Thursday, October 2, 2008

Female Shama - Importance In Breeding Program

The post below was first published on 15th September 2006
From time to time, I have been told by owners of male shamas that the information on my website and on this forum have inspired them to want to try to breed shamas.

They sometimes further say that they have difficulty obtaining a "good" female from the bird-shop and they ask if I will give them a female?. Often, I hardly know them. One such person who visited my home even noted that I had a bunch of females in the front aviary and politely asked if I could give him some. When I get requests like this, I hardly know what to say. These people seem to think that a female shama has little or no value. This perception is incorrect.

Lets say there is a beautiful male with all the desirable attributes. If he has a sister, it has all the genes that he has. She has the potential to produce many males just like him. Is such a female worth so little that anyone can ask for her? No one would think of asking me for a male. Yet people whom I hardly know consider that it is quite OK to ask for a female.

For breeding purposes, a female is as important as the male. Both will contribute their genes to their offspring. The genes from both parents will determine if the offspring turns out to be a champion or a dud. Westerners know this and they value their female birds as much as the males. Often, they will ask a higher price for a females from a champion bloodline.

Shama breeders (such as me) who have tried for many years to develop a strain of shamas, are well aware of the need to acquire a suitable female and we will go to much trouble and expense to get one. For example, after a great deal of effort, I was lucky to get Sweet Lady. The former owner only agreed to lease her to me on breeding terms after he had approved Godfather as the stud.

The lease was for 1 year and it required me to let him choose the first 2 males and 1female offspring. I can tell you that at the end of the first year, I was left with only one male offspring after I had fulfilled my contractual obligations. He then kindly agreed that for another 2 males and 1 female offspring, I could permanently keep Sweet Lady.

It will be seen that it cost me 6 offspring that were produced over 2 years before I could acquire Sweet Lady. She was not easy to breed from and after 2 years I hardly had any of her chicks for myself. Nevertheless it was worth it. She and Godfather have turned out to be the cornerstone of my breeding program. Without her, I might still be struggling to produce the type of shama that I have in mind.

My females are now from a strain that goes back to before 1993 i.e to 1988 when I first started shama breeding. Their value is reflected in the offspring that they produce. I seldom agree to part with any of them.

I hope that the above clarifies my views on female shamas.