Inbreeding, linebreeding - how far can you safely go? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 09/30/06, 09:20 PM
 
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Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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Inbreeding, linebreeding - how far can you safely go?

My three does are all related to each other. The senior ones are sisters and the junior one, now raising her first litter, is the daughter of one of them. The senior buck I have been using with the two seniors is unrelated to them, but is the sire of the junior doe and also of the junior buck. The juniors are sister and brother, but from different litters.

The junior buck was so promising that I bred him back to his dam and the resulting litter, born in late July, was excellent. It included the two Angora-furred babies who are worth saving because of their fur and also because they are growing much more quickly than any of their lettermates. This encouraged me to try him with his sister and the litter, one week old, looks good so far.

With such a small rabbitry I really do not need two bucks. I'd like to cull the original buck. He is on the small side and although he is chunky he is just not as good as his son. In fact the only thing gives him an edge is that he is unrelated to the two original does.

My rabbits are all mutts. Very few of the youngsters are kept; most are slaughtered for meat as soon as they are ready. But I wonder how long I can safely continue inbreeding before I am likely to run into problems.

I guess I am looking for feedback from those of you who have been in the "rabbit habit" for long enough to have a better overall view than I can hope to have with only fifteen months of experience.

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  #2  
Old 09/30/06, 10:04 PM
Honorine's Avatar
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Well I'd heard that there was this study done where full rabbit siblings were inbred for 18 generations before problems started to surface, rabbits seem to be able to handle inbreeding better than other species, or so I've been told. I've bred fairly tight without problems, half siblings, then sire back to daughter, then half siblings again. I do not like to breed full sibling to full sibling, prefer sire to daughter, dam to son, or half siblings. Since these are mixed rabbits and your raising them for meat long term problems aren't a concern, just infant mortality and poor growers would be an issue. One comment I would make is that even if you don't keep the older buck you should have two, stuff happens, and then your without and have perhaps lost some of the lines that your trying to work on. Or perhaps you should get an outside buck, and then you could use it to enlarge your gene pool.

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  #3  
Old 09/30/06, 10:47 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Central Texas
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According to Dr. Steven Lukefahr, renown rabbit geneticist,
inbreeding/linebreeding relationships should be kept under 25% to
maintain good production. Exhibitors tend to go much higher.
I, personally, might use a slightly more inbred
buck than I would a doe in my rabbitry. I try to keep the
inbreeding coefficient in my does less than 15% when computed
for 5 generations as I am interested in maintaining excellent
production.

Of course, somewhere.....an exceptional performing, highly
inbred rabbit will surely prove me wrong!

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http://www.texasrabbitconnection.com

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  #4  
Old 10/01/06, 12:29 AM
KSALguy's Avatar
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the great thing with linebreeding and inbreeding is your culls can go in the freezer, there is NOTHING wrong with inbreeding, its a great tool to flush out hidden genetic material to see what your working with and cull accordingly, if you find that you have great genetic material you can inbreed responcibly for MANY MANY generations, if you find you have not so great genetics in your herd and wind up with more culls than anything remotly like a keeper then you need to eather scratch that line compleatly or try and bring in better blood to mix in,

i would keep the young buck and breed him to your does and then keep saveing the best when you need more breeders, put the rest in the freezer,
sence you have mix breeds you have LOTS of hidden genetics in there some place that can show up sometime someplace when you inbreed and linebreed, just remimber to CULL CULL CULL, and only KEEP the BEST and you will be fine

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  #5  
Old 10/01/06, 10:35 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. I think I will go ahead and cull the senior buck. If something happens to my junior buck the chances are that one of the Angora-furred youngsters is a male. Or I would bring in a buck from outside, sooner rather than later.

KSALguy, your advice sits well with me... In fact, it was exactly what I was hoping to hear! I admit after having the two Angora-furred kits pop up in one of the litters that I am very curious as to what other surprises might be hidden in the genetics of these rabbits. There is no temptation to save any but the outstanding kits since space is always at a premium and our main goal is to provide a supply of good, hormone-and-drug-free meat for our own use. Even when I grow out kits that look promising when young, we use them as roasters unless they shape up very well indeed.

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Old 10/01/06, 03:42 PM
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i am curious as to what your rabbits look like lol, all this talk of the fuzzys and such, can you post pics of what you have? lol sorry i am a curious individual lol

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  #7  
Old 10/01/06, 04:35 PM
 
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I would also love to see some of them. I keep mostly mixed breeds and have had some nice surprises with colors and sizes. I've never had any fuzzies. I'm jealous!
Dian

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  #8  
Old 10/01/06, 06:56 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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KSALguy, never apologize for honest curiosity. I HAVE been talking rather a lot about my beautiful mutts lately!

