Monday, July 27, 2009

SD's & CV's- the right Breeding dicisions

At a recent Forum on Alpacanation, real discussions on the importance of SD's and CV's, and which is more important.
These are the important dicisions we need to make when making our breeding dicisions, but we must be clear on what we know of these main factors that help us make our breeding dicissions.
Anwers by Paul Valleley

yes the environment will always affect fleece.
(lengthy explanatory details omitted...)

yes, in theory you can get both desirable and undesirable cria from any pairing

yes, pairing a noticeably different quality sire and dam could give you a home run cria...........but you will get more home run cria from two quality parents.

........anyone else like my one word answer better?


Yes, Neil. I, for one, liked your one word answer better,
especially because it was... correct!

As Neil's lengthier reply pointed out, there area a number of
variables we are dealing with in breeding for any one trait -
and we we want it ALL, don't we?!

Identifying what we want to breed for is one key. Assessing
that trait accurately in both potential breeding stock and in
the resulting offspring is another, and is not always as
simple as one might suppose.

Heidi's advice is sound, but for us, looking at a fleece from
a two year old alpaca will not do us any good; we're breeding for 'baby' fine (aka Grade 2) fiber to age 10 - on otherwise healthy, sound, and well-fed animals (we are sometimes criticized for the use of alfalfa and the level of protein in our feeding program). If Americans don't want to eat alpaca, then we figure they've got to produce a valuable crop for most of their lives,
and I don't mean more alpacas.

As Robin Alpert said, considering the possibilities - balancing
the science of genetics with the 'art of selective breeding' -
can keep a dedicated breeder up all night, either tossing
and turning in bed, or in front of their computers researching

On the question of guard hair, I'd like to hear more from others
on this. From what I have seen, this is not an easy trait to
breed out. When we first got into alpacas, we often heard that
it was easy to improve on fleece quality. Thanks to decades
of studying the science of inheritance and direct
experience breeding a variety of species through multiple
generations (much easier in the guppy, say, than in the horse
or alpaca!) - we understood that it is easier to move a trait
toward the mean of the breed/species than it is to take a
trait that is already average or above average and get offspring
that are outstanding in that trait.

Heidi made another good point about progeny being more important
than pedigree, but I would never disregard the pedigree. As she
so accurately states, "even the 'Great Ones'" sire or produce
geldings. However, some breeders would geld what I would
treasure while others would use at stud what I would not sell to
an unsuspecting novice as a 'fiber' animal. (Isn't it wonderful
that we all have the freedom to choose for ourselves!)

After all, the animal you are looking at is the progeny of
it's sire and dam, and the product of its pedigree. Even in
the absence of independently verified data (Liz Kateras, PhD
of Bluebird Canyon Ranch says, "Show me the data!") or genetic
evaluations calculated from such data, (EPDs, ETAs, etc) one can gain a sense of what traits 'follow' which bloodlines.

All it takes is lots of time... and an almost obsessive dedication,
though I have to admit I found it easier for species that could be
visually evaluated for most of the traits I was interested in. But
we all love a challenge, or we would not have chosen to become
alpaca breeders, right?

Paul Valleley writes

No comments: