Qualifying the Term “Selection”

by Nino Bugeja [For PDF version Click Here]

Date: September 17, 2010

There remains a misunderstanding in the minds of many about the term “Selection” and what can be achieved by its meaning. Selection, on its own is only one part of a breeding process to improve ones stock. The breeder must have a clear idea of what he desires to accomplish, and he must not waiver from these desires.

I am sure you have all heard me use the term “Get Informed” as it is paramount to ones success. The informed breeder must, shall we say, be a “pig at the trough” when it comes to information about the “Breed” he wishes to enhance. He must in gulf himself into the history and development; and seek out the men that surround this history weather it is good or bad, old and new, its knowledge will prove to be priceless in terms of his challenges that lie ahead of him. He must also recognize the fact that patience is an integral part of the process as productive change comes slowly.

The breeder’s desire has one goal, and that is to improve their stock, they must look at themselves as aspiring artists with a vision of what they want to create. Ounce they have their vision fully understood, they can commence in creating their “Ideal” specimens complete with all their qualities and abilities. Unlike the artist that puts paint to canvas, the breeder must transfer his vision into a living creature, and that is the challenge; their structure and ability’s, have long been established by many over decades, the result of which range from poor to excellent. The stock in question should be chosen wisely, as it will be their ancestral heredity that will be shaped into the breeder’s vision.

It has been my experience to see that many a fancier can not resist the temptation of acquiring stock from many sources for on reason or another. It is this type of action that is counter productive, and why they look for “Selection” to correct the vast multiples of differences their stock now has become.

Some would claim that Selection will only reduce ones stock in terms of numbers, and indeed they are quite correct, but the larger picture is the fact that the idea is to “Purify their Ancestry,” their inheritance from all their ancestors shall in fact become alike; so that with each generation shall not be different from the transmission of the immediate parent. Purity of ancestry is in the making, and should be the ultimate goal of the breeder.

Selection has but one purpose, and that is to reduce numbers, or to influence “Type”, and that really means to prevent unwelcome individuals amongst the stock. We are Culling, or as I have called it before “Genetic Purging” always with our vision leading us to our “Ideal”. By doing so, the breeder is now able to forecast offspring with sound probability, and his stock as a whole are rising in their excellence and uniformity with each passing generation of all the characteristics he seeks.

The term “Selection” has been one designed for the livestock breeder many years ago, as it was when there was a mixed bag of specimens to deal with mostly surrounding the commercial breeders for monetary gain whether it was cattle , swine, or poultry, all tying to improve their individual breed to a greater excellence for their particular industry. For the hobbyist, it has proven to be a tool of tremendous worth, but it must be confused as the only factor in the rise, or fall of ones stock. As explained earlier, one must be informed of what they have, where their vision lies, and how “Selection”, when used wisely, is only one tool to assist the aspiring breeder achieve his desired goal.