What is Conservation Breeding? – Part 4

Three Disadvantages of Conservation Breeding

1. Rams within this program have a short breeding career, since use of a ram for more than a season or two will lead to a genetic bottleneck, that is, a reduction in the genetic diversity contained within a line. This can be frustrating for breeders who wish to develop and use an outstanding male over many years.

2. Selection of breeding animals must focus on the benefits of the animal to the entire flock, rather than on the traits of that individual alone. For instance, a breeder might select a moderately inbred ram even when a linecrossed ram has superior conformation. The inbred ram is expected to produce individuals more like himself than is the linecrossed ram; the inbred ram also works to conserve the line that produced him. The outstanding linecross rams can be sold to other breeders.

3. Finally, for a conservation program to succeed, the breeder must focus on longterm objectives and must break away from many established practices in animal breeding. This can be difficult for many breeders.

For more information, please read A Conservation Breeding Handbook, contact the Livestock Conservancy, or contact the author of this summary.

Part 1: Background of Conservation Breeding?

Part 2: What is Conservation Breeding?

Part 3: An Example of a Conservation Breeding Plan