Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Sheep' started by hoggfan, Nov 8, 2006.
Is this a good idea, ok or just bad news ???
That depends on a lot of factors. Obviously, too much inbreeding can cause problems. A little here and there though, that can be quite beneficial. Maybe give us a little more info on them, and then it'll be easier to asses.
The inbreeding debate has gone on forever. The fact is that practically every breed of every species of domestic animal is the result of inbreeding. Inbreeding limits the gene pool thereby intensifying the traits of the animals, good and bad. Rigorous culling practices have to be in place in an inbreeding program in order for it to work properly. If an animal with an undesirable trait is allowed to breed, regardless of how desirable all the other traits are, there is a very strong possibility that the undesirable trait will be even worse in the offspring, in an inbreeding program. IMO this is where inbreeding, in all species, has gotten its bad name. The problem is not the inbreeding per se, but in the improper application of the inbreeding. Inbreeding in the hands of a knowledgeable and careful breeder can actually improve the stock. In the hands of a novice it can be a disaster. Having said all that, usually breeding father to daughter is not close enough to be a problem. I would, however, evaluate the daughters carefully, and if there are any with faults or undesirable traits, I would not breed them to their sire.
We try and swap rams every year. If we can't swap, make ground ram / sausage from him. (We now have a 7 month old ram ((not of our breeding)) and a 5 year old herdshire ram. If I can't swap him ((would prefer to give the ram lamb a little longer before breeding)), he'll be going to the butcher, and the young ram will get to breed next year's lambs.)
If you have super ewes and a super ram, you might try the breeding, but to me I rather have a supper ram at that point. As tyusclan says, you not only enhance the good traits but the bad traits also.
I generally will keep a buck or ram( I breed both) for two years. If I like what he throws I will keep him for another breeding cycle. If not, off he goes. Generally breeding to daughters is safe, even good if the traits he gives are what you are looking for, but I personallyu would not line breed longer than that ie: not to grand-daughters. Mike
It also depends on what youre breeding them for. If they will be additions to your flock youll eventually need another ram. If they are all being sold as meat it wont make a lot of difference. As has been stated, inbreeding can be good or bad depending on what you have to work with, and how you cull. You could also seperate your ewes into different breeding groups. and use different rams for reach group. I guess it depends a lot on how many you intend to have at any one time
A lot will depend on what your goal is. If you're raising meat, I don't see any problem with it. If you're planning on replacing the sire with the next generation, again, no problem. But if you plan on keeping his daughter's daughters, then you'd best be looking for a new ram that year.
This is always a tricky one and much depends on what your longer term plan is. I have done it and kept some of the progeny as replacement ewes but those replacements DO NOT go back to their father i.e. the inbreeding only occurs once. The bulk of my lambs go as meat so I don't consider it a big issue.
I have also done it with cattle with varying results. I am presently milking a cow and her father was her half-brother. She is small-uddered but from it comes 20 litres a day (around 4 gallons). She is a first calver and I would expect that will improve on her next calving. Another is a very small Jersey whose father was her full brother. Her top production is about 3 gallons a day which is probably ok for her size but her size would be the result of the inbreeding. Not a good move to keep her but I had my reasons. Her calves are dreadful things no matter what bull she goes to - small and slow growing BUT they are always in good condition and don't have worming or health issues that some better sired and better growing calves do so there are plus and minuses.
In the overall scheme of things, it isn't something I would recommend but it can be done so long as the inbreeding doesn't go beyond the first generation.
This is a problem all small farms face at one time or another. You buy yourself a flock of sheep.. two ewes and a ram. First year you're fine.. but what about year two? So year two you breed Dad to Daughters.. year three you've got a real problem. So year three you go get another ram.
This gets expensive if you're in certain breeds.
What we're doing is running two seperate bloodlines and crossing them over. This buys us an extra two years on a ram before we start getting "too tight" and infinity if we find a perfect combination of unrelated ram to unrelated ewe.. which fortunately we did last year. Our foundation ram and two of our ewes pop out Perfect lamblets.
Of course, I may be biased in this opinion...
But "two pens two lines" buys you a lot more time in a small flock.
Would it be possible for sheep breeders to share rams? Like to do trades after a couple of years for a nice proven ram, or even babies? Also, how hard is it to AI sheep? I know that with AI it could become easy to use one ram that is good and more easily available and let others go by - it can cause a genetic bottleneck in a breed, so you want to be careful.
I'm no expert in sheep and sheep practices, but with dog breeding (where you don't just eat your culls) we were pretty careful about father/daughter breedings - you wouldn't do that unless you were sure the father and the daughter were exceptionally healthy, vigorous and of high quality. However, I can see that if your baby sheep aren't the quality you want, there is always the freezer - after all, if I get sheep the freezer is one thing I want to fill with them!
For those of you that are experienced - does breeding a ram to his daughters diminish fertility and vigor in the offspring?
Seeing what inbreeding had done to the BWM sheep,,, personally I would not do it.
Now if you are just breeding for meat and never to sell.... it could be fine.
Sheep don't take inbreeding as well as say...horses. You have to be willing to cull heavily. Which is not something I saw a lot of.
Carol, that's certainly a possibility...the sharing of a ram or two. I'd thought about doing that here with a couple other icelandic breeders; every one could have a ram, then every year or two the ram would rotate and you'd get a new bloodline introduced. Of course, everyone would have to be on the same page as far as what they found desirable. For those on the volunteer scrapie program, it's good to know that the ram doesn't lower your farm standing.
A friend who raises California Red sheep and lives a couple hours away from me and I keep a total of 3 rams from largely unrelated bloodlines. It keeps the inbreeding down to a manageable level while still allowing us to concentrate the good genetic traits in our combined herds.
We used to line breed and sometimes inbreed with Satin Show Rabbits, but to be successful you have to ruthlessly cull and to ruthlessly cull you have to be really well trained in recognizing the expression of the best traits. An inexperienced breeder usually will err on the side of keeping an animal - just in case. An inbreed can concentrate the outstanding genes from two animals and make for SOME truely outstanding offspring, and it can also concentrate the bad genes and make for some horrendous offspring. Culling is the key. Of course this is easier said when referring to rabbits as the gestation period is quite short. Its easier for rabbits than sheep (5 months gestation) and surely easier than cattle (9 months gestation). The temptation to sell offspring from a truly great male and a truely great female is usually too tempting for people to RUTHLESSLY CULL. Greed takes over all too quickly. For instance think about how many ALPACA offspring have been "culled" when the prices of the offspring are absurdly high. Would you butcher one for meat (or whatever one does with Alpacas) or neuter one when you might be able to sell it for $10-20K - I doubt it.