I'm a bit of a technopeasant, so I will have to enlist my son's help with pictures. But yes, I'd like to post some pictures soon. I should be taking some as reference photos anyway.

The fuzzies or woolies were a complete surprise to me. I've had several litters from this doe with no sign of Angora fur. Apparently gene for Angora is recessive. She must have had it but not exhibited it and also passed it on to her son. When I bred them, two of the kits must have ended up with the double recessive.

Dian, what are your mixed breeds like and what kinds of neat surprises have you had? I'd be very interested in hearing more about your experiences.

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  #9  
Old 10/03/06, 07:36 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Lafayette, TN
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Hi MaggieJ,
I'll tell you about 2 or my surprises from this year. I bought a rabbit at the flea market last fall because I liked her color. The man said she was harlequin, but I don't know if they come in her color. She was 3 colors of grey-dark charcoal, medium grey and steel grey. I bred her to my blue grey lop buck, because he was about the same size and I thought with his color I might get kits the same color as her. The first litter were beautiful, but they were all solid colored all shades of blue and grey. The next litter they had included 3 harlequin colored does (red and grey) and 1 solid red buck. I kept the 2 prettiest does and sold the rest. The babies turned out to have the lop ears, so I have harlequin colored lops.
The next surprise came with a doe that someone wanted to swap for an adult buck.I didn't like her color (brown almost like a wild rabbit), but I liked her size and shape. She is big and when she sits with her feet under her she looks round like a big fuzzy brown ball. So I got her and bred her to my NZW buck. She had 9 beautiful babies. All were 2 or 3 colors-some spotted, some splotched, and some with the dutch color pattern. All shades of black, brown, and white. I kept the doe that I thought was prettiest and sold some of the others while they were small. The ones I kept reached butchering size about 2 weeks before the other 2 litters born the same day. So that was an added surprise. She has pretty babies and they grow fast-she is definately a keeper and I hope her daughter turns out just as good.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, I also love to hear how others are doing.
Dian

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  #10  
Old 10/03/06, 08:02 AM
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My most fun nest box surprises come out my mutt breedings. I enjoy the harlequin gened rabbits as well. Dian, your dark harlequin is a Black Magpie harli. That's caused by the chinchilla factor taking the red colouring out. I have some from someone on this board (Hi, Hannah!) and love that look better.

My current mutts are grandaughters of an English Spotted type and a white Angora, and this last nest box had two Angoras show up, as well as two either Sallendars or Ermines. haven't figured them out yet! Anyway, they are dark eyed whites.

Jennifer

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  #11  
Old 10/03/06, 12:57 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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Wow, Jennifer, sounds like you got a nest box full of surprises this last time! Isn't it great? Sometime soon we should have a thread devoted to pictures of all our mutts. It could be really fun.

Dian, I really like some of the markings and colours one gets with Harlies. Now there's something that has NOT popped up in my nest boxes. My turn to turn a little green with envy! Do you have pictures?

(Some of Harlequins remind me of my cat's markings... Marilla is a dilute calico: grey, buff and white but with traces of tabby markings in the grey and the colours running into each other, which is not classic calico. Another beautiful mutt! )

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  #12  
Old 10/03/06, 10:43 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Missouri
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I wish I was closer to you. I have a pair of woolies too. The family visited a rabbitry when we first got into raising and they had 2, so each kid got one. They were both does. I found a buck a couple of years later and I snatched him right up because I couldn't get the fuzzy hair when I bred the does to my regular haired bucks. So now I have the pair but I'll be in the same boat when my original buck gets to old and any junior I hold back will be a brother. I've only gotten the wooly hair when I've bred the pair. I get regular hair when I bred the buck with a regular haired doe and then the same with the regular haired buck with wolly doe.

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  #13  
Old 10/04/06, 06:34 AM
 
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I believe that linebreeding can be a good thing.. if you have quality stock to begin with. Breeding dam back to son or daughter to sire is pretty common. Even more common are grandparents to grandbabies... cousins, etc are very common.

I know of a breeder who will (in rare cases) breed siblings.. but they are of excellent type, wool, temperment. Just remember to cull heavily and keep only the best.

You have to know your herd. Know what they produce and what their weaknesses are. To find out genetic weaknesses, breeding siblings can be an option since you will double up on the genetics. I once bred siblings (don't flame me.. I really didn't know any better and they were the only ones I had at the time) and found that my "french angoras" had english in the background with all the woolie faces, etc... they were very cute but.. they also had health problems that popped out. Needless to say, the pairing was not duplicated, but I learned a lot... the offspring were culled and the pair was given to a family who wanted pets. On the other hand, if I'd simply wanted "woolers" (to spin their wool and not show), they would have been great.. my goals changed though so they didn't work out for me.

