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The Probability of Common Ancestors...
Author: Bob RowlandTitle: The Probability of Common Ancestors
Date: 2004-09-26 13:36:45Uploaded by: webmaster
What are the probability odds of all pigeons, regardless of strain, having common ancestors? I would think almost 100%.

To explore and properly answer this question requires an accurate pedigree and for the pedigree to be as accurate as possible requires that we are capable of gathering this information for many generations. Most pedigrees have just a few generations and the information on that abbreviated pedigree can appear that there were never any common ancestors but the more generations we have information on, we may find out that these pigeons actually began as part of another strain and that there are many common ancestors. So with this information in hand, what is the value of a strain name?

How many spaces would it require on a pedigree to show a complete 16 generation pedigree? Think exceedingly big and you will still not be anywhere close unless you do the math. The first generation back is the pigeons parents and then they both have parents so the second generation consists of 4 pigeons and when you add the first and second generation together, this requires 6 spaces on the pedigree.

If you haven't already done the equation, a 16 generation pedigree requires 131,070 spaces for the proper information of the pigeons. Taking this a little further, a 17 generation pedigree would have 262,142 spaces required to fill in all the data. Jumping all, the way to a 25 generation pedigree would require 67,108, 862 spaces (sixty seven million, one hundred and eight thousand, eight hundred sixty two spaces) so with this many spaces required to have complete information on a pedigree, how can the pigeons not have many common ancestors??

These numbers are accurate and the real problem to this is to try and find a piece of paper big enough to put all this information on and even if you could find a large enough document you would require the rest of your life to put this information in the proper places and perhaps still not have enough time to complete it.

So having this many ancestors and also having the possibilities of certain traits being carried forward, how do we create our best pigeons for the future? The common practice most people do is to attempt to have a foundation quality pigeon and then inbreed or line breed to that pigeon in an attempt to carry the blood forward to the next generations. However, if there are any faults, the next generations will be less than expected.

Our weakness in creating better pigeons is that we have not been careful enough in eliminating any pigeons that have faults or lack of ability to do what we expect from them in the future generations. We should also add diversity to our blood with the common factor being the performance we are after. It is difficult to get vitality when you reduce the gene pool to just a very few pigeons as they also have some faults and we exaggerate those faults when we inbreed. Imagine if every pigeon on the pedigree was one of exceptional quality! When looking for a potato, go to the field where they grow potatoes rather than going to the jungle where they grow bananas. It is easier to reach down and pick up a potato when you are in that potato field, even if you are blind.

Now another question! If inbreeding does partially create the key pigeon in the next generation, then wouldn't cloning seem like the best solution to duplicate the key pigeon? If cloning was done, then how do we create a better pigeon than the key one?

If our key pigeon is absolutely the best pigeon in the world, then there would never be a suitable mate to put with this key pigeon as all other pigeons would be lacking something genetically to be as great as the "World's Best". So how do we build a family of pigeons that are better than what we had in the past?

The answer to the above question is in the process of elimination! Any pigeon that does not carry enough quality and performance in their genes to be passed on to the next generations must be eliminated from our breeding program regardless of what pigeons they are bred from. If we allow the lesser quality pigeons to continue to contribute to the future gene pool of our pigeons, the quality will spiral downward quickly. We must also bring in a few pigeons that have what we want to add to our family, but regardless of what we may pay for this new addition, it must deliver the desired results or we are still in the declining mode.

We commonly hear the expression that the apple does not fall far from the tree but realize that all the apples on that tree are not going to be of best quality. Some may be wormy while others had too many trying to feed from the same branch and so forth. So if all the good ones come from the good ones, does this mean that all the young from the good one will be good? I say almost impossible! Some of those will carry some of the less desirable genes of their ancestors that never should have had their blood carry forward to the next generations. If we use those lesser quality pigeons for our future breeding program, again I repeat, the quality will decline.

Imagine now if we all became more rigid as to what we would keep and use as part of our breeding program and all of those pigeons and their children would give us the desired results. As time goes on, the possibility of breeding a larger quantity of very good pigeons will become more commonplace. The common denominator must be that the quality must always be special and not just because we like the way they appear or because we paid a large sum for a pigeon to improve ours but it doesn't.

In conclusion, all the spaces on your pedigree MUST BE FILLED with proven performance results and if a pigeon is bred for stock, it's children must do what is expected or they will reduce your future quality. When we find a pigeon that has not given us the quality we are demanding, then we must also eliminate all the youngsters from that line or their bad genes will continue to show up in future generations. Have the courage to remove the pigeons that are not up to your expected quality level and the battle becomes easier in future generations.

Bob Rowland

Coo time for a brew!...Where next?
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