Linebreeding Info

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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby RanchMan90 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:25 pm

Nesikep wrote:Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.. but I think clarification on prepotency is in order.
I see it as an animal that has a large number of homozygous genes, which leads to consistency.. especially on the dominant genes.
When using a prepotent bull from one herd on prepotent cows from another, I guess it comes down to which genes are dominant.. No amount of prepotency in a red bull is going to give you a red calf from a homozygous black cow. Of course everything isn't simply black and white (er, red), there are many factors that work together for some traits.. Weaning weight for one would be a plethora of genes.. from mothers milking ability, frame size, growth rate, feed efficiency, birthweight, muscling, etc
Going back to the theoretical (red) bull of Cotton's and my herd.. there are two scenarios to consider.

The first would be that we both have selected for the same traits for decades, despite starting off with unrelated animals.. We started off by importing the genetics we liked until we got what we wanted, then started to close the herd to outside influence.. Over time, it would follow that despite being unrelated herd, they would have a convergence in genotype, and at least in theory there would be little heterosis in the product offspring.

The second option is we both started with the same seedstock, thus the herds are very closely related, but we had wildly different ideas of what we wanted.. I selected for dairy traits and Cotton selected for beef traits... My cows are trending toward larger frames, large udders with small teats for machine milking.. Hoof quality was of little importance because they got monthly trimming anyhow, same goes for calving ease.. there's always someone around to help, and losing a calf isn't a big deal, it's the milk I'm after..
Meanwhile Cotton selects for a Frame 5, stout, modest udders and milk, easy fleshing, calving, etc. Our herds could be very related but wildly different.. Calves that are a result of the crossing of the two herds ought to have higher heterosis than the first example!

As always.. I've got more questions than answers!

Ranchman, The goals may be different with sheep and cattle (and pigeons), but the roadmap to achieving them is very similar

I agree.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby WalnutCrest » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:10 am

Nesi ... your last paragraph was basically what I came here to say ...

The piece of paper is the road map. The animal in front of you is the road. You've still got to avoid ditches by selecting the correct type of "road construction" (i.e., animal) to get you where you're going.

Remember, the same road needed to cross a tough mountain pass won't work in downtown LA ... or in Venice.

You've still got to test the animals to determine whether or not they appear to carry the traits you want before you spend years and gobs of money feeding them only to find out you're at a dead end.

That's why I referenced the info on the pigeons. Shewmaker understands something about breeding; he has decades in a wide variety of species. And while fruit flies, mice, pugs and pigeons are not cattle, if one wants to learn something (in this case about breeding for prepotency), you could do worse than reading and really considering how his ideas might apply to cattle.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Nesikep » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:52 am

It sounds like the goals of pigeon breeding are a little less complicated than those of cattle breeding... While with pigeons, you have a group of traits you need to have, the end goal is that they fly far and fast.. With cattle things are just more complicated.. fertility, milk, calving ease, build, meat quality, feed efficiency, size, temperament, hooves, longevity... and that's only the start of it.. the worst part is the same animal that will be right for once locale isn't going to work in another.. So while I'd venture to say that a race pigeon bred in china can probably do equally well here, the same can't be said of cattle, and that really limits how much breeders can cooperate together since the goals are different.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Ebenezer » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:45 am

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.. but I think clarification on prepotency is in order.
I see it as an animal that has a large number of homozygous genes that it can consistently transmit to the next generation as dominate genes, which leads to consistency.. especially on the dominant genes.
When using a prepotent bull from one herd on prepotent cows from another, I guess it comes down to which genes are dominant. OR you can expect a true explosion as the genes from one herd might be opposites or unlinked to the other. So you go through a blender year and get the full bell curve with hybrid vigor of offspring and then have to sort out some that are the way you think you like them.. No amount of prepotency in a red bull is going to give you a red calf from a homozygous black cow. Of course everything isn't simply black and white (er, red), there are many factors that work together for some traits.. Weaning weight for one would be a plethora of genes.. from mothers milking ability, frame size, growth rate, feed efficiency, birthweight, muscling, actual %IBC reflected by regressive expressionetc
Going back to the theoretical (red) bull of Cotton's and my herd.. there are two scenarios to consider.