A long time breeder told me that almost any healthy rabbit is useful in SOME breeding program.. maybe not yours but someone's.. however, since rabbits breed like.. well, rabbits! LOL!!.. I find it easier to cull heavily and keep the best. Out of the 40 or so babies born here, I have sold 2, and kept maybe 8. The rest were killed off to keep them out of the gene pool.

Terri

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  #14  
Old 10/04/06, 09:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ltl Ole Me
I wish I was closer to you. I have a pair of woolies too. The family visited a rabbitry when we first got into raising and they had 2, so each kid got one. They were both does. I found a buck a couple of years later and I snatched him right up because I couldn't get the fuzzy hair when I bred the does to my regular haired bucks. So now I have the pair but I'll be in the same boat when my original buck gets to old and any junior I hold back will be a brother. I've only gotten the wooly hair when I've bred the pair. I get regular hair when I bred the buck with a regular haired doe and then the same with the regular haired buck with wolly doe.
Ltl Ole Me - The way I understand it, the Angora fur is a recessive trait. When you breed and Angora to a regular-furred rabbit, all the first generation will have short hair. Since they receive a gene from both parents, however, they should be carrying the Angora gene even though it doesn't show. They can pass this on to their offspring. If one breeds a rabbit carrying the recessive gene to one of your woolies or to another rabbit who is also carrying that gene, SOME of the offspring may be woolies too. It's kind of like blue eyes/brown eyes in people.
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  #15  
Old 10/04/06, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerriA
I believe that linebreeding can be a good thing.. if you have quality stock to begin with. Breeding dam back to son or daughter to sire is pretty common. Even more common are grandparents to grandbabies... cousins, etc are very common.

I know of a breeder who will (in rare cases) breed siblings.. but they are of excellent type, wool, temperment. Just remember to cull heavily and keep only the best.

You have to know your herd. Know what they produce and what their weaknesses are. To find out genetic weaknesses, breeding siblings can be an option since you will double up on the genetics. I once bred siblings (don't flame me.. I really didn't know any better and they were the only ones I had at the time) and found that my "french angoras" had english in the background with all the woolie faces, etc... they were very cute but.. they also had health problems that popped out. Needless to say, the pairing was not duplicated, but I learned a lot... the offspring were culled and the pair was given to a family who wanted pets. On the other hand, if I'd simply wanted "woolers" (to spin their wool and not show), they would have been great.. my goals changed though so they didn't work out for me.

A long time breeder told me that almost any healthy rabbit is useful in SOME breeding program.. maybe not yours but someone's.. however, since rabbits breed like.. well, rabbits! LOL!!.. I find it easier to cull heavily and keep the best. Out of the 40 or so babies born here, I have sold 2, and kept maybe 8. The rest were killed off to keep them out of the gene pool.

Terri
I always cull heavily. I have to, since I am only set up for a small backyard rabbitry. And since our primary goal is meat for the table, this fits well. Three working does and a buck keep us well supplied with meat and so far we have saved only four out of over seventy young rabbits. Oh, yes, and like you I sold two others to someone who was just starting out. Sometimes I grow a couple out to see how they shape, but more times than not they become roasters. So far, this seems to be working well and I feel we have come a long way with them in the fifteen months we have had them.
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  #16  
Old 10/04/06, 04:34 PM
KSALguy's Avatar
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breeding siblings is not bad, you just have to cull responcibly, that is the key, you can get some really good and some really bad, cull the bad and keep the good,

if you have weak genetics you will find them faster with close inbreeding, if you have strong genetics you will make them stronger,

breed responcibly and dont be afraid of inbreeding, just put the culls in the freezer and continue the best way you can

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  #17  
Old 10/04/06, 08:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSALguy
breeding siblings is not bad, you just have to cull responcibly, that is the key, you can get some really good and some really bad, cull the bad and keep the good,

if you have weak genetics you will find them faster with close inbreeding, if you have strong genetics you will make them stronger,

breed responcibly and dont be afraid of inbreeding, just put the culls in the freezer and continue the best way you can
Makes sense to me! Thanks, KSALguy.
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  #18  
Old 10/05/06, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSALguy
breeding siblings is not bad, you just have to cull responcibly, that is the key, you can get some really good and some really bad, cull the bad and keep the good,

if you have weak genetics you will find them faster with close inbreeding, if you have strong genetics you will make them stronger,

breed responcibly and dont be afraid of inbreeding, just put the culls in the freezer and continue the best way you can
That's really good advice, KSALguy. So many people flip out when you talk about inbreeding. Glad to see some common sense applied to it.

Jennifer
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  #19  
Old 10/05/06, 03:25 PM
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it bugs me too when i see people apply the same social stigmas found in the human race onto their animals,
i always say Inbreeding is not the devel, its just a good way to find him and get it and cull it.

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