Intensive Inbreeding “A Practical Discussion” Part 1

Intensive Inbreeding “A Practical Discussion” Part 1 by Domanski Family Loft

intensive racing pigeon breedingWhen we discuss breeding, we are not discussing simply how to put two birds together and get offspring.   We are discussing how to breed to a higher standard to get the most potential out of our stock.   When we start discussing genes and how they work and strategies things get complicated and it’s pretty easy to get lost in the discussion and the research and loose touch with the nuts and bolts of how things work.   This is an attempt to bring that discussion to the kitchen table.

For simplicity sake, let’s assume you have a great performing pigeon and we’ll use an old term of “sport”.    He or she may not have been bred out of birds that themselves were the most outstanding pigeons.    Reality is that your new sport is only going to perform for you for 5 or 6 years at the most.   You look at him or her and you think, “I would love to have 12 of him or her in my loft and I would be on top of the world!”   Any fancier in their right mind would have the same thought.

So you put your sport together with a hen that is proven and you don’t produce anything close to your treasured sport.    Now what do you do?   At this point, fanciers then start to for the first time to consider things like inbreeding and line breeding in hopes that this may be the way to get a copy of their sport.   Now we are starting to walk down the right road.   We have a true goal in mind.   We are stepping beyond the idea of mating the best to the best, regardless of pedigree for a goal of producing a specific type of pigeon.   This is where the strategies of line breeding and inbreeding begin.

It’s easy to get confused when all of a sudden diagrams are in front of us showing the specific matings and rematings of birds required for line breeding and inbreeding.   Then you throw into the mix ways of labeling or recording these matings and before you know it, confusion starts to set in the and the basic principal is lost.   That is not the intent of the material.    That is why I have decided to write this discussion.

Let’s start with our treasured sport.   When we look at him, we are looking at the physical manifestation of everything his genetics determined he would become.   We already know that there are physical traits that we can see and measure.    These are the things in our comfort zone.   We also accept that there are qualities about him that we can’t see but have been tested by the basket in training and the races that he has competed.   This is also in our comfort zone.    Now we have to accept that there are genetics he possesses that were not physically manifested.   There are genes that may be superior to what he has become and genes that are negative and undesirable.    Both of these types of genes can be passed on to his offspring.   The same statement also applies to any mate that you choose for your sport.

Now we have accepted a very important truth.   Our sport, regardless of how phenomenal he may be, could genetically posses traits that are undesirable but not physically manifested.    Only after we have accepted this truth can we begin our journey towards producing another sport.   We have also accepted that there are traits that he has manifested that we can not see and he possesses traits that not only are not manifested, but can be passed down to his off spring.

Now the journey can begin.   We talk about gene pools.  Mostly we discuss them in the larger scheme.   You can consider all the genetics possibilities in your breeding loft as one large gene pool.   If you have 12 breeders, every bit of genetic material in their chromosomes is part of your gene pool.   But, for inbreeding we have to narrow down this thought to truly get our minds around it.  Our gene pool is the genetic material possessed by our one sport.

Every time he is mated 50% of this genetic material is passed own to his offspring (1st generation).   If his off spring is mated to an unrelated pigeon, our 2nd generation now only receives 25% of our sports genetic material.   The math is easy, within a few generations we are not looking genetically to anything close to our sport.

This is where inbreeding then becomes the tool of choice.   By inbreeding we are attempting to increase the amount of genetic material possessed by the offspring from the foundation birds.   I use the plural form because our sport can not produce off spring without a mate, so we will always have two foundation birds.   In the chapters on inbreeding and line breeding the diagrams always start with a #1 cock and a #2a hen, our foundation pair.

Intensive Inbreeding “A Practical Discussion”  Part 1 by Domanski Family Loft

More articles you may enjoy: