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Use A Pre-Potent Cock To Build A Family

Ask A Roller Question: If you had a stock pair that placed three high quality birds in your A-kit, of the ten young that they produced in a breeding season, would you:

a) Pair up the best of the offspring?
b) Keep the original pair together?
c) Pair up father/best daughter and mother/best son?

Similarly, if you had an average cock on a very good hen that produced a very high quality performer that is better than either parent, would you?

a) Keep the original pair together in hopes of producing more like the
near-champion youngster?
b) Pair up the near-champion with its opposite sex parent?
c) Pair up the near champ with its best sibling?

Unless I was just beginning, I would be disappointed that a stock pair only produced me 3 good birds out of 10. However, it really depends on whom you are asking and when. If I were still on the steep side of the mountain in terms of developing my family, and no other pair did better for me, I would keep breeding from this pair with the intention of implementing a line-breeding program with the initial objective of finding the best hen to put back to the Sire cock.

I would then put the Sire cock and best daughter together and once I have been able to fly about 10 hens from this pairing, I would pick the best hen and breed it to the Sire. I would continue this process until I had a homogenous family that most demonstrated the traits I want to see in my birds based on my understanding of the Ideal Birmingham Roller. Here is a list of the primary traits that are required for me to keep a bird with the intention of breeding from it. 5 Primary Traits:

1. Roll
2. Velocity
3. Depth
4. Control
5. Type

This is not to say that other traits are not important, such as kitting, rolling style, desire to slingshot back to the kit after performing a deep roll, working as a team, etc. These 5 traits are my benchmark (Primary Traits) that a bird needs to demonstrate in order for it to be of any use to me. I would select birds to pair that produced young birds that demonstrated the 5 PT’s and produced 60% to 70% high quality offspring also demonstrating these same traits, I would then work to maintain the level that my roller family has reached and then look for that special cock that exceeds the outstanding traits and character of the original sire and then start the process all over again!

The idea of starting all over again is that I am never really finished improving my family. More than likely my rollers will produce a more outstanding cock than the original Sire, or my views may change, or even my understanding of the Ideal expands, I begin to see new characteristics in my family that I want to see run throughout my birds. I want to continue improving my family and all that it entails. At a minimum, I do not want to go backwards, my breeding program needs to maintain the 5 Primary Traits benchmark, at best; it is a testing ground to improve on these and more traits by mixing pairs or bringing in an outcross for some desired feature I decide I want or found lacking in the original Sire.

So my response to the initial question is “B”; Keep the original pair together. Together until I had an outstanding daughter to put back on the Sire, with the hope that this father-daughter pairing would produce a better daughter thus allowing me to concentrate the good traits while eliminating the faults that may appear. As for the second question, I am of the opinion that a family should be built on a pre-potent cock. Pairing it with a high quality hen (daughter) in which to line-breed is the goal.

So if the outstanding offspring was a cock, I would pair it with its mother to produce an outstanding daughter, I would then pair this daughter with its father and continue with the process as explained in response to the first question. So my answer is I would choose b) Pair up the near-champion (son) with its opposite sex parent (mother).

Tony Chavarria