The Value of a Pedigree | By Marshall and Shirley Searles

Someone once asked me, "What is a pedigree good for?" That sent me to thinking for a valid answer. One which, I think, I should have been ready for but wasn't.

One value of an ASC pedigree, for my canaries, is that it assists in formulating the new year's breeding strategy. What is provided to me is a visual representation of how a particular canary can best be used in the inline or outline breeding plan that I intend to use each year. I think we all have purchase, traded, or borrowed a canary from a great line only to find that the results just didn't fit together. Their song repertoire clashed or just wasn't up to expectations. We may have to reluctantly admit that we must avoid entering another breeder's stock into our own, simply and only because that combination just wasn't right.

A second value is that the pedigree paper offers insight to better and even best decisions of pairing. We can look at the prestige advantage of a famous pedigree, but to me that isn't the most valuable or useful thing. That is NOT to say we can't be proud of one's stock lineage, giving credit to the hard work and accomplishments of the breeder/exhibitor's product of top quality song canaries. But I rely heavily on pouring through my records and spending much time, curled up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea and my records. I contemplate the new year's pairing possibilities - who's related to who, who's not related - finally determining which male I want to pair with which hen.

My records for each canary contain any and all information I have and have received. This includes those of any canary I received from another breeder (as much as they have offered). I'll detail this more in another article entitled "Record Keeping". At a glance, I can tell nest assigned number, band number, pair number, date and how many eggs laid, how many hatched, who the siblings are, and the band numbers of the hatchlings. I can tell lineage, birds that I still have, or the birds I have had. Just please don't ask for this off the top of my head! (another good reason for written records).

Our aviary, PlumeyTunes, has only had at the most 40 canaries. So I can imagine you saying, "That's a lot of tedious and time consuming effort.", Yes, but in the long run, it makes the whole picture like a thumbnail print, making it a lot easier to manage.

A third value is that the pedigree has been very helpful in selling canaries (whether for pet or breeder stock) with more confidence. We sure don't want to mistakenly sell a winner, now do we? The written pedigree provides preparedness that impresses interested buyers, and assures me that I'm selling the right canary for the right purpose.

For these reasons and values, I think pedigrees play an important role in the breeding of our canaries and can be passed on to the buyers. Please consider what a valuable tool the pedigree is when you are keeping your breeding records.