by Steven Agent, 2011
published with permission from author
I must start with hard and soft feather classifications. In my family, the hard colors are blue check and blue bar self or flights. The soft colors are white, yellow, recessive red, lavender, grizzles, torts, mottles and blacks.
The first factor I consider when selecting pairs is feather quality. I try to always put a hard-feathered bird with a soft-feathered bird, as long as they are not too closely related. What I mean by too closely related is mother/son, father/daughter and brother/sister. There are times when I’ll mate soft-feathered birds together but they must have enough blue birds behind them, meaning at least three generations back they are bred hard to soft. If this isn’t the case, I will breed hard to soft. Now any of the young that make it in with the breeders must only be bred to a hard feathered bird.
The second factor I consider is relationship. My favorite pairs as far as relationship is concerned are half brother/half sister mating. I have had phenomenal success with these pairs. The thing is you can only do this two times in a row because after that, they are now getting too close. Other pairs I like are cousins/cousins, uncle/niece, nephew/aunt, grandfather/granddaughter, and grandson/grandmother. I always have the minimum of two pairs in my breeder that show no relation for four generations. These birds are my X factor birds. X factor birds insure me that I will always have an outcross within my family.
The third factor is performance. All three of these factors are equally important. What I have found in this family of birds is that the fastest birds are usually not very frequent. This is probably because they are usually the strongest as well as the fastest. I have also found that the deepest birds, 40 feet plus, are normally not as tight and clean. Subsequently I have no stock birds over 35 feet. The other thing is that the birds that are very frequent are usually no deeper than 20-25 feet, but will have good speed and style. So what I attempt to do is put a very fast bird or a “blur” that ranges in depth from 15-35 feet with a hot or frequent bird that ranges from 20-25 feet. I do not like frequency with frequency, because the young will either roll down or be too frequent to kit. I also do not put seldom to seldom. Although the young may be some of the fastest stuff you will ever see, you won’t see much of it.
The last but probably the most important factor is a must. With this family you must change your pairs every year no matter how good the young are. With this breeding program there is no such thing as a “click pair”. By changing your pairs every year you will find pre-potent birds. For instance, your number one pair gives you five great spinners. The following season you breed them both with a different hen and cock. In doing this you find that the cock from your number one pair with a different hen gives you two good birds, but the hen from your number one pair with a different cock gives you 4 great birds. Now you know who the pre-potent bird is out of your previous number one pair. This bird will now play a major roll in your breeding program.
In following these factors what I try to breed are very fast, frequent, high quality, tight kitting, big breaking spinners with control, control, control.