With all the roosters available, why keep a brother of hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by joebryant, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    With all the roosters available for any breed, why on Earth would anybody keep the brothers of all their hens for breeding. Surely SOMEONE has a better rooster from a different line to trade with you.
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    One biggie would be not wanting to bring in disease/parasites. (Which are mostly avoidable by getting day-olds or eggs, of course, but then you'd have to get a *bunch* to assure yourself of having a 'keeper' roo among them, and it becomes a bigger undertaking than just going out and buying A Rooster)

    Also, if you are selecting for particular traits and have made some headway towards what you're aiming for, it may often not be wise to bring in totally new genetics that will dilute that out. You need *some* at-least-mild outcrossing, but not really very much.

    Finally, it is a lot cheaper and easier to just keep your homebreds and if it does not adversely affect the quality of your flock, why not? [​IMG]

  3. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Also, chickens are different than say, dogs or people, in that they can be line bred more without concern of mutations, although it should not be done excessively. Siblings or daughter to sire is acceptable.
  4. JessicaGrant

    JessicaGrant Songster

    Jun 22, 2008
    Western Mass
    Quote:Is this because they have fewer genetic diseases? I mean, the transmission of their genetics is the same, isn't it?
  5. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    Mutations can occur no matter the breeding. When you breed two closely related animals the problem is the frequency of undesirable genes. If a flock has been carefully line bred long enough, those undesirables can be culled and you'll be left with nothing but the best genes. Line breeding (which is really just controlled inbreeding) is a great way to establish good genetic stock, however, the first few years might really suck.
  6. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:Is this because they have fewer genetic diseases? I mean, the transmission of their genetics is the same, isn't it?

    I am not sure, but I know that chickens have more chromosomes. Maybe this gives more opportunity for diversity, but that's just me speculating. If you look at how chickens live in the wild, there is more opportunity for inbreeding than in a lot of species of animals, so the fact that seems to work for a bit domestically may relate to that, if that makes sense.

    You do have to worry about things like cross beak, which is a feature that seems to show up in lines that have been inbred too much.

    Anyone feel free to jump in and add to this because I am in no way an expert and am just speculating on a lot of this.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am not sure whether chickens really have all that much fewer deleterious recessive alleles (although it is *possible*, I just don't know).

    One factor that separates chicken-breeding from dogs, horses etc is that it's generally considered a more trivial thing to cull 'defective' individuals, whereas even just a few 'messed up' puppies or foals is a much bigger concern to a typical breeder. Another factor is that you get more offspring, period, from chickens, and because of this, all you really need is a reasonable incidence of GOOD offspring, irrespective of how 'enh' the other ones are.

    But really, inbreeding (or linebreeding - I am not trying to get into semantic arguments here [​IMG]) is not generally nearly such a terrible thing as most people imagine.

    Unless you are for some reason starting with a population that already has a considerable incidence of deleterious recessives (in some cases, that can happen semi-accidentally as a result of breeding hard for certain extreme traits, e.g. in some dog breeds), you actually do not usually need very much nor very frequent injection of 'outside' blood to keep things ticking along quite happily in terms of healthy good-quality offspring. Like, as a *general* rule of thumb, something on the order of one new individual per hundred individuals of population every few generations (not years; *generations*).

  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Time. It takes lots of energy and time to hatch and grow out new blood and some people, myself included, will NOT purchase adult birds from anyone. Linebreeding and even breeding brother to sister, isn't taboo with chickens. You just rather not do brother to sister very long without new blood-it concentrates both good and bad traits.
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Inbreeding in poultry has little or no negative effects like it does in higher mammals. Now, if you use the same sire for a dozen generations things are going to get weird on you. But, for casual breeding in the backyard, inbreeding poses no real consequences.

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