parents.
I suspect my geese will retain the flightless gene for many generations if they are bred to one another and not bred back to flighted breeds such as Pilgrims etc too much. I suspect that continual outcrossing to Pilgrims, and other flighted breeds may strengthen the gene for stronger flight feathers in much the same way as the hooded siskin genes were eventually bred out of the early red factor canary prototype generations. I guess time will tell but for many generations at least I will be able to retain it without having to breed back to a flightless breed again. Although they can't fly or jump over a low fence they have an amazing vertical jump on them. When giving them a small treat or supplementary food from the porch where I have a low landing of about a metre high they will sometimes leap high into the air to try to take food from my hand using their wings to help launch them. However they cannot translate this into a jump of any length at all. They just come up and go straight down again. They usually miss the target so it often proves pointless, but is impressive to watch.

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