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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Longevity as a Guppy Breeder; a shared single common trait?


Longevity as a Guppy Breeder; a shared common single trait?

© Alan S. Bias
Permission granted for nonprofit reproduction or duplication of photos and text with proper credit for learning purposes only.
January 20, 2013
Blond Vienna Lower Sword


Have you ever noticed when visiting a breeder, attending a show, sale or meeting those that stand out?  Not in the traditional sense of being the most well-known for breeding stock, show results or breed promotion.  I’m referring to those who have been around for years.   …and years.   …and years.  Likely to be around for many more years.  These breeders all share a single common trait

It really does not matter what strain of guppy they prefer to raise.  It does not have to be a guppy at all.  For that matter it does not have to be a fish.  These individuals are found in all venues of livestock breeding and have a passion for what they do.

There is a common philosophy in the world of large animal livestock breeding that basically states; a new breeder will be around for 3-5 years.  If you are marketing pedigree seed stock this is the time frame you have to work with.  Most individuals are attracted to a particular species or variant within a species for a host of reasons.  Breed preservation and ornamentation aside, initially for many attraction starts with eye appeal or as something new.  For a smaller subset of breeders it will fall under genetic potential.  Be it for marketability or research and study.  Each group normally has a set period of “longevity” within the breed.   In each case a clock has been set in motion, and as it winds down so does involvement with not only the animal, its maintenance and propagation, but interest in associating with fellow breeders.

Grey Vienna LS w/Mg

As long as you actively breed it will largely be by pattern as decided by Mother Nature and influenced by your actions.  If primary interest is showing, timing has been largely decided for you.  If genetic study some freedom of choice is allowed in timing.   Simple pleasure allows for the most freedom of choice in choosing if and when to breed.  The basic cycle is as follows:

1.      Obtain needed resources to house and feed your initial stock,
2.      Choose your breeders and mate them,
3.      Rear your young and evaluate them,
4.      Cull for genetic and environmental defects,
5.      Adjust feed rations for age classes and cull those that do not meet expectations,
6.      Retain superior offspring for grow out,
7.      Market individuals and your breeding program through sales / exhibition / show,
8.      Review both feed and environmental inputs,
9.      Determine progress towards program goals,
10.  Adjust and obtain food resources / space, in accordance with retained animal numbers,
11.  Balance breedings and direction by consideration of potential new breeders.

Grey Vienna LS w/blue peduncle, Z-bar and X-link yellow

A true stock farmer garners a sense of appreciation not only from the end result, but the effort to produce it.  One of the first breeder groups to normally meet their demise is associated with limited interest in farming livestock.  Those who quickly realize that raising animals takes a lot of time, effort and resources.  It is often dirty, mundane and repetitive.  Often they are in it for the wrong reason; time to kill, money to spend,  or impress peers, friends and neighbors.  These individuals have the shortest clock.  It was never wound that far.

Breeding livestock is on slow time.    Regardless of breed of choice, rearing livestock is cyclical in nature.   Your goals should be defined and stated from the start; define your breed plan.  These well help determine your longevity.  If not you will likely doom yourself to failure, and in so doing lesson your interest.  In a fast paced society many breeders fail to adjust to these requirements.  This is the second group to meet their demise.  The clock was wound a bit further, but not long enough.

Those that make it past the initial 3-5 years will often survive for 8-10 years or more.  This grouping is comprised of overlapping interests to include:   A.  Commercial, B.  Showing, C.  Researcher, both professional and amateur,  D.  Dabblers, E. Genetic Breeders.

A.    Commercial breeders are just that, in it for the monetary value.  Individuals or farms may show in the process to help market results.  Others will not.  In the end their clock length is solely determined by how long they are able to profit from the venture.  In many cases demise is not realized until long after they are gone.

B.   Most breeders, regardless of level of interest will have some familiarity with the names of top show breeders.  This elite group will always have a revolving door and membership will come and go.  If you wish to verify this statement, review the names of class champions for a set period of time.  It is surprising to see how many individuals have come and gone as they are often the first to burn themselves out.  Others persist while showing less with passing time.  Some are easily recalled having left their mark for a specific breeding strain(s) which has been passed down.  Others, not nearly so as sights were set on point totals with limited overall genetic contribution.  The clock for each not only seems to wind down, but often stops abruptly.   

C.  Sometime back I read an online posting by a fellow breeder and friend whose stated primary interest has always been research in nature.  In short he pondered why an active breeder would devote time and effort to promote guppies as a hobby.   His stated goals and objectives had been satisfied.  For this individual the clock has nearly wound down.  Time will tell if he is able to revitalize his interests, thereby add more time to the clock.         

As a rule, most researchers, both professional and amateur, from the start have a set longevity.  It normally encompasses a specific grant, a portion of their career or is limited to a single, sometimes broad scope of research.  At the end of which we can hopefully expect to benefit from publication of results, which can be amalgamated with that of others, and passed down to future generations.  It seems few have the ability to evolve this narrow focused mode of interest into another, with less rigidity, that will add time to their clock.  Invariably, they too have a clock that comes to an abrupt halt.

D.  Comprising the bulk of breeders, Dabblers loosely follow the rules, though to their own interpretations.  Many have been around for uncounted years and make appearances at annual functions or regional events.  Seem to leave and re-enter active breeding status on multiple occasions for many reasons.  Have varied interests and are often a good source of buyers for “serious” breeders.   Sometimes producing a quality end result and others not.  Often, inadvertent preserving genetic diversity.  More often than not they are happy with their level of interest and degree of involvement.  Frequently being one who regularly devotes time at local venues.  While their clock often needs repair to add time, it seems to run for some time thereafter. 

E.   This group is comprised of elite breeders with the most overlapping interests.  They are by far the professional breeders who produce true foundation pedigree livestock.  Without them there would be no stock breeding as we know it.  Such individuals gain the knowledge needed to produce reliable breeding strains, via consistency, research and study.  Have the ability to balance a sustainable breeding program regardless of fish-room size or number of strains raised.  Then in turn market the results through sales &/or showing.  The breeding Program is regularly passed down to successive generations.  While some take time to document efforts, many do not.  When demise comes, it is often with the longest clock after many rewinds. 

Blond Ginga Sulphureus

All classes of Guppy breeders seem to come and go from the scene with regularity.  So, what is this one single common trait among seemingly perpetual breeders that allows for longevity with an overlapping of interests?  In turn, fosters enthusiasm for the promotion of guppy breeding for future generations.  While appearing to allow for the addition of time to the ticking clock?

For myself, and I suspect others, it goes back to a simpler hands on time in our youths.  When we looked at a guppy with amazement in our eyes and have never lost focus in this wonderment.  No matter how much we study genetics, show our fish, market our breeding program or interact with other breeders. It is still this sense of wonderment and reward we get from raising a Guppy that holds our interest.  In the end it seems our clock is only determined by time itself…

(l) Blond Vienna LS & (r) Grey Asian Blau LS

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Have some older fish to nice to cull but need the tanks?  Ship some one way to a show and donate to the club auction in support of their efforts...

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