The first would be that we both have selected for the same traits for decades, despite starting off with unrelated animals.. We started off by importing the genetics we liked until we got what we wanted, then started to close the herd to outside influence.. Over time, it would follow that despite being unrelated herd, they would have a convergence in genotype, and at least in theory there would be little heterosis in the product offspring. Bad assumption. Genes from two different sources, segregated farther apart by simultaneous isolated breeding will yield hybrid vigor.

The second option is we both started with the same seedstock, thus the herds are very closely related, but we had wildly different ideas of what we wanted.. I selected for dairy traits and Cotton selected for beef traits... My cows are trending toward larger frames, large udders with small teats for machine milking.. Hoof quality was of little importance because they got monthly trimming anyhow, same goes for calving ease.. there's always someone around to help, and losing a calf isn't a big deal, it's the milk I'm after..
Meanwhile Cotton selects for a Frame 5, stout, modest udders and milk, easy fleshing, calving, etc. Our herds could be very related on paper but wildly different. Calves that are a result of the crossing of the two herds ought to have higher heterosis than the first example! Nope. But you will have genetic scatter.

We can fool ourselves but we cannot fool the genes. The other scenario you left out are genes that turn on and off on generational turnover or due to a gestational trigger.

Other point not mentioned, I don't think and if it has been, I apologize. %IBC is like EPDs as it is an average of the expectation of the offspring with a known range. As accuracy increases the range should decrease. I might have two calves from the same parents and both have 15% IBC. One can be great and one can be a dud. Why, the roll of the dice at conception. Thus %IBC means little if results are not there to reinforce the proof that the animal(s) got the right genes in the right mix.

Other point: segregation of a genepool and noted changes are not the results of new additions of DNA but a loss or as we call a segregation of genes. Thus we run a risk that something good will get left behind so it is easier to always "stir the pot" with new genes each generation and not worry about segregation. Thus the modern beef industry of multi breeds, balancers, crosses, ...less risk
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby cotton1 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:53 am

Merriam Websters medical definition of the word prepotency: unusual ability of an individual or strain to transmit its characters to offspring because of homozygosity for numerous dominant genes.

It was stated earlier that it may be easier to breed a quality in than to breed it out of our stock. If we consider the definition of prepotency and accept that we want to linebreed to narrow the genepool in effort to make our cattle fixed in the traits we have selected, then breeding new genes in is just a mess.

I may be wrong in my view point of linebreeding, but I view it as taking the clutter out of the gene pool. Removing excess. I have posted this before on CT, but its worth repeating:
Several years ago I was discussing the subject of linebreeding with a fellow Charolais breeder who was mentoring me a little. He started breeding Charolais in very early 60's, if not 1960, when the breed first made its way into the country. As a boy he was taught to line breed bulls to 25-30 of his daughters if you wanted to prove its genetics are pure. At the time I really didnt know anything about proper line breeding, but had some questions for him as I had noticed his pedigrees contained line breeding every so often.
He described the genetic make up of a calf with bubble gum. He said the calfs daddy was one bubble gum machine, and the calfs mama was a different bubble gum machine. Inside each machine was thousands of different colors of gum balls. To make the calf you put your dime in each machine and turn the handle. The dispensation of the gum balls(genes) from each machine combined was the make up of the calfs gene pool. The thing about it was the different gum balls, or genes never were given in the same colors or combination from either parent. Thus full siblings will almost never be exactly the same.

I view linebreeding as a way of reducing the clutter in the gum ball machines. In reference to human incest the Bible warns against, saying "lest the uncover thy fathers nakedness."
( For the record, I'm not a proponent of human inbreeding, only plants and animals.)
The same reason, I think its bad for humans to do it is exactly why folks have avoided it in livestock in my opinion. I believe the reduced risk can be associated with strength and well being, and that is likely so. The "problems" associated with linebreeding by uneducated breeders, I think are just the bad genes that have always been there being exposed. Or, uncovering the line or strains nakedness(weaknesses).

