The importance of pedigrees
We all know breeders out there are pushing very breeder to use pedigrees when breeding hedgehogs. No matter if you have a one time litter of you are planning on working forwards as a breeder, it is very important to know the background of your hedgehogs and a pedigree certainly helps!
What is a pedigree exactly?
A pedigree simply said is a piece of (digital) paper on which information about the hedgehog, it’s parents, grandparents and so on. Most pedigrees hold up to 4 or 5 generations. It tells you about the colors, registration numbers, names, breeders & owners and a data of birth. It’s sort of a mini encyclopedie about the history of your hedgehog.
Registration numbers? What are those?
Many breeders in for example USA, UK and Germany register their hedgehogs with clubs so that their pedigrees get made for them and all registered hedgehogs are listed in a database where all needed information on them is found. Each hedgehog is registered with a unique number. Sometimes it’s literally a number, sometimes the prefix of a breeder and that of the new owner is used within the registration number together with the name of the hedgehog. It depens on which club you register with. Not all countries have clubs and not every breeder registers.
Pedigrees also tell us which hedgehogs are closely related. With their help, you can calculate how related they are. Usually a percentage up to 5% is accepted in hedgehogs, however it’s better to keep it as low as possible to avoid genetic health issues being enhanced. The higher the percentage, the higher the risk of creating hedgehogs with deformaties or deficiencies.
A brother and a sister are 100% related ecause they are from the same litter, containing the same set of genetics form both their parents. A young hedgehog with it’s mom or dad are 50% related. The youngster has the genetic set of that one parent, but also has another half from the other parent. It is devided by 2 after each generation.
- Nest mate x nest mate = 100%
- Young x mom/dad = 50%
- Young x grandmom/granddad = 25%
- Young x great grandmom/granddad = 12,5%
You see, it’s so easy to calculate how related they are! A pedigree is a great way to help with this as you don’t have to remember each hedgehog in the background.
Health issues and the plusside of pedigree use
If a hedgehog has, for example, WHS and nees to be pulled out of breeding, it’s a logical step to pull the previous 4 generations as well as all offspring out of breeding as well. That is because WHS is a genetic issue and can be passed on through breeding. 4 generations and all offspring is a lot of hedgehogs. This is where a pedigree comes in handy. The ony thing you have to share is the name (and registration number, if applicable) of the passed away hedgehog that is a confirmed case of WHS and everyone with that name on a pedigree of one of their hedgehogs, can take measurements to prevent any new cases of WHS in that bloodline. It’s a basic reset button that works well with many other issues a well.
So how do i get pedigrees on my hedgehogs?
There are different ways and each have their pro’s and cons. Most club registries will provide you with pedigrees after registering. It might take a while, so do register on time! You can make them yourself using Excel of Paint, whatever suits you best.. But there are also a few awesome software programs to help you out on the matter!
However Zooeasy also has an online platform nowadays, the standalone works better for breeders with more pedigrees who use it thouroughly to keep track of weights, litters, hedgehogs, photo’s an maybe even show results and everything. The standalone has no hedgehog version, but the guinea pig version is quite amazing to use. It also allows you to import and eport pedigrees from other breeders that use the same program. So you can import a 15 generation pedigree instead of manually adding a 4 generation pedigree handed over by paper. It’s available in Dutch, German and English.
This one also holds a lot of information and allows you to create your own template for printed pedigrees. Kintracks is also a bit cheaper to buy and offers free unrestricted download for computers using Windows 7 or older. However, it is a lot more complicated to figure out how to work with the program.
There are a lot of other software programs to use, just google and find out! There will always be one to your own liking, but it’s recommended to try their trial versions first, because buying can be pretty expensive with some of the programs.