The Buckeye Thread

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Happy Chooks, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. Marengoite

    Marengoite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chris,

    Maybe you can clarify. Why would you want to start with birds from more than one line? For instance, if I were to get started in Heritage Barred Rocks and Good Shepherd has a line, why wouldn't I just buy from their line and set up a spiral system with their birds and go from there?

    Or lets say there is a line of Buckeyes I like and I bought birds from two separate flocks of the same line to set up my breeding pens? Why would I need to get more than one line if there is already a good line out there with a good spiral program that I could just pick up and run with?

    Full disclosure: That was how I got started - a variety of birds from two separate breeders of the same line. I also plan on bringing in some more birds from the same line into my flock next year. Why is this not as good an idea as mixing lines?

    In this article: http://bloslspoutlryfarm.tripod.com/id68.html on why people fail with RIRs, Bob says:

    The Desire to Cross Strains: When I first wanted Rhode Island Reds in the early 1960s as a boy I saw a Rhode Island Red Cockerel that was Grand Champion of the show and a Pullet that was Reserve of breed who where owned by two different breeders. Neither one of these master breeders got their start from the same breeder and where as far apart from being related as possibly could be. Talking to another Hall of Fame Rhode Island Red Breeder Cliff Terry from Nebraska who Judged this National Meet I told Mr. Terry if you crossed that male and that female you would have champions next year. He put his hand on my shoulder and said Son it sounds logical ,but genetically you will have a nightmare of faults and defects. When you cross two different strain you are disturbing the genes pools perfected by the master breeders for maybe twenty or more years. You are money ahead to just get you a good male such as a brother of that male on Champion row, two hens that are his aunts or his mother and start your birds from just one breeder. Mr. Terry stated more people have got into Rhode Island Reds and have left than you can shake a stick at. The main reason they leave is crossing strains because they think they are going to hit the jackpot and get a winner. I told this story to Hall of Fame Bantam Breeder, R Paul Webb, a few years later when I visited his home in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. He said Cliff was right. I have made crosses to develop my Red Bantams, but it's a process of three to four generations before you introduce them into your line. If anyone crosses my strain of bantams with say some bantams from another strain they will be in for a rude awaking. It would take you 5 years to get back to where you started after you pull out all the defects in color and type.
     
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  2. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    nevermind
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
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  3. homeworkin

    homeworkin Out Of The Brooder

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    Since this is my first year breeding chickens I am trying to make sure I have good, genetically diverse stock for breeding. After that, line breeding in one form or another will help me keep healthy stock for as long as I want to keep doing this. While chickens are different, my understanding is that nature tends to come after any plant or animal that is too genetically "narrow." So, I am working to establish foundation stock in each breed where at least there is some diversity. Since I am only breeding birds from the ALBC list (excepting Bresse and BLRW - both of which are by definition also somewhat inbred) it is important to me to avoid breeding from too small of a gene pool.
     
  4. homeworkin

    homeworkin Out Of The Brooder

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  5. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    nevermind
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  6. Marengoite

    Marengoite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Homeworkin,

    We've had this discussion on other threads, most notably the Heritage Large Fowl thread.

    One of the principles you need to keep in mind is that genetic diversity equals variation. If you want everyone to look different, then genetic variation is the way to go. If you want them to look the same, then genetic variation is your enemy. The purpose of standard breeding is to reduce the genetic variation and to set a type so that at either extreme, there is very little difference between individuals.

    Genetic diversity has a benefit in natural selection because it creates a varied gene pool that can respond (as a species, not as individuals) to sudden or unexpected changes in the environment. However, some species with very low genetic diversity appear to be very robust when it comes to survivability of individuals. An example of this is the cheetah which is probably one of the most narrow gene pools in the natural world, yet they are a surprisingly robust species.

    Animal husbandry is ARTIFICIAL selection, not natural selection. It is successful because the conditions under which the animals live are highly controlled. We don't toss our chickens out in the wild to fend for themselves, otherwise we'd have landrace chickens like the Icelandic, Maradunna, or Hedemora. And you will note that color and type for those breeds are all over the map. If you want uniform color and type, the key is the reduce genetic diversity, not increase it. You are correct that nature can eliminate "narrow" lines, but since our chickens are not living "in nature" but in our back yard and they have access to antibiotics, veterinary care, and our responsible oversight, nature isn't the problem it is for landrace varieties.

    I used to feel as you do when I got started in chickens. I come from a dog breeding background and have no kind words in my vocabulary for puppy mills and irresponsibly bred dogs. If you want to see me on a soapbox, just ask my opinion on the hunting American Cocker Spaniel. If it were within my means to do so, I would establish a hard-hunting line of Cockers that would put some Springer lines to shame, but that's just me. Popularity in the 60's killed that breed, but it wasn't done through "inbreeding" or "linebreeding" but by irresponsible breeding and puppy mills.

