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Variety Questions

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QJust wanted to write and say that it is about time that someone started to address hybrid mechanisms and hybrids in general.  As you say in your intro, there is very little information available anywhere on the "how to" or methods or ways to clearly identify "cast-offs".

I looked over your approach to strain or variety selection ( I prefer strain) and felt that it was fairly accurate, however, I thought I might throw out another one or discussion purposes.  Have you ever thought of utilizing full-sib families ?  The most common hybridizing or selection practice is to pair the best hen to the best cock and breed them., but I think that there are a number of better ways.

In my experience it is more interesting and productive to sort males and females, within full sib families, by birth order.  I don't perform excessive selection, as this can impact your inbreeding score, but those birds that simply don't measure up are still culled early.  Having sorted males and females by birth order, I then pair up the birds based on that order 1 to 1, 2 to 2 etc...  In this fashion there will be full-sib matings as well as matings that are further apart.  I have found this to generate rapid change, while maintaining an acceptable level of heterozygosity.  Has anyone else tried this and what were their observations?

I would also like to say that in my experience the use of a colony or aviary setting is very helpful if you are seeking a change or sport in your birds.  The overall belief is that if you put birds in a colony situation the young cannot be 100% certified as belonging to a particular "pair" or "cock".  While this may be accurate in the color mutation world, the hybridizing or mutation aspect is quite different.  If a heterozygous flock is introduced into a colony and left to pair & reproduce, without  breeder control, the offspring, over time, will become more and more inbred: This is not to say that the breeder does not cull the offspring, for most assuredly he must.  There is no way to really prevent an increase in inbreeding in smaller flocks, although this may plateau as you progress through more and more generations and "family members get further and further away.
Culling will inevitably result in an overall positive impact on ones stock (dependent on cull objective) production and lead to a shift towards a particular form, regardless of color.   In contrast, the breeder who carefully selects his birds and then puts those same birds back to another "heterozygous" bird with no historic genetic link, is bound to produce mediocre birds unless the genetics combine to generate a bird of quite different form.

A1       I have heard of a number of ways of increasing or decreasing inbreeding ratios, but certainly the circle approach, which you seem to be referring to is recognized as a method for controlling the rate of inbreeding.  My impression of this system is that it is premised entirely on replacing birds in each preceding generation, with their offspring.  I also am under the impression, perhaps mistakenly ? that you need an even number of offspring from each pair in order for this to be successful (something my birds seem never to want to do!!) .  You do raise an interesting point about mechanisms for approaching inbreeding control though. These might run from single male bred to multiple hen, as is sometimes practiced in the Budgerigar fancy, through to a step approach and full-sib, cousin-circles, complete with associated mechanisms for determining future breeders.
            I am not that familiar with the full-sib pairing that you identify, although it sounds like an intriguing way to increase inbreeding, while maintaining heterozygosity ( also slowing the potential loss of genes and expression of crossovers that would likely be missed or disappear with aggressive culling)  If you would like to write and article about this process, I would very much enjoy putting it in an article section,

Q1 Hello, I had a look at your variety page and found it interesting that you did not provide more information about the selection process, especially where one might be looking at color improvements.  I do not get any sense from your document that color selection is any more difficult than selecting the best birds for color and matching them up and hoping for the best.  It is my understanding that color is very difficult to manage, because of the need to spread the color, and the likelihood that the bird will not show the color you want, added to this is the potential for the color to not necessarily exist in the area that you would like to spread the color to.  If we look at the Orange-Headed Fischer strain that was developed at Agapornis Acres, I cannot see how that color can be spread over an area without the presence of that color in the desired  area first-off, and then the need for gradual blending of birds and their color appearance to develop a full orange headed fischer.  It cannot be as simple as you are making out, otherwise everyone would be "playing " with their bird colors.

Ai  I am sorry, I did not mean to leave people with the impression that any hybridizing effort is easy.  It is not.  As far as selection goes, it is the skill of the hybridizer that will determine the success of his or her venture.  In many cases (most I would say) there is a significant element of luck involved.  Certainly we have seen mutations in the lovebird series where the entire top and backskull changes color to match that of the forehead and mask.  A perfect example of this is in the Opaline or rose-headed lovebird.  Interestingly enough, this bird also changes the normal rump color to that of green rather than blue.  these mutations do pop up occasionally, and if memory serves me correctly, the australian yellow in one of its form (orange-faced ?)  is almost entirely yellow, including the rump.  The australian recessive pied or black eyed-clear can exhibit a moss green or yellow rump, while the lutino has a white rump.  These are all mutational aspects that become more popular as the bird is bred and selected for those traits that it displays.  This process is not much different than that of the color selector when attempting to create or generate a color in a heretofore unheard of place.  Orange heads, green wings, white wings, all of these forms of selection are based on improving something that has popped up in ones aviaries.  It is rare for someone to just go out and decide to accomplish a certain goal with few if any birds to begin the effort on.  One must have something with which to start and to improve.

I cannot talk to the orange-headed fischer, but I would expect that a diligent breeder identified a bird with slightly or significantly enhanced orange on the head, identified the parental birds and began a very focussed program to optimize color spread and distribution among offspring nd parents of the initial "sport".  however this is merely speculation.  If anyone has specific information, perhaps they can address the question and appearance of the orange-headed fischer stain or variety.

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