Thursday, July 17, 2008

Line Breeding

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:04 pm Post subject:


Hi Jeff,

I believe that no matter how much we may know about genetics and line breeding, the production of an outstanding bird or animal is really due to luck. I am grateful that I have been lucky with my breeding of shamas.

This year is an exciting one for me. I have repeat matings of pairs (such as the parents of Pretty Boy and the parents of Longbow) that have already and consistently produced outstanding birds. If they do produce progeny of the quality previously produced I will be more than happy. However, there is always the hope that a Sport, i.e a male that I have only seen in my dreams, will be produced.

I also have proven studs such as Godfather and Legend that I have mated this year to females that I have not tried with them and I am anxious to see what will come out. In addition, there are the matings of birds that have not been previously mated. The anticipation here is of a different kind. We have no idea of what is likely to be produced. Its like throwing a fishing line into the sea in a location where we know we may catch the fish of our dreams. Perhaps we will but we have to wait and see.

My birds are already breeding true for long tails, thin feathers and the type of structure that I want. I don't give much thought at this time to further improving these aspects. There are other aspects to which I am now paying attention.

Many have told me that the character, display and song of my birds are better than anything they have come across. This may be but the enjoyment of a hobby requires that there is always some aspect of the bird or animal that we think can be improved. I think the aspects I have mentioned can be further improved and I am concentrating on them this year and in the near future.

This year, I have available for stud a long tailed wild-caught shama from William Kwa that has a dominant character and really outstanding display. He has been mated to one of my female shamas in an out-cross. I will see what he produces. If his progeny show promise, I will add them to my pool of breeding stock.

To improve the song, I am looking for an outstanding songster to mate to one of my females. It may take some time, but I and my friends know the sources that may have such a bird and with time, I am sure I will find a suitable specimen.

After I have managed to breed true those aspects of my birds that I think need attention, I will revert to the minor things. For instance, the 2 secondary tails of my males are now often over 8". I think this is a little long and I prefer slightly shorter secondary tails, say about 6" or so. The shorter tails will enable the long primary tails to move with less restraint during the display. The freer movement of the tails will slightly improve the display. And so it goes on - I expect I will be able to find some aspect to improve upon over many many years so that the hobby will always be interesting and each new breeding season will be something to look forward to.

Best regards,


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