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#1 2014-04-17 11:31:26

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

I am not sure everyone will be able to see this post (I think you may be able to) but it has some really interesting conversation going on in the thread posted below, mostly in regards to breeding for production traits of heritage birds.

ipf who helped mentor us through our year one genetics study group session has contributed as has TruNorth who has been working to create and now share a flock of Light Sussex that live upto their historical production capabilities.

http://albertachickensetc.punbb-hosting … 00&p=1


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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2014-04-17 11:31:26

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#2 2014-04-17 12:56:47

hollowridge
Member
From: Lunenburg, County, Nova Scotia
Registered: 2013-03-25
Posts: 259

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Had no problem opening up the post. :thumbs:
But wow, there is a lot of information.  Some of it way, way over my head but some of it very good information for even a small flock!
:thanks:

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#3 2014-04-18 01:25:05

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Here is a quote of one of the points made that I really found interesting:

ipf wrote:

And I don't really see that the two of you are that far apart, either. I 100% agree with TN's final point - it's about numbers. A closed population is fine (as you say, CT, the human species is essentially a closed population), as long as it's big enough.

Do keep in mind that males contribute as much to diversity as females. If you restrict your male numbers too much, it doesn't matter how many females you keep.

Effective population size (Ne) is a measure of diversity that includes numbers, relatedness, and gender balance, and is used in breeding programs for some species. If you apply it to small chook flocks, you get some interesting things. The offspring population from one male and 1000 females (or 10,000 females) has an Ne of slightly less than 4. The offspring population from two males and 2 females has an Ne of 4. (These calculations assume equal reproductive success among hens, and among roos. Without equal success, Ne will drop somewhat).

Schipperkesue wrote:

IPF, that is amazing.  Let me paraphrase to make sure I understand.  Are you saying that a flock of 1000 hens and one rooster has the potential to produce as much genetic diversity in their chicks as a flock of two hens and two roosters?...


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#4 2014-04-19 13:22:03

Maggiesdad
Moderator
From: Louisa County, Virginia
Registered: 2011-10-05
Posts: 1980

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

I've read this thread through twice, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. Every time I think I know where I'm headed and what I want to do next, there's something else to consider... :chook:

chickens :shock:

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#5 2014-04-19 14:16:47

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Some ramblings in there for sure but some really interesting points made aren't there MD?

I was getting very discouraged by the color diversity I am seeing in my EOs this year as they are like a rainbow of colors. But they have been SO healthy and some are really big and meaty. I have used 6 different roosters (7 with infertile boy) paired with about 15 different hens/pullets paying attention to how related they are before I pair them as well as how they compliment one another based on the traits I can see as well as my knowledge of their parents and past offspring (so traits they hide). I was beginning to doubt what I am doing, going back to 4 year old hens to use for breeding when you would think that the younger ones would be closer to the SOP so why go back. But those hens are nice big heavy girls still laying lots of eggs and in nice physical shape even if their leg or feather color is off. And keeping 7 roosters when most people would likely choose to keep and use for breeding only the visually best one or two but again genetic diversity if I can choose a couple of their best offspring for next year. I don't have space for 1000s of birds but i am trying to keep genetic diversity high while still guiding traits in the right direction.

I know the discussion in that post is about breeding for meat production but for me it's reaffirming the importance of looking at the whole package when breeding. I know it will take me longer to get my EO flock to the SOP doing what I am doing but my hope is when (if) I get there the results will be a flock of Basque Hens that breed true for color and productivity. And as I am still learning I am pretty sure I am making some dumb decisions along the way so that will slow things down too!


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#6 2014-04-19 14:23:29

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Here is another snippet that I found really thought provoking:

TruNorth wrote:

The idea I would most like to get across is that the breeding techniques that work for single gene traits, or simple traits with easily observable effects, do not work for polygenetic traits.  In show breeding, almost all of the breeding techniques are for simple, easily observable traits, and that is why inbreeding is the big tool in their basket.  In utility breeding (meat, eggs, health, etc) you are doing something quite different, and for the most part success is based on heterosis, so inbreeding would be the last thing you would do -- you are always going forward, not back.  That doesn't mean you have to outbreed, and it doesn't mean you have to ignore the SOP, but you must protect and if possible enhance the genetic diversity in the polygenetic vitality traits.

TruNorth wrote:

It's just too late for me to write coherent answers to so many questions.  I'm glad you are thinking about this -- I know it is hard to follow, especially if you have been thinking of genetics in simple gene terms for many years.

This is the thing: Many body processes involve hundreds or even thousands of genes -- fetal development, for instance, occupies about 2/3s of the chicken genome.  There is no Fetal Development Gene -- it's thousands of genes.  Metabolism is complex -- just the Kreb's cycle, requiring 10 enzymes (each enzyme requiring a gene to code it) has many alternate genes (alleles) for a number of those enzymes, for which an individual may be homozygous or heterozygous.  Heterozygous individuals may be more able to adapt to a metabolic challenge because their cells can turn off one allele and use the other. 

When you build the heterozygosity in your chicken flock, you will almost always see the birds become more robust in every way.  For instance, they will probably hatch a little sooner, with fewer fetal failures, and grow faster, and become bigger adults.  But you can't keep the heterozygosity up by picking the biggest adults and inbreeding them.  Because there isn't a Big gene.  The bigness is a product of the mix of genes.  Does this make sense?...

In traditional poultry breeding the breeder is artfully composing the colour and trim on a body that he assumes will continue to replicate itself; when he deals with body and utility issues, he tries to manage them as if they were simple traits.   In modern commercial breeding the breeder is designing the body and physical functions of the bird, by looking for combinations and 'nicks' that work repeatedly, and usually with little concern for colour and trim.

I hope this makes sense...


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#7 2014-04-22 16:27:01

WorthItFarms
Member
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 2011-11-08
Posts: 43
Website

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Wow,I really hope they respond to your questions Poplar girl. I, too, can get caught up in worrying about simple,highly heritable traits - all the while assuming the polygenetic, low heritability traits will stay. I think the problems I'm running into with my ducks is caused by inbreeding depression. The question is though, where to go for outside genetics while still be able to offer genetic different lines from the other major breeders. I try to look everyone's birds/lines as one large, national flock and worry more about the genetic health of the whole flock.


Located in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. http://worthitfarms.com

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#8 2014-04-23 12:09:04

Amblecroft
Member
From: Millbrook, Ontario
Registered: 2011-08-03
Posts: 448
Website

Re: Breeding for meat production in heritage poultry

Thanks for sharing.  I am going to thoroughly enjoy reading this over and over again.


Susan Buttivant at Amblecroft,
Chaparral Pyrenean Shepherds and Petits Bassets
http://www3.sympatico.ca/chaparral/amblecroft.html

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