Inbreeding in chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Weasleymum, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    308
    20
    148
    Aug 1, 2008
    Virginia
    I have 3 Buff Orps that are 5.5 months old. One of them is a cockerel, and if he stays as nice as he is right now, we might be keeping him. So far, we have brought in fertile eggs for our broody hens to hatch out, but with a rooster in the flock, we won't need to in the future. But, I have no idea of the relationship between the three buffs. I know they hatched together, so I have no reason to assume that they aren't brother and sisters; is that a problem if they have offspring?

    I am not planning on breeding them together on purpose, just wondering if I need to remove the BO's eggs from any broody hen in the future.
     
  2. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

    268
    40
    106
    May 1, 2013
    Texas
    Just depends on your purpose with them. If you are just hatching out and replenishing your flock then no big deal. If you are breeding for a purpose (show, ability etc) than you should read up on inbreeding and line breeding. To put it simply as I can, inbreeding will magnify the bad traits as well as the good ones. If you are breeding for a purpose than you must cull hard and only keep the best of what you are looking for. My experience with this comes from dogs not chickens btw.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,565
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You'll be fine.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,661
    4,190
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Just like Primo said, when you inbreed chickens, you can enhance bad traits or good traits so keep the ones that have the traits you want and don’t let any that show up with bad traits breed.

    That’s basically how small farmers have managed their chicken flocks for thousands of years. They keep one or two roosters with a bunch of hens and raise their own replacements from those chickens. One problem with that is that after several generations the flock can lose enough genetic diversity that the flock can lose fertility, vitality, or develop some other bad things. So every four or five generations they would swap for new roosters with neighbors to bring back genetic diversity. You can keep going forever by occasionally bringing in fresh genetics as long as you pay a bit of attention and keep your best chickens as breeders.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    308
    20
    148
    Aug 1, 2008
    Virginia
    Wonderful, thank you! I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to have chicks with two heads or no beak or something.
     
  6. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've just been reading the various threads on this topic. There are a few people swearing by "keeping it in the family", so to speak, for many, many generations provided adequate records are kept. Now, I have a handful of birds that I bought as chicks from a lady who bought the hatching eggs from a breeder. Two were 2 weeks older than the others. The only pullet (from that bunch) is of the younger group. I highly doubt that I'll be able to obtain any records, if any exist, so I'm a bit worried about Gonzo making babies with what are likely her brothers for who knows how many generations back. Is this concern justified?

    I did acquire another roo specifically for her, but the babies wouldn't be "heritage" anymore (roo is a mutt). I also acquired a surprise, unrelated australorp pullet that I SWORE was australorp until she laid me a green egg! So I was going to use her with the pure aussie boys. I'm still going to breed her, though - she's been pumping out an egg a day since she started laying well over a week ago, and only skipped her second day!

    But back to the point at hand: not knowing how inbred Gonzo is in relation to the others I got with her, should I just leave them to do what they do without worry? And, if there are problems, are they noticeable the instant the chicks hatch?
     
  7. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

    268
    40
    106
    May 1, 2013
    Texas
    Phoennixxx, The question you have to ask yourself is, what is the purpose of your breeding? Are you just looking to have more chickens laying eggs? Or are you trying to improve a current strain? Or create your own strain? If you are just doing the first, then just let them go at it and see what happens. If your goals lie with the other two, then a lot more work is required. It's all about your goals and how much work you want to put into it. To put it simply, If you breed heavily inbred chickens, you will probably get similar chickens to the parents that lay eggs. If you want more (ie better colors, more egg laying, shades of egg color, temperament, etc. ect) then meticulous culling, recordkeeping etc are required. You are actually asking the exact same question as the original poster. The other responses apply just as well. Good luck.
     
  8. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps


    Well, a combination of all three, I suppose... I'm not really there yet, just thinking ahead. I have no idea yet how often or how many hens will be broody at any given time, so I'll likely wind up selling any extra chicks. Heritage breeds are an easier sell where I am, but I don't want to be responsible for selling any that may have potential problems.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by