Selective Breeding

All personality traits have some basis in genetics. Until recently Biologist and Psychologists believed that personality was based 10% on genetics (nature), and 90% our upbringing and education (nurture). With the recent development of gene mapping scientist now know that at least 50% of personality is genetic based, and their best guess it that we will eventually find that genetics is responsible for 60% of personality. This means that about half of the personality of your pet bird will be determined by its genetic background.

This situation can be summed up with this phrase: Genes dictate the roads we can take, not the roads we will take. Unfortunately if there is no road it cannot be taken.

The environmental stimuli we receive, that helps develop our personality, use our genetics as a foundation. If none of our genes are coded for being nice, and all are coded for being aggressive, then no matter how hard we try, we can only be mean. This is an extreme example but makes the point. In most cases, all animals have genes for good and bad development of most personality traits. At Hartman Aviary we try to stack the deck in our favor by selecting breeding stock that has more desirable than undesirable genes for each trait.

No matter how hard we try, it is never possible to provide exactly the right stimulus at the right time to optimally develop our personalities. We recognize that this is a fact of life and select proper breeding stock to minimize the potential down side.

There are a few behavior traits that are easy to identify. When we see birds that we know have a genetic predisposition to develop these undesirable behaviors, we do not breed them. The most obvious undesirable traits include aggression and feather mutilation.

Consider this: Most breeders breed parrots that had to be given up by their owners. The reasons are usually because of aggression, excessive noise, feather mutilation or excessive egg laying. All four of these behaviors are the result of a genetic predisposition for the behavior and are not a behavior you would choose to deal with. Breeders are usually quick to qualify the behavior as a result of poor housing conditions, or abuse. Unfortunately the genetics behind these behaviors are often passed on to the next generation, the one you are taking home.

Some breeders suggest that if genetics is only half of the equation that even bad genetics can be turned around. The opposite is actually the case.

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