While most farmers shun mating roosters with their offspring, there is nothing wrong with the practice if done right. First, you only need to allow breeding amongst related offspring for a few generations to avoid messing up their genetic composition. In truth, some scientists refer to inbreeding as a two-sided sword likely to eliminate an entire population when done without proper protocols.
Before we proceed, it is worth pinpointing that there are two types of inbreeding; line-breeding and close bleeding. Close breeding refers to siring roosters with their daughters and hens to their sons or between siblings. Conversely, the line-breeding process involves not very closely chickens like distant cousins. Below is a brief comparison of the negative and positive effects of inbreeding in chickens.
What is Inbreeding in Chickens?
Inbreeding is a process where blood-related parents mate and produce offspring. It can happen between parents and their young ones or against a brother and sister. Unlike other animal species, fowls tolerate inbreeding much better and rarely display any shortcomings. Nonetheless, excess inbreeding may lead to low fertility and other negative implications in some cases.
On the other hand, cross-breeding captures strengths from all breeding parents made possible by a process known as heterosis. From this phenomenon, experts believe that progeny from inbred species grow faster, bigger, and enjoy more fertility compared to their parents. Yet, other experts believe that inbreeding has its shares of rewards and drawbacks.
Advantages of Inbreeding
Here are some of the main advantages of inbreeding in chickens:
– Improve Meat Production
Inbreeding is one of the successful traditional methods used to improve an animal’s lineage and productivity. New technologies make it easier to improve an entire population through inbreeding selectively. Keep in mind that some procedures are reasonably simple, while others take longer time due to complexities involved.
Ultimately, inbreeding increases an equal proportion of dominant, recessive, good, or bad genes. As a result, the inbred chicken’s reproductive cells become more consistent in their genetic composition. If this uniformity involves plenty of dominant genes, the offspring will most likely exhibit prevailing traits of the parents.
More on this, it requires healthy and productive parents to develop fertile offspring. Still, farmers need to maximize their flock growth rate by offering a balanced healthy diet of corn, soybean, minerals, and vitamins.
– Perk up Egg Production
Proper breeding stands tall among common factors that help increase egg production in chickens. Other than that, well-being, comfort, nutrition play a significant role too. As mentioned above, inbreeding only becomes successful if you have superior breeding parents.
In short, if you inbreed low or average laying species, stakes are high that you will get similar offspring. The secret is to produce productive birds only if you want to collect baskets of eggs.
Unfortunately, some chickens have severe genetic weakness rooted deep in their DNA. In such a scenario, mating chickens with a similar bloodline can be disastrous. By the end of the day, it is essential to seek professional help and confirm if your hens have good laying genes or not. After all, it is a waste of resources and time to inbreed species only to get undesirable results.
– Enhance Other Characteristics
Inbreeding is only necessary to maintain a productive stain in the flock. In small flocks with counted superior roosters, it is normal for farmers to breed superior roosters with several hens. Inbreeding can also happen between daughters and, to some extent, with granddaughters. The idea is to create healthy birds similar to their superior descendant.
Unknown to most people, repeat inbreeding may also lead to new strains or breeds. This second cycle of inbreeding happens by mating hens with roosters born from the first round. However, when the flock expands and superior roosters’ increases, it is no longer obligatory to mate blood-related parents with so many options available.
Disadvantages of Inbreeding
Although there are many advantages of inbreeding chickens, there are also disadvantages you should know about.
– Weak Immunity
Due to increasing inbreeding, general resistance to common fowl ailments declines or weakens. Mainly, this happens if the breeding parents have inferior genes likely to pass to future generations. After all, it can be a frustrating scenario for any backyard farmer to bring forth genetically weak and unproductive chickens.
When not kept under control, inbreeding also impacts the animal’s vigor, often increasing mortality rates. In other words, a product of inbreeding gets easily affected by various environmental factors leading to early death. For this reason and others, breeding amongst related species should be kept to the minimum.
– Body Deformation
It is common to notice lethal characteristics or abnormalities in inbred species. Most common anomalies include crossed beaks, missing eyes, or numerous legs. Such congenital disabilities can be fatal and reduce the survival rates of birds. In the long run, affected fowls may face dehydration and starvation, leading to premature death.
– Low Growth Rate
Continuous inbreeding has the potential to affect the growth rate of the progeny. Given that these birds have genetically inherited ailments, it is doubtful to attain average adult weight for affected birds. Regrettably, underweight birds are a disappointment for chicken farmers who invest so much and get nothing in return.
How to Prevent Inbreeding in a Small Flock?
Small flocks suffer most from inbreeding repercussions. Some individuals argue that this takes less time to notice inbreeding effects amongst fewer birds than a vast flock. Without a doubt, the ultimate solution revolves around keeping your best roosters from inbreeding every year.
You can achieve this by placing superior birds in separate quarters and only allowing them to mingle with others when needed. Most important, add other genetically different species if you notice any hereditably-related complications.
All in all, other reliable breeding options include out-crossing and crossbreeding. Experts introduce new genetics of a similar species to an established lineage in out-crossing. Likewise, cross-breeding involves breeding two chicken varieties from diverse breeds.
Even with multiple downsides associated with inbreeding, we cannot refute that the process has its positive side as well. Thankfully, natural inbreeding prevention mechanisms have improved immensely in recent times.
Most effective procedures include dispersal of the flock, extra-pair copulation, kin recognition, and reproductive suppression. On this note, why not attempt these techniques and enjoy a fruitful breeding process in your yard.Chickens