Breeding desirable traits in doesn't have to mean by outcrossing though.Just seems to me with careful selection within a strain, and some real tuff culling we should be able to breed in desirable traits by finding the contributor within that group with the right combination of gum balls so to speak. To my notion if the strain is pure, an ouctross outside of the strain is just fore fitting half of the work and effort to remove the excess to that point.

Or am I way off base in my thinking here?

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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Nesikep » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:50 am

Cotton, I like the analogy, and I think it's pretty good, though your last paragraph has some holes in it unless you start out with a completely random group of cows... Just as an example, you'll never have black calves if none of the ancestors were black... If you have a large group of random cows, there is a good chance you'll have a black one in there, and then it does work, you can select for it.

Ebeneezer, I've never heard of gestational triggers, and google isn't helping me.
About the crosses, they seem to be like designer dogs these days.. All these crossbred 'breeds'.. both parents have good traits so the offspring must be the combination of the good traits, right? But what happens when you make a breed out of a cross? Well, to start, you're going to be going toward homozygosity in the genes if you want consistency, and thus losing hybrid vigor, one of the main reasons for the cross in the first place
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Supa Dexta » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:52 pm

People think any litter of mutts is worth big bux these days.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby WalnutCrest » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:56 pm

Nesikep wrote:It sounds like the goals of pigeon breeding are a little less complicated than those of cattle breeding... While with pigeons, you have a group of traits you need to have, the end goal is that they fly far and fast.. With cattle things are just more complicated.. fertility, milk, calving ease, build, meat quality, feed efficiency, size, temperament, hooves, longevity... and that's only the start of it.. the worst part is the same animal that will be right for once locale isn't going to work in another.. So while I'd venture to say that a race pigeon bred in china can probably do equally well here, the same can't be said of cattle, and that really limits how much breeders can cooperate together since the goals are different.


Breeding pigeons ... is more complex than you're allowing for. Wing shape. Wing angle. Weight. Want-to. Homing ability. Strength. Stamina. Etc. Just a different set of traits than we look for in cattle, but still long.

Now, I agree w/ you that a bird that was raised to fly well in China would fly well in most of the rest of the world -- the only hiccup I can see there is related to available food during their flights and the type of weather they'd experience in route.

My main point is that Shewmaker knows what he wants, and he TESTS (in real life situations, not in a laboratory or in a spreadsheet) to determine which animals actually did inherit the desired genes ... not merely making up a set of rules that tells him which ones should have the desired traits.

A piece of paper (i.e., the pedigree) is a roadmap. The individual animals on the ground are the road. Not all roads going to the same place are built with the same quality or take the exact same route --- for example, there are hundreds of different ways I can get in my car and drive to Atlanta from Kansas City --- AND --- not all roads constructed to overcome a rugged mountain pass would work well in downtown LA ... or Venice.

Cotton1 -- my suggestion is to realize that the pedigree is only a roadmap. You've got to determine what you want and how you'll most effectively and accurately assess whether or not you're on the right road on your map. Focusing as intently as you are on IBC%s, etc., I'm concerned you may be missing out on rightly assessing the animals in front of you today and as new ones come in the years to come. I know the temptation as I too anxiously await various breedings to hit the ground, only to realize that each animal is it's own creature, and will express itself in its own way.

PS -- The factor Ebenezer pointed out (traits switching off and on in utero) is a real thing.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Nesikep » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:10 pm

I would love to know more about these traits that are switched on and off in utero.. and will gladly read anything about it you can recommend.

