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 Post subject: Shared breeding programs
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:24 am 
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Great Game
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The post below (reposted with Oaklands permission) got me to thinking, are shared breeding programs despite all of their problems a serious way forward in this time of limited resources and problems with councils and cockerels?

Oaklands wrote:
In discussing breeding options and possible breeding plans were are straying off the original topic but in so doing we may be able to avoid any compromise or further compromise to the breeds purity and survival.
MJC I agree with you and you are correct in that a ratio of 10:10 would give you 100 combinations.If you reared 10 chicks of each combination to select from you would have 1000 chickens.
But that is over simplifying the situation and in it's simplicity arises a snag to it's true outcome.
Many if not all of us would not have the resources or facilities to rear and maintain that many fowls.
Then there is another hurdle to it's success, that being that each female would probably be only able to be mated to 2 males each season with the number of eggs she would be likely to lay in any one season.So it would take 5 yrs to complete the circuit so each of the possible 100 combinations could be attained.Now we add in "Murphy's Law" of what can go wrong will go wrong.Things like a fowl dying or fox getting in etc etc, all things that will ruin our chances.
I'm not being smart just pointing out the likely possibilities.
There are many other options we can undertake either as an individual or as a collective group to achieve much the same aims as you suggest but sharing the load and responsibility.
The option I have chosen is to make up a selected number of breeding pens as a basis of an ongoing breed plan.
To do this I have 7 males, all totally unrelated in a variety of colours, to each I assign a number.
As the Malay is not bound by colour predjudice I can concentrate on type alone and what ever colours eventuate I am happy with but at the same time can boost the genetic variance and improve breed type, conformation and character.
To each of these males I select a number of females to comprise a breeding pen of maybe 5 females and to each I assign a number corresponding to the number of males .Many of my females are full sisters , in some cases having 2, 3 or 4 of the same breeding.These I scatter in different pens so full sisters are not in adjoining pens where possible.
So with 7 breeding pens I hope to rear 20 chickens from each pen.In the next season I take the best cockerel from each pen and mate him to the best female progeny of the pen next to him.So a male from pen 1 goes over females of pen 2 and so on with the male from pen 7 going in with progeny of pen 1.Each season/generation this is repeated, 1>2, 2>3 etc to make a complete circle in 7 yrs or generations, from where the spiral can continue indefinately.
In this way it takes 7 yrs/generations to make a complete circuit of matings and by then there is none or very little inbreeding.
These pens can be maintained for breeding over a number of seasons or can be varied with a male first being mated to the females in the pen before or after his allocated number in following seasons, so male 5 can be mated to pen 5 this season, pen 4 next season and pen 6 the following season.However when doing this a seperate series of breeding complexes needs to be established to keep each original recombination from messing up an established cycle, but it can be a way to establish another breeder with a similar but quite different recombination to that of your own yard.
The choices and possibilities are all up to you and the facilities and resources available to you.
With this suggested plan in it's most basic format you have 7 pens this season, 14 next season/generation and 21 the following season/generation where new combinations can be made and explored without ever really getting to close in breeding terms.It maintains diversity and with care in selection for each fowl to go onto producing the next generation considerable gains can be made.
At any time I always keep a few males as insurance in the wings, just in case of disaster.So from each pen I will keep the 2nd best male as a spare in case he is needed to replace his brother in a given breeding pen.
Already I am wondering if I can afford to rear the number of progeny I will breed in any season and am making plans to house them.
If this sort of plan were to be adopted by any given number of individual breeders working in co-operation then the resources needed would be spread as would the risks and collectively we could make great advances in quality and numbers for the future.
In this way breeders would pass onto the next in line a male and receive from back down the line a male to go on with to the next generation.
The possibilities are endless for recombinations with the co-operation of like minded breeders.
Therein lies the problem in such a suggestion, would breeders co-operate ??


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:29 am 
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Great Game
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I will add some other BYP posts on similar topics in here

http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7985275

http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=8006630


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:06 am 
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Proud Rooster
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As for my earlier post on a circle mating breed plan there are a few important things I failed to include or stress as important to it's success.
In the initial setting up it is important to balance the pens taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the fowls available.Where possible careful selection should be made not to mate fowls in the same pen with hard to erradicate serious faults.It is understood that not all fowls available will be perfect, the challenge and pleasure is in the improvement of the fowls over time.
The breed standard gives us a checklist of all the desirable characteristics and all of these should be present somewhere in the breeding pens.This is very important as after the initial setting up no new blood is introduced and if the desirable traits are not present then there is no way to introduce them as future matings are dictated and fixed.
However the system is flexible in that it is up to you which fowls, male and female, you select to go onto the next generation.Again selection of the right fowls depends on you to select fowls balanced to each other to improve and develop the breed profile.
Along the way there will be some success and failure, more success than failure I hope, but when some disaster strikes and a developing line is lost for whatever reason it is a chance to introduce or graft in a fowl or fowls that bring in traits you have identified as lacking.This is a decision not to be taken lightly but only where absolutely necessary, ideally it would come from a related line, maybe from the same source as the original fowls of that line or a daughter line that you have established for another breeder.In so doing you are not making a complete outcross but bringing back a variant of the lines already established.
There is scope and possibilities to utilise extra quality fowls you breed along the way to assist another breeder or to specifically mate pairs or trios to breed fowls for a specific purpose like sales, shows or to give another breeder fowls specific to rectifying a problem they encounter.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:14 am 
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Champion Bird
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Oaklands wrote:

Quote:
In discussing breeding options and possible breeding plans were are straying off the original topic but in so doing we may be able to avoid any compromise or further compromise to the breeds purity and survival.
MJC I agree with you and you are correct in that a ratio of 10:10 would give you 100 combinations.If you reared 10 chicks of each combination to select from you would have 1000 chickens.
But that is over simplifying the situation and in it's simplicity arises a snag to it's true outcome.
Many if not all of us would not have the resources or facilities to rear and maintain that many fowls.
Then there is another hurdle to it's success, that being that each female would probably be only able to be mated to 2 males each season with the number of eggs she would be likely to lay in any one season.So it would take 5 yrs to complete the circuit so each of the possible 100 combinations could be attained.Now we add in "Murphy's Law" of what can go wrong will go wrong.Things like a fowl dying or fox getting in etc etc, all things that will ruin our chances.
I'm not being smart just pointing out the likely possibilities.
There are many other options we can undertake either as an individual or as a collective group to achieve much the same aims as you suggest but sharing the load and responsibility.
The option I have chosen is to make up a selected number of breeding pens as a basis of an ongoing breed plan.
To do this I have 7 males, all totally unrelated in a variety of colours, to each I assign a number.
As the Malay is not bound by colour predjudice I can concentrate on type alone and what ever colours eventuate I am happy with but at the same time can boost the genetic variance and improve breed type, conformation and character.
To each of these males I select a number of females to comprise a breeding pen of maybe 5 females and to each I assign a number corresponding to the number of males .Many of my females are full sisters , in some cases having 2, 3 or 4 of the same breeding.These I scatter in different pens so full sisters are not in adjoining pens where possible.
So with 7 breeding pens I hope to rear 20 chickens from each pen.In the next season I take the best cockerel from each pen and mate him to the best female progeny of the pen next to him.So a male from pen 1 goes over females of pen 2 and so on with the male from pen 7 going in with progeny of pen 1.Each season/generation this is repeated, 1>2, 2>3 etc to make a complete circle in 7 yrs or generations, from where the spiral can continue indefinately.
In this way it takes 7 yrs/generations to make a complete circuit of matings and by then there is none or very little inbreeding.
These pens can be maintained for breeding over a number of seasons or can be varied with a male first being mated to the females in the pen before or after his allocated number in following seasons, so male 5 can be mated to pen 5 this season, pen 4 next season and pen 6 the following season.However when doing this a seperate series of breeding complexes needs to be established to keep each original recombination from messing up an established cycle, but it can be a way to establish another breeder with a similar but quite different recombination to that of your own yard.
The choices and possibilities are all up to you and the facilities and resources available to you.
With this suggested plan in it's most basic format you have 7 pens this season, 14 next season/generation and 21 the following season/generation where new combinations can be made and explored without ever really getting to close in breeding terms.It maintains diversity and with care in selection for each fowl to go onto producing the next generation considerable gains can be made.
At any time I always keep a few males as insurance in the wings, just in case of disaster.So from each pen I will keep the 2nd best male as a spare in case he is needed to replace his brother in a given breeding pen.
Already I am wondering if I can afford to rear the number of progeny I will breed in any season and am making plans to house them.
If this sort of plan were to be adopted by any given number of individual breeders working in co-operation then the resources needed would be spread as would the risks and collectively we could make great advances in quality and numbers for the future.
In this way breeders would pass onto the next in line a male and receive from back down the line a male to go on with to the next generation.
The possibilities are endless for recombinations with the co-operation of like minded breeders.
Therein lies the problem in such a suggestion, would breeders co-operate ?




