Inbreeding, Etc.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jmurcks, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    Hello, I have a question!
    Ok, with dog breeding you never breed brother/sister because it is too close and considered inbreeding.
    You can breed half siblings, under certain situations, and this is considered line breeding.

    My question is this, how does that work with chickens?
    I know with fish you want to breed brother/sister, etc. and it's good because otherwise they will "revert" back to their more wild forms.
    I want to keep bantam cochins and I needed to know how closely they can breed. Do I have to purchase two outcrosses to start with or can I just order a "batch" from the net and start a flock that way? If you can point me in the direction of a website, post(s) or book to read I would be very thankful!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Gonzo

    Gonzo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    [​IMG]! That's an interesting question! I've wondered that myself!
  3. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    You would want to breed Father/Daughter or Mother/Son. If you breed brother/sister you end up pulling the bad traits from each bird. You also want to try to bring in a outside bloodline every 3rd generation.
  4. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    So to be sure I am not brother/sister breeding do I need to order from two different places initially before starting a breeding program?
    As to be sure they are unrelated?

    Also, how old are they when they sexually mature so as to know when to seperate them?

    Thanks again!!
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There are approximately a gajillion threads on this, mostly in the "breeding, showing" section of the forum, if you want more info. But, Readers Digest version is something like:

    Whether it is good, bad, or merely neutral for X number of generations depends totally on the existing genetics of the flock. If there are a bunch of deleterious recessives hiding in there that sib-sib or parent-offspring matings would match up, then you will run into problems in short order, potentially right away. If there are *none*, you may be able to do it for a potentially long time before problems crop up (most likely fertility/hatchability problems, rather than gross deformities).

    Whether you WANT to inbreed depends on your goals. If you just want to perpetuate the flock, but are not really trying to select hard for any particular traits (appearance, laying ability, etc) then there is no particular virtue to inbreeding and you are better off starting with somewhat-unrelated birds if possible, and introducing unrelated blood every few generations.

    However if you want to improve the line, and select hard for particular traits, that would be counterproductive. What you would want to do instead is follow a sensible scheme of linebreeding or something like that, where you keep several pens and rotate males or have a carefully-defined breed-back schedule so that you are controlling the degree of inbreeding without having to introduce really unrelated blood. And if you DID get to a point where you were seeing problems and wanted to introduce new blood, it should be something from the same lines your birds originally came from.

    So it just depends what you're after.

    Bear in mind that if you order from a hatchery or very large private breeder, all the chicks/eggs in an order are not likely to be all THAT closely related anyhow. At the very least, few if any will be full sibs (the highest chance of getting full sibs comes when you get eggs that all came from a single trio). So the initial breeding you do may not involve QUITE the degree of inbreeding you are envisioning, certainly not like buying a litter of puppies and then crossing them each with each other [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I see Pat was typing while I was typing. I certainly do not disagree with anything she said. I'll submit mine anyway.

    I don't know if I can explain it so it makes sense, but I'll try. If I make a mistake, hopefully someone will correct me.

    With brother-sister, each inherits half their genes from each parent, but it is not the same genes. Sine it is a random 50%, they actually only share 25% of the same genes from the father, 25% of the same from the mother, and 50% that are different but half of these from the father and half from the mother. So you wind up with a chick that has 50% of the genes contributed by each the original mother and the original father.

    A daughter has 50% of her genes from her father. When you breed her back to her father, the offspring will get 50% of the genes directly from the father, but only half of these will be the same genes the father gave to the daughter. So 25% are the same genes. The other 25% contribution from the father in this union are new genes. The contribution from the original mother will be down to 25% in the new chick. The remaining 25% are from the father by way of his daughter but these are different genes than the ones he matched. So you wind up with chicks that is 75% original father and 25% original mother, but 25% are shared from the father, 50% are from the father but different, and 25% are from the mother.

