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Future Chicken Breeds

 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I wonder what it will take to produce the next varieties of poultry. The heritage breeds were either produced through natural selection or old fashioned husbandry. How many generations of birds would it require to produce a true line built for pasturing , paddocking ? Is anyone trying this and having any luck?
Are the lines reproducing true and are they healthy and well adapted? It seems that the lines producing Isa Browns and Freedom Ranger are pretty tightly bred so they may produce more defects , just like Boxers and Silver Martin Rabbits. I would like to try this but predation is too rampant here and chicks need tractors and brooder houses to protect them , but would the paddock shift give them that ? Wonder what I would call them ? Permie Pokadottes or Kentucky Krackers ?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I think Paul has some particular ideas about coming up with a 'permie' breed of chicken. Wonder if he will chime in and talk about what and how? I am interested myself.
 
Austin Max
Posts: 98
Location: South Central Kentucky
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Harvey Ussery has also written about this in his book, "the small scale poultry flock" and on his website, HERE ,

wayne KY krackers sounds like a good title to me
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Longevity and extending egg production is incredibly tricky in ethical pasture free-range methods because there is little control in the measure of characteristics unless you are tending to small flocks. Further complicating things is the population requirement to prevent extensive inbreeding. I have heard for small farms a generalized population rule of 200 for maintaining genetic diversity. Obviously there has to be a sizable male population or inbreeding will result as fathers will breed with daughters. The weakening of genetic strength and diversity is explained in the founder effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect

Mathematically speaking, the odds are against agriculture in favor for hunter/gatherer or true ecological systems for rigorous genetics because populations exist in the tens of thousands easily.

For large populations, currently in ethical poultry production there is a gap in innovation for selective breeding which again is due to the lack of control in measuring desired traits. For example, measuring the production of a hen is a tad tricky if she can hop in any box and lay an egg inconspicuously. Assuming there is a large enough population to prevent inbreeding, then additional personnel or instruments are required. I imagine products can be engineered for this process but the market does not demand these products so it is unlikely in the immediate future that devices tailored for this manner will be in store shelves.

Lets not forget the famously inbred white tiger Kenny.

 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I know that geographical isolation used to play a part in breed selection. The Wyandotte from Wisconsin , RIR , etc. Before those breeds were labeled and catalogued I'm sure there was alot of mixing breeds and passing around in the community , so that the changes overtime were present locally and then husbanded towards specific characteristics. Much like the way the Rhodesian Ridgeback dog came into being . First alot of throwing everyone into the batch and later isolating the desired points. Utility was key , not ornamental traits. So if you want to create a new breed for pasturing it seems that sharing of stock within the local pastured chicken community is vital. There are poultry fairs and shows everywhere . Perhaps we should be networking in that way. Sharing our strongest birds and eventually some line will be produced that can be isolated into what can be called a breed. I don't think one person isolating a line will be successful , that is why we have CornishRocks. If we sometimes feel isolated in what we do , perhaps taking advantage of that isolation in this case is an advantage. Pastured Poultry Fairs . A broad enough gentic pool with just enough isolation to concentrate desired characteristics. I am not a breeder or genticist , as you can tell by my lingo. But my study of the history of our heritage breeds shows a more community/geographical approach to breeding finshed with some fine tuning at the end.
The gusto to which a chick takes to eating grass , their savyness on the ground , camoflaging , quality of meat , feed to meat ratio , broodiness and mothering skills , fertility , acclimation to local weather patterns , all of these are things we can share at the local level.
 
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