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How to start selecting a breed

 

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WELCOME TO A NEW #ASKTHEEXPERT COLUMN WITH MAURIZIO ARDUIN – RÈGIA EXPERIMENTAL STATION OF POULTRY FARMING!

 

How do I start selecting a breed? Where should I start when trying to fix a certain character in my hens?

 

All the characteristics (weight and quantity of eggs, shape of the crest, growth, final weight, plumage, external conformation, etc.) that can be measured can also be selected.

To start selecting a particular character, however, you need to have a certain number of breeding hens: at least 300.

Considering that this quantity of hens is often unreachable by those who follow us, it is also possible to follow other selection methods which can however lead to excessive inbreeding of your animals with serious consequences.

In your small farm, the practice of reproduction, not correctly managed, can lead to a decrease in genetic variability and an increase in the inbreeding of individuals.

It is known that consanguineous individuals, i.e. born to relatives parents, are characterized by a decrease in productive and reproductive performance, rusticity, resistance to disease and longevity due to the homozygosity of many genes and the consequent manifestation of rare genes and / or unwanted (recessive) phenotypically through the appearance of hereditary diseases.

It is therefore extremely important to monitor mating plans in order to contain the average parentage of the population and the consequent appearance of consanguineous individuals.

In any case, if the character you have identified, within a brood, manifests itself in both males and females, the reproductive technique to enhance it consists in mating siblings with each other.

On the other hand, if the identified character occurs only on subjects of a certain sex (male or female) of the brood, the reproductive technique to enhance it consists in coupling parents and offspring.

 

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