Inbreeding Rhode Island Reds
On this web Site you have four articles that will tie into this article. One is Rotational Line Breeding, How I breed my Columbian Plymouth Rocks, The Secrets in the Dam and the article on How I breed my Barred Plymouth Rock Bantams. After reading and thinking about these two articles I have come up with an idea of breeding where you believe that the female is the most important bird in the breeding pen so why not have three breeding pens with three outstanding females for type and then color as in R I Reds. Next you have three four by four pens to put these females in with a pencil on a string tied next to the door to make sure you write down the pen number on the eggs as soon as you take it out of the nest. Next you can have on male and ,mate him to each of the three females by rotating him to each pen every day and then on the fourth day you put him in his own four by four pen for a rest and then the next day place him in pen one and continue the rotation till the fourth day. You could also, each night take the male out of the pen that he was in and put him in his rest pen so he will eat and drink without being around the female so you know he is getting proper nutrient ion each and every day. The birds are placed in a breeding house on or about Janurary 25th and then you make sure they start getting fifteen hours of light by the use of a timer hooked up to your over head lights. Your females should start laying and have eggs firtile on or about February 9th and should start hatching on or about March lst. you contiue to place eggs in the incubaotor untill about March 25th as you want to stop hatching in the area of April 15th then you and break up the matings for the year. If you have three good females’ hens or pullets you should be able to hatch about sixty chicks from the three females giving you a good assortment from the mating that you put together for that year. You have all your birds banded and keep them around for a year as if you find a pen which puts out outstanding R I Reds you could then repeat the mating the following year and even for as long as the birds live or are producing offspring.
Next you raise the little chicks up having put red bands on pen one chicks, white bands on pen two chicks and blue bands on pen three chicks. You raise these females up till around December of that year and then select the very best female from each pen and place her back into the four by four pens like you did her mother. These birds must be free of major defects, have excellent feather quality, good surface color and most of all Free from Lacing or Striping in their neck feathers. You want the female’s neck feathers to have ticking or no ticking at all if you ever want to get control of your color breeding years down the road. Next, the must be of correct size weighing as close to standard weight for a pullet as you can get them. If they are a little above standard weight you will have to put breeding pressure on this fault as time goes on. One of the reasons for breeding these birds and hatching them in March and April in the first place. I hope to have a article in the future on how to score your R I Reds, and you want these pullets to score as close to 94 or 95 points as possible but no worse than 92 points as you are trying to build a gene pool of correct type R I Red bantams and you cannot do this with females that have New Hampshire- Wyandotte top lines or poor color which will bring their total scores down below 90 points.
Next, now that you have the three cream of the crop females in their breeding pens you must consider the male for this year’s mating. If you have used a superior male the year before, you could use him again and again for up to three years. If say you have done this using this male for three years in a row you could then take the very best cockerel from each of the matting’s and then put the best pen one ckl with the red band in pen two, the very best pen two ckl with the white band in pen three and then put the pen three cockerel with the blue band in pen one. Hatch again all the chicks that you can repeat the process for three more years using the same males and then on the fourth year of these males choose the best cockerels again and repeat the process again for three more years. If for some reason you fell you need some new blood, you could introduce a male from a mating that you may have been using as a old male and hen mating as mentioned earlier or you may have a female that you mated and produced a outstanding amount of chicks where you mated the best males hers sons back to the old hen for three or four years and one of here best males could be used for new blood to give you new vigor and vitality. But, stay within your strain to go with new birds as if you go out to a new strain of someone else’s birds you will just stur up the gene poll and take three to four years to skim off the unwanted defects in your birds setting you back for all the breeding pressure you worked on in the past years of in breeding.
Conclussion: Inbreeding if done correctly can be a powerful tool to fix good traits into your R I Red line, but if you just use one bird with a fault it can come back to haunt you in years of future matting’s and you cannot get this fault out of your line. Anyone who should try to start this program with the common Red Rock- New Hampshire top lines will only breed the same as once this fault is put into your line you might as well go out and start over with some other line that has that old fashion flat top great bottom underline that is necessary to have a correct R I Red bantam type.
I hope this method will work for you. I plan to use this method over the next five years which I plan to fix the old large fowl type that I have shrunk down to a bantam using the Danny Feathers R I Red Bantam birds that he shared with me ten years ago and then this past year. Remember it took me twenty years to get the size down to a bantam, and I think it will take me five more years to fix these traits into a superior true to type R I Red Bantam line. Please let me know if you try this method of breeding and how your results turned out or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further assistance.
I yours for a better Standard of Perfection Rhode Island Red.
Rough DRAFT July 29, 2009