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When is a Desirable trait not so Desirable

When are desirable traits not always so desirable. Early in June I did a gardening program for a local group of backyard gardeners explaining to them what we do here and why we are not a real business. This provides the opportune time to explain some very important concepts. June is always one of the worst for the impatient person. They scan through our listings of either sweet potatoes or poultry and pick out something that they think is perfect for them. I am all to familiar with todays world where we can find something on the internet and order it and it is at your door in a couple of days. I get it, through constant reinforcement of that we think everything in the world operates the same way, but unfortunately when dealing with living things it is not the case.


I'll start out by talking about sweet potatoes it is a very desirable trait for the consumer or the home gardener to have a variety that keeps and stores well. We have some varieties that I have had in the basement for almost 2 years and they are still usable. That's fantastic for the consumer because they don't have to worry about them going bad quickly if they are stored properly. Several varieties jump to mind when I think of this 8633, Wapsi Red, Arkansas Red and there are many others that for the consumer are great because they keep so long and in such great condition. However, let's put that into a biological perspective. In order for you to get slips the sweet potatoes need to break dormancy and sprout. So wow for the purchaser that's a great thing that they don't sprout but it is a problem when we try to get slips to send to that person. There's still that horrible misconception that all things are the same and everything should sprout at the same time and everything should be just in perfect harmony. Life simply doesn't work that way. While some will probably never understand these varieties that have the characteristics that they desire the most cause us the most problems because they don't break dormancy easily and we have to do all kinds of tricks and things to get them to sprout to get you the slips. These varieties probably aren't going to be ready at the beginning of the season when many of the other varieties are. This means you have to be patient and eventually they will sprout and usually they will grow to full maturity from the time that they sprout. There's nothing more that we can do that we haven't already tried to get them to break dormancy. Perhaps I could select only from the ones that sprout earliest and keep hoping over the years that that trait would be passed on but then let's look at the big picture then that also means that they're not going to keep as long and hold the true traits that they are so desired for.


When it comes to chickens people search us out for breeds that go broody because the modern commercial hatcheries have bred that trait out of even the broody type of birds because you don't make money when a chicken's not laying eggs and wants to be a mom. We continue to keep those traits as part of a particular breed to make sure that that all of the traits are kept. So when it comes to breeds like Dorkings and Kraenkoppe’s and even some of the Orpingtons and there are many others that I could mention there are certain times of the year they want to be moms and you really can't stop that without altering them through genetically selecting away from that trait. You may want your chick's the first of June but yet you want a particular breed that goes broody so you can't have it both ways. We do what we can to break them up to keep them laying but at the same point in time we do not select away from those who are broody because that's part of that particular breeds genetic makeup that we prefer to keep intact. It would be so much easier for us if we did operate like a true business and got rid of these problem children so to speak and only kept the things that cooperated and made us the most money. That's not what we chose to do and it's why we will continue to operate the way we do with our focus being on genetic preservation and hopefully some education


The picture is of a Wheaten Dorking hen wanting to be a mom and not producing eggs for us to send you chicks.


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