Don't like it!!

Doesn't talk about breeding for certain trait.It may work for Malays and may help with inbreeding but that's it....

Each breed is different as I been finding out by talking with a lot of breeders.Like eg Pekin's,RIR's and so on..

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:46 am 
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Proud Rooster
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The suggested breed plan was not designed or suggested to be applicable in all instances, it is not a foolproof solution to all problems.
I did say that Malays were not restricted by colour predjudice so it could be implimented as a whole breed solution to inbreeding and maintaining the breed.
I would never suggest say with Pekins lumping them all in together but for a single variety within a given breed with the co-operation of breeders involved it can and would work.
As for specific traits that would be up to the descretion and selection of the breeders involved, the whole success or failure would be down to those breeders and choices they made.
Whole books have been written on trait selection and the genetics involved and I would not suggest I am qualified to undertake such an exercise here or elsewhere.
I think you may find a loose interpretation of this suggestion already exists between serious breeders of any given variety where breeders exchange fowls and genetics specific to thier needs. Many of these arrangements have been established and existed for many many years, breeders involved not going outside thier established circle of co-operative breeders.
But there are times and situations where a whole breed focus must be established and my suggestion was just one such option available.
There are many others and I look forward to reading them with keen interest.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:11 am 
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Great Game
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I agree that many well known breeders have informally swapped birds for many years. I only posted Oaklands Malay suggestion as an example. If you have scale in a breeding program you can both select for a trait and maintain diversity. In a small program you can not.

I am concerned when line breeding programs of the past are presented out of context with respect to the number of lines that were maintained and the number of individuals within a line. Following these principals with 20 pair matings with 20 chicks from each will give different results that 2 pair matings with 30 chicks each.

If we watch the ebbs and flows of breeds we can see the value of a few breeders having a red hot go and what that means for vigour and quality of a breed versus the odd trio all over the place and no-one really taking them seriously and then we see the breed on "struggle street".

I don't think there is one right recipe but if we could convince suburban councils that one or two breeding cock birds should be allowed (versus the none that many have now) and these smaller scale breeders were part of a team - could we really achieve something?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:34 am 
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blackleghorn I do both semi-line breeding and select for a trait .

You want have all trail you are after when starting out, and if you have not got the trait to start with line breeding will not get you it.
What I do..

buy birds with traits you need for your breeding pen..

line breed the traits to lock them in..

buy birds with traits Im looking for..

and so on and so on.....

The 20 pair matings with 20 chicks from each, This is a bit of a over kill for my breed.

