Question on breeding meat birds...

nao57

Songster
Mar 28, 2020
1,294
1,281
160
So here's something I was curious about this morning. I thought I'd pick your minds on it and see what you thought.

Let's say you like these smaller breeds of ducks but wanted to try to get them to have more meat on them but retain the original breeds other traits.

I wondered if you could do say get a peking, then have it mate with the breed type you want to enlarge. Then stagger offspring back and forth with the original breed every other time with each generation going back and forth to being MOSTLY the other breed, but periodically getting more meat bird gene injections, such as with a jumbo peking etc.?

It sounds interesting to me to say, try and figure out if you could get a khaki or welsh with really high egg productivity but then raise its max number of pounds by 2 or 3 pounds.

I get that this wouldn't be fast to do. It might even take years.

But it seems interesting to think like, I wonder how I can use genetics to make positive changes and apply research!

(There doesn't seem to be a genetics tab for thread sets haha. But that's reasonable I guess.)
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,742
15,835
777
Southeast Louisiana
There is a genetics section on the forum, but we discuss genetics on here also.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/exhibition-genetics-breeding-to-the-sop.16188/

The key to what you are talking about is going to be selective breeding. Decide what traits you want to breed for and only let the ones that have those traits breed. The better stock you have to begin with the better that goes. The more you hatch the more you have to select from. That's pretty important. The more traits you are selecting the harder that gets. You may have to choose between size and egg production and feather color, for example. You are going to have to raise them until you can make a good comparison.

Deciding what to breed for is not something generic like a "good meat bird". What traits do you consider good for a meat bird? Some examples. What age will you butcher them? I like to butcher my cockerels at 23 weeks. Another member likes to butcher his cockerels at 14 weeks. He doesn't care how big mine are at 23 weeks, he cares about how big his are at 14 weeks. Feed to meat conversion rate can be important, especially if you are buying all their feed. If they forage for most of their food it may be less important. Is one body conformation preferred over another? Does feather color matter? We just had a discussion about this on this forum. If you pluck instead of skin, a light colored bird has a more attractive carcass than a dark colored bird.

Does personality matter? Some of us refuse to breed a bird that is abnormally brutal to other flock members, abnormally brutal being a key phrase for me. Do you want the girls to go broody? Things like this can be influenced by which birds get to breed. To me your first challenge is to decide what traits are important to you. Some of those may change as you gain experience.

Many of us have done the type of thing you are talking about by selective breeding. I created a flock where they were all mottled, some red and some black. The hens laid blue or green eggs and went broody a lot. I increased the average size of the cockerels. It did not happen overnight, it took generations of birds. Something as simple as going for all red mottled or all black mottled instead of both would have made it easier. I decided what traits I wanted and bred for those. It eventually happened.

On the power of selective breeding. I read an article several years ago where a breeder split his flock into two separate flocks that had the same starting genetics. Then he started breeding one of them for small size, the other flock for large size. Size was his only criteria. I don't know how many generations it took him but he had two flocks where the average weight of one from the large flock was over 7 times the average weight from the smaller flock.

Selective breeding is a powerful tool but you have to have patience and know what you are breeding for.
 

speedy2020

Songster
10 Years
Jul 24, 2010
1,656
377
234
So here's something I was curious about this morning. I thought I'd pick your minds on it and see what you thought.

Let's say you like these smaller breeds of ducks but wanted to try to get them to have more meat on them but retain the original breeds other traits.

I wondered if you could do say get a peking, then have it mate with the breed type you want to enlarge. Then stagger offspring back and forth with the original breed every other time with each generation going back and forth to being MOSTLY the other breed, but periodically getting more meat bird gene injections, such as with a jumbo peking etc.?

It sounds interesting to me to say, try and figure out if you could get a khaki or welsh with really high egg productivity but then raise its max number of pounds by 2 or 3 pounds.

I get that this wouldn't be fast to do. It might even take years.

But it seems interesting to think like, I wonder how I can use genetics to make positive changes and apply research!

(There doesn't seem to be a genetics tab for thread sets haha. But that's reasonable I guess.)
Have you considering raise Silver Appleyard?
 

Ratchnick

Songster
Oct 13, 2019
1,508
1,574
188
Anchorage Alaska
On the aztec duck page they are breeding in mallard to improve hatching then go back to inbreeding to get rid of the mallard coloration. Sure you could do it but there are so many good meat ducks available i don't think its worth the hassle.
 

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