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Inbreeding creates a restricted pool of genetic material when both partners in each pairing have some genetic kinship and similarity.  This combination strengthens the qualities that exist, but it can also quickly reveal many faults that could stay hidden in an out-breeding system. 

Providing, the breeder adhere strictly to proper selection methods, and does not use rollers for breeding that have major type faults or constitutional weaknesses or poor breeding records.  As a result, the breeder will succeed in developing a strain free from these negative influences.

The highest proportion of reject stock will probably be produced in the second and third seasons, providing the breeder mate his foundation cock to at least two or three hens and have reasonable breeding results.  The breeder should emerge from that period with sufficient rollers of improved quality, uniform in performance and type and devoid of many of the weakness and genetic variety, which cause instability and variation. 

The breeder can then proceed to a period with successful stud, possessing stamina, fertility, performance and type quality.  The strain will be able to produce these qualities with a true breeding consistency, which otherwise would not be possible.

Evidence of all hidden weaknesses in the genetic line will come to notice in the course of the season.  The breeder should be vigilant and observe these, taking notes and ensure that he does not breed from those rollers displaying these weaknesses. 

Keep in mind that nestlings slow in maturing or take more time to feather up than their nest mates are not suitable for use as breeders.  The breeder must take note of how each nest of chicks develops because such rollers could catch up late in a year and look no different from the rest of the stock. In some nests, it is not unusual for late-hatched chicks to be a bit behind those hatched earlier.  The early-hatched ones grow rapidly and are able to claim a major share of the food. 

However, some chicks within a nest will receive as much feeding as the others but their growth and feathering will be much slower and their feather quality may also be thin or harsh. Parent rollers producing nests of chicks that die within a week or so, despite attentive care, should be looked on with suspicion.  If both adults are of excellent performance and type, the breeder could pair them to other partners and take special note of the results. 

It is possible that only one of the rollers is at fault.  But if the chick mortality continue and cannot be traced to some other cause or upset, then the breeder must not include these rollers in his future breeding team.  Likewise, pairs of rollers that produce a large number of infertile eggs, dead in shell or small clutches. 

Again, if the rollers quality warrants it, they should be re-mated to other partners in an effort to identify the roller responsible.  If there is no further improvement and cannot identify any other cause for the losses, then the breeder must not include them in his future breeding team.

Sometimes, no matter how careful the breeder is in his original selection of foundation stock, there proves to be too many hidden weakness in these rollers, which lead to widespread deterioration in the strain resulting in loss of stamina, poor fertility, and chick mortality causing the breeder to abandon the inbreeding program. 

There is no need for the breeder to feel downhearted if he was adhering to proper selection methods.  It is just one of those unavoidable setbacks that can occur from time to time.  The foundation rollers may look healthy and fit at the time of purchase, but they can have constitutional faults that do not come to light until they are a few years old. 

Weaknesses of muscle or vital organs and others in recessive form maybe carried for years before becoming apparent and possibly could not come to light in an out-breeding system.  But in a close inbreeding system with the same genetic combination on both sides of the strain are brought out.

The success of the whole thing hangs upon the repeated word selection, which is, indeed, a demanding discipline requiring the keeping of detailed records and the scrutiny of every roller and the consulting of its ancestry. It is hard to resist that strong tendency, which we all have from time to time, to accept a visual appraisal rather than referring to the records or if negative ancestry is found, to be swayed by the excellence of presence.  We are all easily seduced by good looks.

In conclusion, rollers which the breeder use for breeding must not only be of the type and performance, but they must also be capable of breeding young similar or improved quality.  However, over a number of years it is not unusual to find that fertility may fall a little. 

This is often largely as a result of giving promising rollers the benefit of doubt, rather than excluding them from the breeding team.  If the breeder is vigilant to select young from the most fertile lines, he will not lose fertility.  If he always put fertility and vigor at the top of his list, he can attain an inbred strain that is free breeding and fertile. 

However, success for most of us does not come easily.  If the breeder id forced to abandon his plan, he must go over the previous results and try to learn where things went wrong and should not be hesitant about starting again using what he has learned from previous experience to improve his new plans. 

For every breeder, the next season always holds the promise of being the best.  So long as this eternal optimism remains typical, success is sure to come.

Jay Alnimer

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