Breeding the gamefowl
Breeding is the most valuable and most lasting factor in the improvement of a family of gamefowl. Performance of the rooster in the pit depends largely on the breeding qualities of the parents. Breeding is both an art and a science and it is not an easy task as it seem. The main objective of breeding is to improve the next generation in terms of desired qualities such as gameness, cutting ability, power, speed, stamina and endurance.
The main prerequisite of breeding is to do proper selection – that is, to select superior individuals. It is not just a matter of mating a quality broodcock with a quality brood hen with multi-winning records. It is not enough to buy all winners in the pit after each fight and use it as seed fowl. Breeding entails time, effort and money. A prospective breeder should set a goal or standards within his limits.
The first thing to do is to select the strain or breed to be used as seed fowl. The common breeds are the following: Kelso, Claret, Roundhead, Grey, Butcher, and Hatch. Proper knowledge of the characteristics of these breeds will be a good guide in developing your breeding program.
Start breeding with quality broodcocks and brood hens from a reliable source. In the selection process, see to it that brood cocks and brood hens are vigorous and healthy, and free from parasites and infection. They must come from families of superior performance.
Another essential tool to achieve a successful breeding operation is proper record keeping. Proper identification of both parents and offspring are indispensable. The use of markings such as nose punch, toe punch and the combination of the two are common in most breeding farms. Wing bands also help in the identification of game fowl. Records must be simple, complete, accurate and practical.
There are two (2) breeding methods commonly used in gamefowl, namely: inbreeding and crossbreeding. Inbreeding involves the mating of closely related fowl with the aim of concentrating the blood and thus impressing the desirable traits of individuals or families within the breed. This breeding method is is the quickest way of producing superior group in the qualities for which they are being bred. However, never use individuals with undesirable qualities for inbreeding. The undesirable traits will likely appear in the offspring.
Crossbreeding, on the other hand, is the mating of two (2) different breeds of gamefowl. The main objective is to find new combinations of characters or qualities that will lead to the formation of new breeds. Crossbreeding is ususally utilized in the production of battlecocks. There are several variations of crossbreeding, namely: straightcross, three-way cross, and four-way cross.
The polygenic character of gamefowls make breeding more complicated. Proper judgement is needed to evaluate which trait or character will be strengthened, maintained or eliminated in the breeding proper. Selection must always be coupled with proper culling to be successful in any breeding operation.
Gamefowl breeding is not an overnight job but involves a lot of patience, perseverance, time, effort and money. Frustration may divert the way but never give up. Always remember that the creation of a champion rooster is only through a sound breeding program.