    I would recommend that you look at various Buckeye lines. Go to some shows and see what's out there. Surf the web and the forums and look at LOTs of pictures of Buckeyes to see ones you like. It's overwhelming at first, but after you do it for a while (I was over six months web surfing before I bought my first chick) you begin to figure out what it is that you are looking for and who has it. Once you know what you want and where to get it, place a couple orders from the same breeder, cull rigorously, and give it a go. If you need "new" blood, order from your original source (because you picked a good one to start with, right?) and add them to your flock. As I said to Chris, I don't know what the advantage is to buying from two lines IF you are able to start with a good line of spiral bred Buckeyes to begin with. Just continue the closed flock breeding program that they had started. After all, that's what the original breeder is likely doing. Right? Why mess up a good thing with an outcross?
     
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  7. homeworkin

    homeworkin Out Of The Brooder

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    So much to learn here. What I have is a trio from one breeder and a dozen 12 week olds from a second breeder. I figure on picking the best and going from there.

    Part of what has me spooked is that I have some American Bresse chicks. Knowing that all are closely related (Greenfire only brought them in a few years ago) I ordered a dozen eggs from each of two breeders. One set was a bust. Nothing developed. Postal damage? Who knows. Second set the seller was kind enough to mark eggs from pen #1 and #2. I got 3 chicks from pen 1. All three developed serious leg issues and had to be put down. Pen 2 gave me 2 healthy chicks - but they are siblings. I can presume that the chicks from pen 1 might have a defect that is genetic since no other chicks in that hatch had issues. Makes me nervous....putting down deformed chicks is awful but necessary.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  8. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    The fact that you are working with a breed that is recently brought into the country tells me it is a pretty straight family tree you are working with to begin with. Just because someone brought them in, doesn't necessarily mean they brought in a good solidly healthy line to begin with. Some people are just out to capitalize on having some 'new' or rare breed and they don't quite give a hoot what the genetic health is. Add to that fact, and it is a fact, that "new" and "rare" birds become fads or what I call 'flavor of the month'. This is something I have seen happen with BLRWs, with Marans of all varieties, it is happening with Swedish Flowers and other "new" breeds to the US. Everyone wants them, so some of those people who do have them breed them the same as a puppy mill will breed whatever fad dogs are the hot item. This leads to a lot of irresponsible breeding, like Merangoite has already pointed out. Just because they aren't puppies, doesn't mean people aren't approaching it with the same intent. So, perhaps that is really what you are seeing the result of with your Bresse. Unless you know the breeder, the history of how they have bred their stock and how long they have been doing it with that breed, then you are taking a chance. People on BYC and a lot of other sites can tell you all about how good they are doing things, it doesn't necessarily mean they do know or that they are being honest.
    Shipped eggs, as I think all of us here know, are a huge risk. It is nice when the seller is willing to help out by sending a replacement order, but they are under no obligation to do so. The leg issue you experienced could very well be the result of the breeding that went into that particular pen. Maybe there were a couple of generations where the siblings were mated together? How would you know?

    All of this just supports even more the positive side of linebreeding. As was quoted earlier from Bob Blosl, when you are starting a breeding program and using 2 different lines, you are setting your program back at least 5 years. I don't know why anyone would want to intentionally make it harder and take longer to have a good breeding line? When I started, I thought the same as I am hearing here, that I should start with more than one line to avoid genetic saturation, but it was that same quote by Mr. Blosl that told me I was wrong in my thinking and I stopped looking for that 'other' line to blend in. Yeah, blending, like in a blender, and what you get may not be what you intended. I have looked for breeders who produce good quality birds and I am working on keeping the ones I think are the best of each generation and moving them forward.
     
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  9. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    Thank you all for the quick replies! So could that chicken be a runt? She's definetly smaller.
     
  10. HappyBuckeye

    HappyBuckeye Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Marengoite, I haven't figured out how to do multiple quotes from different posts yet, but your last two posts on this topic really hit the nail on the head. I'm new to showing and breeding for show, but not completely new to chickens and breeding to the standards. It's funny how the modern theory is to have "genetic diversity", which as you well stated is for the purpose of variation when the goal of breeders breeding to the SoP is to eliminate variation. As I see it, the only reason for doing an out cross is if your line has lost a required trait through careless breeding.

    When in doubt, I try to go back for evidence based, breeding techniques. One of the best resources I've found is the Master breeder of Buckeye, Mrs. Nettie Metcalf herself. Take a look at what she said about in-breeding in the Poultry Success October, 1917 issue. Here's the link.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=cc...epage&q=nettie metcalf corner of yard&f=false

    "The back yard was fenced and there were big picket gates on the place which nearly always stood open, so I got a boy to help me unhinge a couple and carry them across two corners of the back yard; then I borrowed a couple of big boxes for coops, and what more was needed? I penned up two pairs in these small enclosures. Had I to do this over again, I would have started with one pair, but I was afraid of in-breeding in those days, so I doubled my troubles by starting with two pairs, thus getting the defects of four progenitors instead of two.
    My! What a flock I raised that year! No wonder my friends laughed! Green legs and feathered legs, buff chicks, black chicks and even red-and-black barred chicks; single combs and pea combs, and no combs at all, but fighters from way back."
    I don't know about you, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel. My first year of hatching Buckeyes I just flock mated the best ones in the same pen and figured I'd pick the best ones from that. Boy was that a mess. This last year I did much better, took a single pair of the best I originally had to start working on the type and color just as Nettie said she would have started with. Thanks for sharing and helping to explain what my gut instincts were telling me.
     

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