Inbreeding Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PaMiniFarmer, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. PaMiniFarmer

    PaMiniFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2010
    SW Pa
    Is inbreeding in chickens acceptable or a big no no? If I get a batch of eggs (from 2 different hens, same rooster) hatch them and then breed the chicks when older will I be ok? Thanks so your help!
  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    It is really not a problem or an issue with home flocks, I have been breeding mine for yr's as have many others and never heard of any problems.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The answer is not as simple as some people would have you believe. Inbreeding chickens with certain traits is how all the modern breeds were developed, even mutations because you had to breed the descendents of the mutated bird to fix the trait. Inbreeding will strengthen their traits, whether you consider the traits being enhanced good or bad. If you select the chickens that have the traits you want and breed them, those traits will be enhanced. You might see traits you don't want so you need to not allow those chickens to breed. Some of the traits you don't want may not be readily evident, such as loss of fertility.

    Inbreeding does limit genetic diversity. That's how the good traits get enhanced but it also raises the chances of something bad happening, maybe the become less hardy. It is usually a good idea to introduce new blood occasionally. How often depends on what you see developing in your flock. Some people go on a set schedule, like every 4 or 5 generations, but I think it is more important to observe your flock, be flexible, and determine what you do based on what is actually happening within your flock.

    I imagine my goals are different that Darkmatter, but I am also breeding my own mutts. To me, size is more important than egg production, so I base a lot of my decision on which chickens to keep to breed based on size. I still want enough egg production so there are some trade-offs. This means I eat the smaller chickens and not the delicious looking tempting larger ones, all else being equal. But every year the ones I eat are getting bigger.

    To answer your specific question, you will probably be OK but you will need to look at the offspring and see if they have any deformities or traits you don't want. If they are OK, keep going. If they exhibit traits you don't want, start over.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There are some good threads on this subject, try "search" to find them. For more information and in-depth discussion.

    Readers' digest version, though: it totally depends on the genetics of the particular birds you start from, and how exactly you conduct your breeding program (like, do you cull vigorously for any defects, not just the defective birds but also their *parents* whenever possible). In some cases you can roll along semi-indefinitely without needing any outside blood and without seeing any drop in fertility/hatchability (which is the usual first thing to "go" when inbreeding gets problematic). In other cases you may start seeing problems within a few generations.

    Starting a whole permanent flock from just one trio of original birds is pretty iffy though. It would really be a lot better to start with a wider genetic basis, i.e. more birds.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. PaMiniFarmer

    PaMiniFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2010
    SW Pa
    Thank you everyone for your responses! I love how helpful this forum is. I will do a search on BYC and continue to do research. Thanks again for all those who responded. [​IMG]

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