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Featured Discussion Post From: http://www.roller-pigeon.com/board/board_topic/859782/70863.htm

QUESTION: These questions are hard to answer, can you help...What do the unpredictable and uncontrollable effects of development and unobserved genes explain about why siblings in closely bred families exhibit such different performance abilities?

Do they explain why there is often a difference between an individual bird's ability as a performer and its ability to preduce performers in the breeding loft? Since all that a bird passes to its progeny comes from its genome, and that's just part of what has influenced its characteristic performance, how good is judging birds in the air as a predictor of its likely success as a breeder?

If character is a quality found in better performers, are they better performers because of their character? Does genetics trump management, or can optimal management bring something out in performance all of its own? J_Star

RESPONSE: First off, I am not an expert at genetics; I only have my informal research and “study” to rely on. So here is my humble response to your questions. “What do the unpredictable and uncontrollable effects of development and unobserved genes explain about why siblings in closely bred families exhibit such different performance abilities”?

Up to now, it is my understanding that there are so many variations possible even in the same closely bred family genome that it would be impossible to have all offspring come out exactly alike, i.e. you can have one that only flys and does not roll, yet its nest mate could roll 30 feet or more! “Since all that a bird passes to its progeny comes from its genome, and that's just part of what has influenced its characteristic performance, how good is judging birds in the air as a predictor of its likely success as a breeder”?

Very good. Through observation, we select birds that demonstrate certain traits like rolling ability and breed it to like kind. Over time this breeding technique will produce a preponderance of the trait we are selecting for. It does not mean however, that we have eliminated the genes that give us the other characteristics.

So, judging birds from the air is valid and is the best indicating factor as it is the one test that allows us to know if we are selecting the right birds to continue our performance goals. Their genetic predisposition to reproduce like kind is very high. But you will never be able to select breeders that will improve the genetic pool. What is there cannot be improved upon, only consolidated. Improvement will stop at some point to that level that is maximally available.

“Do they explain why there is often a difference between an individual bird's ability as a performer and its ability to produce performers in the breeding loft”? Yes, for the reasons already given. Example: If you began selecting birds from the family that say did not roll and you kept selecting more of the same kind of offspring, over time, you would have a preponderance of rollers from that family leg that do not roll.

However, the possibility of this family leg producing a champion exists just as a leg that was selected for its extreme rolling ability would. The rolling leg of this family would produce more of them however. ”If character is a quality found in better performers, are they better performers because of their character”?

At first glance, this question is almost like asking "which came first, the chicken or the egg"? But, if I define "character" as alertness, an intelligent demeanor, a bird teeming with a certain energy and restraint, then "Yes", I believe they are a better perfomer because of their “character”.

FLY ON!

Tony Chavarria

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