Let’s be practical breeders. What is practical breeding?
Practical breeding of the gamefowl concerns with practicality. It tries to make the complicated simple and the hard easy. Let’s not confuse ourselves with too many technical matters. Practical breeding does not deal with in-depth genetics. Rather it sets realistic desirable objectives and tries to achieve these goals as economically as possible in terms of time, money and effort.
However, it does not mean that practical breeding is totally devoid of science. If we want to be into breeding we can’t avoid getting involved with genetics because genetics is the science of breeding. Even before the principles of genetics were discovered and articulated gamefowl breeders were already involved in genetics.
Centuries ago, breeders had unknowingly benefited from then already existing but yet unknown laws of inheritance of chicken genes. They reached specific instances without being aware of scientific principles. And, these good European and American breeders had a keen sense of observation that they had noted and been able to formulate theories based on these specific results and the steps they took in reaching it. They had formed their own principles without being able to scientifically explain them. Thus, we have an English game and later the American game.
Now, what these great masters failed to tell us, science can explain. So why would we not take advantage of it? We don’t have to be geneticists. Besides, genetics alone does not make good gamefowl breeders. Let’s still be practical breeders of the gamefowl with little knowledge in genetics.
In gamefowl breeding, practical knowledge, not in-depth genetics, is most important. After all, there is no science in the study of roosters’ ability. Mastering the art of judging ability and knowing how to produce gamefowl with the right performance attributes may only be acquired by personally breeding and a few hundreds of roosters over a period of some years. I did just that for 55 years. From age 10 until my retirement at age 65.
Nonetheless, although it is not the most important, knowledge in genetics could help a lot. A good practical breeder with some knowledge in the science of breeding will enjoy a big advantage as science will complement the art.
The application of science allows the chicken industry—meat and egg in particular-- to progress much. Modern-day breeding programs, based on sound genetic principles, facilitate the emergence of better chicken meat and eggs. So why not also in gamefowl breeding?
Gamefowl breeding today is still more of a hit and miss. The hit and miss method favor the rich. They can afford a lot of misses until they finally score a hit. But, knowledge can level the playing field. The number of tries can be reduced if one has a clearer idea of the possible results. Science can make results more predictable and consistent.
So with the knowledge, you can breed the chicken you want, and, save time, money and effort by minimizing hit and miss. Be a real breeder. Understand breeding. Without understanding, breeding is not breeding. It is just “mating.”
Put it this way. If you knew how traits are inherited then you took away half of the hit and miss in mating. If you knew how traits are inherited and you also knew what traits are likely from the mother and what traits are likely from the father, then you took away 75% of the hit and miss in mating. So you become a breeder, not just a “mater.”
Those who think they are already masters don’t study. Because they are afraid to discover they were wrong all along. They are stuck with what they know, both the right and the wrong.
Those who study learn something new. They leave behind what is wrong and move ahead with what is right.