Is it ok for ducks to mate with brothers and sisters?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sandcat, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. hossfeathers

    hossfeathers Songster

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    Throwing in another couple of cents -

    (Not a geneticist, but grew up on a dairy, studied animal science, and now am raising backyard livestock.)

    Linecrosses & line breeding are used to some degree in most animal breeding situations. Ideally, in any situation, a breeder fully assesses each individual and pairs males and females based on their relative strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if one had a female with good body shape but only moderate egg laying ability, one would cross that female with a male from a dam who was an excellent egg layer and who had sired other ducks that were also excellent egg layers. But! If both the female and the male were on the upper limit of desireable size, one would expect the offspring to also be large/perhaps too big. So perhaps a breeder would only keep those offspring that were slightly smaller than average. (This holds for all breeding, and in fact, even dedicated line breeders will frequently bring in a selected individual to correct a deficiency that is spread throughout the herd/flock/pack.)

    The problem is that one can't, even in this day of gene sequencing, know 100% all the good and bad traits carried by each individual. By using linebreeding, after a few generations, one has a better idea of what sort of 'genejunk' is floating around in the chromosomes, and so better assess an individual because one knows their parents and grandparents - and also nieces, nephews, etc.

    So. Breeding good to better and not breeding bad to worse is actually the easy part - the hard part is picking out the bad, the poor, the fair, and (eventually) the average, and NOT using them for breeding. EVERY SINGLE BREEDING CAN PRODUCE POOR QUALITY ANIMALS. Furthermore, in litters and clutches, at best half of the offspring are going to be average (as good as the parents) or better - the rest will be, for whatever reason, slightly to significantly worse in quality.

    It's very tempting, esp in an age of 'papered' animals, to breed whichever female is ready, and sell ALL offspring as 'purebreds'. Rare breeds, esp, run into this. This is bad. It's bad for the animals, as it leads to breeding animals with bad traits & physical conditions, it's bad for the new owners who get a sub-par animal that can't be use for breeding, and it's bad for the breed because poor quality animals are passing on their genes.

    Take away points: Good breeders breed for better animals than the ones they start with, by pairing animals to strengthen weaknesses. Linebreeding can help assess the total animal. Improving the breed depends on culling sub-par individuals (neutering or selling as pets = culling...you don't have to kill or eat all your culls).

    If you're just breeding whatever animals you happen to have, and are not carefully selecting the best overall offspring to keep, then you run into the dangers that Kansas mentioned. It's a common enough problem that I feel very justified telling new breeders to not start by breeding 1 degree relations, until the breeders are good at selecting quality.

    Genes are like paint - in the hands of some, we end up with the Mona Lisa. In the hands of others, we end up with graffiti on the sides of railcars. Depends on what you do with it.
     
  2. aineheartsyou

    aineheartsyou Songster

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    IMO, breeding fathers to daughters, mothers to sons, etc are ok because they are only have one side of the family in common. When breeding brothers to sisters they have both sides in common so there is less to work with genetically.
     
  3. Niss

    Niss Songster

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    Very interesting. Thread, but I wonder if some of the above posters were advising different audiances?

    I have a flock of 18 hatchery quality ducks. I am not showing them or tring to preserve a breed. I just want friendly ducks. I plan to breed them based entirely on disposition. I'll seperate them at some point and hatch the eggs from the birds who tolorate being handled, and I'm not that worried about where those parents came from.
     
  4. hossfeathers

    hossfeathers Songster

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    I have a flock of 18 hatchery quality ducks. I am not showing them or trying to preserve a breed. I just want friendly ducks. I plan to breed them based entirely on disposition. I'll separate them at some point and hatch the eggs from the birds who tolerate being handled, and I'm not that worried about where those parents came from.

    IMO, that *is* selection, and is no worse than selection due to color, or size, or laying ability, or any other criteria.

    So long as you did not breed any animal with obvious defects, and so long as you avoided excessive inbreeding so as to not depress the inherited immune function, I think you'd be fine.

    I will point out a thought from Holderread, Mr "All Ducks, All the Time" - that if one does not select for obvious physical markers (such as color or size) then it is easy for your strain of super-friendly ducks to 'disappear' because no one can tell the difference between them and some random duck. It's the best argument I have ever heard for selecting for color (or ear shape, horn length, or any other more or less inconsequential trait).​
     
  5. Rosebud 18

    Rosebud 18 Songster

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    I am so glad for this thread. I am basically new to ducks and geese and I didn't know that it was ok to inbreed like that. I was planning on getting some more ducks from a different breeder so there wouldn't be so much inbreeding. "You're never to old to learn" as the old saying goes. Thanks for all the information. Good read.
     
  6. BunnyStyles

    BunnyStyles Chirping

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    I have three muscovy ducks and i think one is a boy anyways, do you think I should breed them together (they are related) and let the eggs hatch? i really want little ducklings, i dont know can you help me
     
  7. CyndiD

    CyndiD Songster

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    Does line breeding matter if I am breeding meat birds? Or do I need to get another drake duck & control the breeding?
     
  8. CyndiD

    CyndiD Songster

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    Now that I have read all the above post, I will look for the defects & unwanted traits. When I see them I will change/seperate pairs for continuous breeding &/or get another breeding pair.
    Thanks to all for ur valuable info.
     
  9. CyndiD

    CyndiD Songster

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    P.S. 1 more beginner Q: if I have different breeds of ducks, will they & should I let them Cross-breed? I understand many ducks have been crossbred to develop & create new breeds but, I am not trying to do this. I just like having a variety of breeds. I understand the animal kingdom will & can decide on their own, but some breeds are willing to crossbreed.
    Any suggestions? Thanks
     
  10. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

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    Basically all the mallard-derived ducks will interbreed, the Muscovies are not mallard derived, and if I understand things correctly, they can and will breed with mallard derived, but the offspring will be sterile.
     

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