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Linebreeding question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LittlestSeal, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. LittlestSeal

    LittlestSeal Out Of The Brooder

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    So, my little(heh) mixed flock I'm raising up will have 2-3 roos, assuming I can get them to get along and not be aggressive towards each other, but even if that's the case I plan on at least 1 Roo in with the girls and doing some hatching of mixes for myself.

    Question is, I know the roo(s) will mate anything female, but is there an acceptable "standard"of Linebreeding cut off before it becomes a major concern? I know work my German shepherds for instance you want to go no More than 5. My boas you can go even further along (and I've even had partho litters with the boas, interesting subject but I digress). I've seen 2 generations and 4 generations in similar posts from ages back but wonder if that's due more to trying to compare chickens genetic makeup to people than any sound science, and this just throwing out numbers?

    Thanks in advance. I am a plan-a-holic l.
     
  2. ChickenGuy512

    ChickenGuy512 New Egg

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    Linebreeding (as I'm sure you know) helps bring uniformity to the offspring, however, because of the way chicken color works genetically, consistancy in offspring is hard to achieve if you don't know how genetics work and which genes are dominant and which are recessive. Inbreeding causes issues because of the lack of genetic diversity. It is very easy to cross over the line between line breeding and inbreeding. My opinion (simply my opinion and loosely based on science) is that I personally don't like to breed siblings. I also like to skip generations before I breed back to my original stock. The reason I prefer this is because genetic diversity is good for the offspring. Often, purebreds (of any animal) can have health issues because of the lack of genetic diversity, so by skipping generations and only breeding back to the original stock every other generation, you get more genetic diversity. However, I know this demands the need for more birds, but I believe it creates healthier, more immune birds. What breeds are you planning on crossing, and what are their color patterns, we may be able to tell you what kind of feather patterns, base and secondary colors you'll get out of the cross. Side note: how many hens are you planning on having with the 2-3 roosters? If you have too many roosters and not enough hens, your hens will get brutalized and their saddle feathers can get removed by the mating frequency of having too many roos.

    -Caleb
     
  3. LittlestSeal

    LittlestSeal Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for that answer, I'm not planning on heading for any particular trait but the concern mainly was just that they are housed together and free ranging and the likes at home, and I'd plan on keeping back since if the hatches on occasion, mostly to replenish as my layers start producing less.

    The current number that I still too be at is 24. With 2 roosters ordered (a jersey giant rooster and a polish rooster) 7 pullets, 12 for sure straight run, and then the other 2 are either going to be pullets or straight run (my friend is getting two chicks for her little ones to have and keep here, I'll know tomorrow what she got)

    So I'm estimating about 12-13 hens. My husband is hoping one of the straight run favorelles is a Roo. That's where the number 3 comes in.

    Of this mix, it's salmon favorelles, buff orpington, easter eggers, speckled sussex, white Leghorn and 2 "hatchery choice rares" from hoover hatchery. Plus whatever my friend picks up tomorrow at Agrarian chick days (local homestead shop)

    I really wouldn't want to replace the roo every other year or so, or be unable to keep back a Roo or two from the eggs, though if that's what I'd have to do then so be it.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think you'd have a long time before you'd have to worry about it.

    Your current birds are unrelated, right? So, next spring is likely when you'd be hatching. Say you keep a rooster from next spring to be your breeder. He's only related to one of your hens. So, you've got all the other hens to let him breed with, with no inbreeding issues. Your breeds are diverse enough you should have an idea on parentage of the keeper male, so if you're concerned, don't set eggs from the hens of the breed that would be his mother.

    Same for pullets you hatch next spring. You should have an idea of the mix, so you could pull them from their father if you wanted to set their eggs, leaving them exposed to the other males.

    Or, just let them do their thing and set eggs. I've done that for a few generations in years past, and never had two headed chicks [​IMG]. If you start with good, healthy stock, you'll get healthy chicks. If you start getting fertility issues or hatchability problems, or failure to thrive chicks, it's time to bring in new blood or other wise shake things up.
     
  5. LittlestSeal

    LittlestSeal Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for this, and thats true about holding back a roo from the pairings. I guess my main concern was the father copulating with his little hen daughters down the line more than anything else and how long that could go on (father/grandfather/great grandfather x daughter/grandaughter/great) before it's noticeably an issue.

    I have reptiles to feed, so I know I'll be hatching out a fair few eggs, but i'll probably only keep a small handful as layers to add to my flock as the oldest generation slows production and becomes a food source themselves. But, I still love seeing all the different mixes too and how crazy some can end up!

    Now i'm just hoping my roos get along and that i don't have aggressive ones to deal with. First time having this large of an amount of chickens, but I kind of went crazy after getting that first egg and wanted more ever since. Now i'm trying to balance out sustainability and give myself excuses as to why i have so many... annddd... so that I can use those excuses on the husband and sound reasonable about them. (Meat for ourselves, eggs! chicks to feed the snakes, food for the cats and dogs!) I actually just wanna watch chickens be chickens, truth be told. lol
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    A standard method used for thousands of years on small farms worldwide is to keep one rooster or his sons with a flock for about four or five generations, then bring in a new rooster to restore genetic diversity. I’m using four or five generations just because that’s what Dad did when I was growing up. He would keep new pullets every year and probably keep a new rooster every two or three years. Then he’d eventually bring in a totally new rooster from outside the flock by bringing home a dozen chicks from the co-op. I remember one time it was Dominique’s, another time New Hampshire.

    When you inbreed you reduce genetic diversity. That’s how breeds are made, through reducing genetic diversity. If you want a red chicken you eliminate the genetic diversity that creates black feathers. If you want large eggs you eliminate the genetic diversity that creates small eggs. You select which traits you want and breed for those. Breeders use different techniques to do that.

    If you get too much inbreeding, you can get some bad things to happen. The flock becomes more susceptible to diseases or may lose fertility. If your flock has some genes, especially recessive genes, that cause problems like deformities inbreeding will bring those out. That’s a technique some breeders use to eliminate traits they don’t want, they inbreed to see which of their chickens are carrying the bad genes.

    I could go on for quite a while on this topic, but if you choose your breeders carefully and don’t allow chickens with traits you don’t want to breed, you can go on quite a while without bringing in a new rooster. But you need to be kind of ruthless in eliminating the ones you don’t want. If you get one with a crippled leg, don’t keep it because you feel sorry for a cripple. Get rid of it because it is a cripple.
     
  7. LittlestSeal

    LittlestSeal Out Of The Brooder

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    I wouldn't call practicality as being ruthless, but if that's what it is then I guess I'm ruthless. At least in anything that is a pet secondary. Believe me, I adore animals, but I have done animals that are purely for pets (cats dogs) and some that are for specific purpose such as food in one way or another. When I have a food species, I don't attach the same way as pets. I treat them kindly and respect them during their life with me, but I know they serve a specific purpose in the long run. My dog hurt and ultimately killed a chicken of mine, I used that then as practice for processing a chicken (was furious with my dog though).
     

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