With RIR's your best to have a pullet line and a cockerel line.But space can be a problem, so most become a pullet breeder or a cockerel breeder.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:05 pm 
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New England Poultry you are an established breeder who knows what they are doing and more importantly WHY.
No doubt you know the breeder and the fowls you are bringing in.
Many others do not have your contacts or skill level and do not know what hidden traits and from where when they indiscriminately bring in a fowl to fix one problem and create more or lose ground they have already gained.
One advantage to new breeders in a co-operative breeding program is the collective knowledge, experience and wisdom of the group in what to do and how to go about it.This is no more evident than a strong club in any given area where a particular breed excels, this is because the club members collectively foster the breed and it's members with a free exchange of genetics and information.This is particularly benificial to new and junior members.
From thier peers they are educated with the exchange of information and learn from the ground up all there is to know about that chosen breed.
As Black leghorn has pointed out there are also situations with council regulations where other group members can assist, even if it is housing males until a few short weeks of the breeding season so as not to contravene these regulations or if you have the threat of penalty it is removed again by the time council is aware a male is temporarily housed in suburbia.
They may also be able to rear and house males until a suitable ckl can be selected again avoiding a situation with council and neighbours.
Each breeder has thier own system that works for them,others find themselves and thier breed in all sorts of a bind and this is just an opportunity to explore and discuss viable alternatives that may not have previously been considered.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:36 pm 
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I have 30 years experience of cooperative breeding schemes in other species. Sometimes they can become a bit like a Soviet style planned economy versus the free market. Too many rigid rules are not helpful to the longevity of the scheme IMHO.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:07 am 
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This 7 pen rotational system is being used by a number of breeders up this way. It has been very successful and in fact has been a pivotal tool in bringing inbred lines back to a healthy state. I know of one case where partner breeders with differing resources house five pens on one property and two pens on the other. This means some fowls change hands each season to populate the pens for the next breeding cycle. These breeders keep in regular touch and know what's happening in each others' yards and also keep excellent records. They use a colour banding system to identify what fowl has come from what pen. It may sound complicated but it works extremely well for them and has repaired some serious inbreeding in their fowls. In that case they needed to maintain a certain level of genetic diversity, although they also bred for the required traits of their chosen fowl at the same time of course. We were going to give the idea a go but our fowls are not ready for that kind of structure yet. Neither are our pens.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:21 pm 
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My suggestion of a 7 pen rotation was only because I had 7 unrelated brood cocks here and sufficient hens to make up the breeding units.
It can be done with any number of pens, 3, 4, 5, 7 , 10 or more.The smaller the number the quicker the rotation and likelyhood of a higher degree of inbreeding, the larger the number the longer to complete a rotation (more generations) before the rotation is complete and as a result the lower the instance or likelyhood of inbreeding.
It all depends on the fowls available and people wishing to co-operate.
It does not require a lot of breeders to be involved as you point out Chicken 07, it could be just 2, 3 or 4 breeders with 1 or 2 pens each who are willing to work together for a common goal.
The system is not the clue to success alone but the skill and co-operation of breeders.
I already have 2 serious breeders (within my own breed ) who have assisted me and I'm very thankful, in future we are sure to exchange fowls suited to each others needs.That way we all benifit but none more so than the breed itself.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:54 am 
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It is good to hear that a couple have people have tried, or are trying, these kind of programs. I guess that there could be a quite formal sharing arrangement or everyone owns their own pens with an agreement to swap or sell birds among the group at the end of the season.

Anyone who is old enough to have visited the yards of the great breeders of the past (and most of those today) will know that they had multiple matings for most breeds not just one or two. Unfortunately council laws prevent this for many aspiring poultry breeders today and this kind of network of breeders may be a solution keep things going?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:52 am 
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I know this is slightly at a tangent to the theme of the thread, but I think people need to concentrate on doing a very limited number of breeds well rather than having a trio of half a dozen or more breeds. That way a person can maintain several breeding pens of the one breed and therefore contribute in a meaningful way to the maintenance of the breed.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:39 pm 
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Andrewschooks
If you are off topic it's not far and certainly related.
Good advice.
Select one breed, learn all you can about it, invest all your time skill energy and resources,do it properly instead of half doing more than one.
Your chances of success in showing sales and improvement if you rear 50 of one breed than by rearing 10 of 5 different breeds.
Hard to do when you are new and enthusiastic but sound advice in the long run.
Better to be remembered for being at the top of your game in one breed than to be rembered for having a yard full of also rans.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:17 pm 
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If you got council problem like the above.Then why do a Shared breeding programs??

Why don't you do a stud bird program.

Lease a cock bird microchiped for a week at a $100,and all your hen are done.

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