[Jacob-list] Inbreeding--linebreeding--whatever you call it
wolfpen at rabun.net
Wed Jan 1 20:03:24 EST 2003
On Sat, 28 Dec 2002 10:02:58 -0500, Mary Hansson wrote>
>Considering how hard we fight to NOT use animals with split
>eyelids, too-tight horns, or other PHENOTYPIC genetic flaws, it has
>been quite humbling to realize that the lead ram had multiple
>traits that should have had him culled prior to ever being used the
>first time by most of us today. The traits he carried
>PHENOTYPICALLY were rarely transferred to other individuals in the
>flock PHENOTYPICALLY. This tells me we do more messing up by
>selecting "registry" traits than by simply leaving the animals
A few thoughts and questions -
I would think that your lead ram was the result of a few generations of Susanna Davy's husbandry. Whatever his phenotype, we might assume some selection in his background. It would be interesting to know what his ancestors looked like and threw. Certainly there is more to any animal then what meets the eye - which I think is what you are saying.
>This goes to what I have said over and over ad nauseam. It is not so
>much that we mess up by
>selecting for "registry" traits as it is that these are superficial
>traits with pi...uh..poor/low heritability.
>Years of inbreeding here and only using rams with good horns has not
>changed the ratio of screwy
>horned animals. Since the amount of selection for each generation is
>limited, IF we insist on selecting
>for perfect horns and perfect fleeces we will have much less
>selection available for resistance to
>parasitosis and other factors. That does not mean we should not
>select for pretty things, just that we
>should (duh) consider the whole animal.
Duh! I have to admit that I do not know very many Jacob breeders personally. I've "talked" to alot of you via email, some by phone and have had the pleasure (and I do mean that sincerely) of meeting some of you in person. I have not met or talked to anyone that selects for JUST horns or JUST fleece. There's alot of stating preferences on this list and I do take that as as preferences, not absolutes. I have a ewe flock which I have selected for various reasons and I like them. Each ewe has something that I find valuable. Each has something that someone else might not want. I don't coddle my sheep and I expect them to thrive in my situation. Dan, I do all I can to assure the survival of every lamb. BUT - if I have to work my butt off to save Miss Spottie's lamb every year, neither she nor her lambs have a place here. Perhaps in another situation they would do fine.
When I pick a ram, I look at the "faults" of my "perfect" ewe flock :-) I mean that as humor, by the way. I have a ewe flock that I like - not a "perfect" ewe flock. I consider my ewes the heart of my flock and choose a ram to compliment them and/or a ram that does not have the same "faults." I use the term faults to signify registry "whims" and/or my own personal preferences. (I assume/require hardiness in all my selections or purchases.) I also want to see the ram's mother. I want to know (and do ask or research) about the sire and dam of my perspective flock sire. I am in a somewhat different situation from either Mary Ellen (who thinks nothing of driving halfway across the country to find sheep <vbg> - many thanks for the ones you've dropped off at my place on your way) or Neal (who has so many to choose from within his own flock). I will keep ram lambs from my own breedings that I probably would not buy for some reason or other. I am quite willing to put my breeding errors in the freezer.
Ok, now I get to my point. I usually pay around $300 (or a bit more) for a ram that I buy sight unseen. I usually look at (via email or mailed photos) a dozen or so when making my selection. I'm not rich and $300+ requires me saving up. No matter what the heritability of poorly set horns, all other traits being equal, I'm afraid I will have to confess to going for the pretty boy. It's not so much a matter as heritability as a matter of what I like to see when I look out the window. All things being equal, which would you pick? The fused horned, coarse fleeced ram or the nicely spaced pretty fleeced boy?
These sheep are always a source of enjoyment for me, as is this list and the exchange of ideas.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
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