I agree, the method to get to the goal will be similar for cows as for pigeons, I just think it'll be a little more complicated.. I did say there are many TRAITS to select for with pigeons, but there is a common, fixed goal.. with cows, the common goal is definitely a moving target because of the vastly different environments they are required to perform in
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby cotton1 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:22 am

I don't think a group of cows need to have papers to be managed or mismanaged. Sure, I over think things sometimes. Most likely if I had found somebody who could answer my question, they would have long past the usefulness of the info.
Its probably only going to make a difference when you are planning a base herd to work with. In a few generations the % of the ancestors I am concerned about will be minute in my pedigrees.
I'm not a expert, but I know more about most of my cows pedigrees than a name on a registration paper. I have made my decisions based on many factors, including the animals in front of me. The things I have garnered over the last decade helps me to know which ancestors I want to keep to a minimum.
I do understand that no two calf's are exactly alike, even full sibs and the culling process becomes harder as the herd tightens up.

I mentioned earlier to somebody that we are pretty spoiled today with available information.

While this thread may never answer my initial question completely, I am enjoying the conversation a lot. Probably 99 of 100 people I talk to in the cattle business just believe tight breeding should be avoided and won't discuss it with me face to face. Or they are not able to discuss it because they can't understand.

I like to question things. Its just who I am. It hardly ever changes the outcome of anything, but occasionally I save myself some grief.

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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Nesikep » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:29 am

Good attitude! I enjoy learning, I'd like to think that all my views can change given valid proofs... I know that without CT, my herd probably would look a lot different, and going forward those changes will just become more pronounced (for the better). I know the history of all my cows for about 5 generations off the top of my head, including all the good and bad traits, as well as the ones that you don't see "on paper" like structural soundness.
Considering that the last 25 years the #1 priority in breeding has been to get rid of problems and train wrecks, and I think I've pretty much achieved that now, I look forward to the next few generations where I can concentrate on more entertaining and esthetic improvements... It's also the reason I recommend anyone looking to get into cows to buy from an old ranch that has long bloodlines without trainwrecks, and to get experienced cows if they lack experience (at least one of them knows what to do!)
It's kinda rare we get a really good discussion about cattle going (even here), so I really appreciate this and look forward to more :)
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby ddd75 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:54 am

cotton1 wrote:I

While this thread may never answer my initial question completely, I am enjoying the conversation a lot. Probably 99 of 100 people I talk to in the cattle business just believe tight breeding should be avoided and won't discuss it with me face to face. Or they are not able to discuss it because they can't understand.



Cotton1



the only people i see concerned over linebred cattle are hobby people with little to no clue.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby cotton1 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:09 pm

ddd75- I'd listen if you were to elaborate on the hobby folks.

For the record-We are saying that 12-15% IBC before it really means anything, and only about 4 generations make a difference?

I have been playing with the calculator with some of my pedigrees. For now I have decided to try to maintain the %blood of the undesirables to 6% or less.

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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby Nesikep » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:23 pm

ddd75 wrote:the only people i see concerned over linebred cattle are hobby people with little to no clue.

Not meaning to put words in your mouth, but I take this as the hobby people put human values on animals, thus any inbreeding is bad and must be avoided.
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Re: Linebreeding Info

Postby farmerjan » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:27 pm

I have just read this whole thread through and find it very informative and fascinating; I will admit to some of it being way over my head too, but that is the point of reading and learning. As far as the pigeons and all, we raise purebred show chickens and there is alot of line breeding to achieve the desireable results in the birds. My son and his father both raise the same breeds,my sons birds originating directly from his fathers', and have over the years used birds from each others flocks to add a little more vigor into them while maintaining the same traits. A couple of times it has bombed out so I can believe that the full sibs thing really does make a big difference. I have also done a fair amount of line breeding when I got some of my first birds since there weren't any other roosters to use and quickly saw where certain matings produced very good results; certain matings produced exceptional females and others much better males. Usually got a group of birds that were very consistent though and that was what I wanted.. The odd balls were culled, and so breedings concentrated the sameness into them.

I think you are right about some of the hobby people put human values on animals so create a problem for breeders who are looking to "set" a certain type or quality in their animals. And the indiscriminate inbreeding of many dogs has caused some to get up in arms too. I find that there are alot of serious hobby goat breeders that understand the line breeding benefits though. Especially the ones that milk their goats.
Last edited by farmerjan on Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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