    If you carry this down through further generations, you do concentrate the shared genes more each time. The good traits may be enhanced but so may the bad traits. It depends on what you call good or bad and which genes at random get lost each generation. If you do the father-daughter, you are concentrating the trrait of the father. If these are good, this is a way to go, but if he has bad recessive genes, you are hurting yourself. If the mother is the one with the bad recessive genes, brother-sister is not the best way to go.

    I don't know why you are keeping chickens. If you are trying to breed certain traits into them, then father-daughter may be the way to go. If you are just after a backyard flock, brother-sister will also work. Each generation, just pick the ones that show the traits you most want and eliminate the ones you don't want. Either way, you can keep inbreeding until you see traits you don't want, then you need to bring in fresh blood. Some general traits that are considered bad you can eventually get with inbreeding to especially look out for are loss of fertility, loss of vigor (which means they may be less resistant to disease or less productivity), and physical deformities.

    Good luck with it.
  7. CreleChick

    CreleChick Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Linebreeding can be great to get-or not get- the traits you want. For my show chickens a couple years ago I took a son from my original unrelated pair who now four years later is my main brood cock, and bred him with an awesome sister of his and got a fantastic bird. The only thing is she came out with white earlobes. This is fine for show, no problem, but it shows you where some genes can pop out. I took his daughter and bred her with her uncle and got another awesome bird-no white earlobes. Took my son (the hen's father from bro-sis mating) and bred him back to his mom and got some more great show birds, but with the genes so close now I started getting a little extra black in my sickle barring, which you don't want. These birds can still be shown very successfully and bred with experiment of a very clean barred tail hen and may get even better color. I have also done cousin breeding or ended up with things that are cousins [​IMG] my family tree gets confusing sometimes.

    In all, in four years time and maybe 100 birds through my breeding program are all from my original pair. There is no outside blood and I've been told I may have the last of this line. I haven't gotten any wacky one eyed, extra leg things like that [​IMG] and have gotten absolutely NO health problems through all the breeding. I bred about three pairs of brother-sister matings and it was stupid of me to sell those mommas or their babies years ago.

    I have been lately wanting to add new hens to my flock. I kind of don't have a choice since I have two cocks left who are brothers and their mom. Everyone else I've sold and they've gone on to show and non show homes.

    I think with inbreeding, you need to know what you're looking for and know what genes you want to keep close in your lines but always know there may be a recessive gene that may pop out that you aren't fond of.
  8. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    You guys helped so much!
    After breeding poms for show I have studied over genetics, pedigrees, breed standards and striving to improve lines to the point I think I compare everything by those outlines!
    I do want to breed my birds, if not for showing, at least to have the ability to do so if wanted. I always strive for the "best of the best" when it comes to breeding...
    My grandpa used to tell me that a good dog doesn't eat anymore than a bad dog does so I guess that can apply to chickens, too! That or maybe a good chicken doesn't taste any better than a bad one [​IMG] Jk!
    I did have one more question, ok, in reference to large companies patandchickens mentioned a trio and I have seen this elsewhere, too. Would that be two females to a male or vice versa?
    Would this apply to me in a small breeding program and what do you guys do personally?
    I know with dog breeding not knowing the exact parents is cause for dismissal from AKC and it would seem in a dedicated breeding program you would want to know the exact parents of the chicks but this mention of trio, not just in this thread but all over the net, has thrown me off a bit!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  9. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    Jan 30, 2007
    Good advice given here!

    A Trio: 1 rooster/cock to 2 pullet/hens.

    Pair is 1 rooster/cock to 1 hen/pullet.
  10. CreleChick

    CreleChick Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Many people like to breed in trios or quads. A trio is most often described as two hens and a rooster and quad either two males and two females or one male and three females. Although a trio can be also whatever you're calling a trio lol

    It's ok to breed from groups, but you also want to know who is giving you the good and bad genes from your hens. I do just rotating breeding. Seperate your hens and put the rooster in with each for a few days to cover them. Then you know who's laying and you can hatch and seperate accordingly.

    And if you're used to showing dogs and stuff, find yourself some top of the line chickens from a great breeder and breed you some nice show chickens. You just might catch showing fever and get hooked.

    I did years ago [​IMG]

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