Mixing Lines

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by punk-a-doodle, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When your goal is breeding birds that come close to or follow the SOP, with health and long term vitality as a goal, would you breed more than one line together? Why or why not?
    An example would be breeding Zook (good type I hear) cubalayas with those from Sam Brush's line (better size, I hear). Would doing so give you a chance to improve both type and size, or not?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  2. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    This is such a NOT straight forward question. I am working primarily with Marans which are a very new breed in North America. I am finding I have to use my instincts and my "eye" to a HUGE degree when making breeding decisions because all the birds have flaws - even from the very best breeders and lines. So I try to guess (with a bit of science behind my guessing), what might compliment what and I experiment. And I am quick to cull if "issues" crop up because for me the vitality of the bird is absolutely first, before anything in the SOP. Egg colour is a big deal for me, type second, with size coming a very close third, however, my Marans tend to be BIG so it's easy for me to put size third. Feathered shanks are an issue in my flock so I have to cull hard for that and my ladies tend to be over-melanised so I'm also working on that but the vitality of the bird trumps all. (Even with my Silkies.)

    I am now collecting eggs from my one and only F2 generation pullet of Blue Coppers who is in with her daddy. It's a VERY slow process because so few birds are worthy of the breeding pen but I'm having a ball hatching and learning.
     
  3. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I figured it would not be! :D. Thanks for rising to the challenge barngoddess.
     
  4. mschlumb

    mschlumb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is worth a try to cross the lines. The first cross will most likely give you a range of shapes, sizes, color shades etc. you sholdnt get anything crazy though.
    I just saw this in a guy's flock of Buckeyes that I helped him sort. He told me that the birds were a cross of two lines, and I could tell as they were not very uniform in shape, size, or color. Some were much smaller than others and others were very dark with black feathers and some were at the light end of the spectrum.
    Eventually as you breed them you weed out those traits not in line with the SOP or with your personal preferences. (Pleas don't take that personally, I will readily admit I have personal preferences, it's all how we interpret the SOP) As you breed your birds to a certain goal you will have less variation and come up with a more uniform line. That, as you said, hopefully combines the best of both worlds.

    If you did cross then select your birds towards SOP essentially you have made your own line. this is good enrich the gene pool of the breed. I think it's a good idea.

    Having said that if you can maintain each line as pure you are doing good as well. If you need to cross in either pure strain with the cross strain you have it and you are preserving what is already there.
    You can then select these to the SOP and maybe improve them as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We've had a line of RIR for a few years now. The birds we have really need help. They are healthy, but they hare SOP issues, issues we cannot fix with the birds we have. We just don't have enough of them to pull down the tails, lengthen the bodies, widen the stance, etc. I've spent a good deal of time locating another BYCer who also has birds from this old line. We're pretty confident that they are likely been "apart" for almost a decade. My hope is that hatching out a dozen or eighteen eggs from this related, but long separated, birds will give us something to work with.

    This is our best bet, according to all conventional wisdom. It is challenging, but we're content to work with this for another season or two. If this does not produce a hopeful result, we'll just start over with a solid, different line. In our case, crossing out to another line really isn't an workable option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fascinating, and extremely helpful all of you! I love hearing about real life examples like the buckeyes and RIRs mentioned.

    Fred, I am a beginner at all this, and need some more clarification to understand what is meant when you say, "In our case, crossing out to another line really isn't an workable option." Could you please explain to a beginner like me why crossing lines won't work with your goals in RIRs? Thanks so much!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It simply is not done in the RIR breeding community. The heritage, deep, dark Reds are down to just a handful of good lines. 4 or perhaps 5. That's it. Crossing simply creates a mess that now surfaces issues you didn't have with line you had. In other words, you're now fighting potential weakness of two lines. At least that is the way it is known to me. It would be different, I suppose, if no good lines existed or no good birds existed. While there are not great numbers of super Reds, there are enough. Mixing lines isn't necessary. People have worked tirelessly for generations on these good lines. So, it is better to take advantage of the work already done, be faithful to it, breed faithfully and keep the line sharp. That is enough work. Hope that makes sense.

    Honestly? While it happens I am sure, good breeders are not excited about selling you some quality birds just for you to outcross them. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  8. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    punk-a-doodle, I think you have asked a VERY meaningful question, even if it isn't necessarily easy to answer. Based on what I'm seeing so far, I think loads of us will be able to learn from the responses you get. [​IMG]
     
  9. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

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    I got my line 7 years ago from a very old gentleman. Unfortunately, they were VERY inbred. They did well together for the first 6 years, then I started getting issues. Chicks missing eyes, chicks missing toes, no wings, and my personal favorite, brains outside of the skull. Luckily, these never hatched otherwise I would have had nightmares.


    I searched high and low for the same line that I had because I wanted to maintain the lines I already had. I got a bird from a breeder that had the exact same lines I did. I used this bird and now have no more problems. Unless something else pops up, I do not think I will ever use birds from another line. If I had crossed the lines, a few years down the road I would have "been starting over" with a line I did not know the outcomes of. What to expect.

    I probably would have gotten several birds with wrong colored eyes, squirrel tails, tails set way too low, side sprigs in the comb, etc.
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If you create two families, two houses, some people call it. You can in effect, keep your line going for decades. If you finally find fertility dropping, for example, getting "fresh blood" doesn't mean getting birds from another line, but rather getting a cockerel from someone else who has your same line, but has kept that line apart from your's for 8-10 years. You'll find this kind of injection to be relatively common and away you go again.

    Our Frank Reese Barred Rocks have not been crossed in very likely 75 years.
     

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