Unicuique suum

To each his own

Each book has its own history

A scientific treatise is never the work of only one Author, but of experiences laboriously added through the centuries, and, when its topic is Genetics, it can firmly sink its own roots in the second half of 19th century, when Mendel verified his genial intuitions, persevering like a Carthusian Monk, although he being Augustinian!

Why did Mendel discover that which from millennia had been hidden? Is it possible that he dove into the laws of the heredity only because, like his father, he loved the natural world and was endowed with a balanced and organised mind?

I don't really agree with this and I would like to digress, historically and psychologically. Gregory lived in a monastery, and history teaches us that scientific studies often have been opposed by some Heads of the Catholic Church. We will have confirmation of that in reading the biography of Gregory. To the contrary, the Napp Abbot, Superior of Mendel, did not belong to the realm of the regressives, and without any doubt he was an intelligent person, and with open mind. He had to be a Priest who did not know the envy, or the burden of whoever is inferior, but doesn't feel such. He favoured this monk by putting up a greenhouse entirely for his use. He was a Maecenas, of the belief that life should be generous, ready to favour skilled fellows rather then to clip their wings. A guesswork of stars was not to be dealt with, but pure harmony between intelligent human beings.

However, one fact is sure and clear: in twenty years, a matter apparently ruled by randomness has been bridled and put at disposal of the human welfare, of the economy, as well as of Poultry Fanciers fun.

On November 1993 had in my hands some articles on Chicken Genetics that appeared in the newsletter of the AIA, Associazione Interprovinciale Avicoltori Firenze-Pisa. I read them avidly, and I began to find my way through the labyrinth of plumage colours and patterns. Fabrizio Focardi, active and valued President of the ATA , then AIA FI-PI, furnished me the original material in French, from which he had drawn the news published in his brochures, true gems for young and old breeders.

It is necessary to detour. The most famous Etrurian student, the German Keller, affirmed that signs of the ingeniousness of the Etrurians could be found scattered through centuries of Italian history, and that we can perhaps still single them out in the ingeniousness of the Italians of today, especially in the direct lineage of the Tusci. In fact, we have only to think of the forgers of the arts and sciences that have been of Tuscany: Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo, three stars in a firmament filled with, likewise, shining stars! It is reality, it is not the sterile affirmation of a Teutone. The AIA FI-PI has become an important beacon in the bleak desert of the Italian aviculture, finally on its way to a decent rebirth, the first tangible signs of which emerge from the activity of the new FIAV Federation, led by the tireless Maurizio Tona.

Curious, like a child, and therefore unsatisfied with what I had in my hands, I decided to attack the Chicken to its root. I took risks on a path that has changed into a three-lane highway. I devoted myself to the translation of the French texts; I have integrated them and I have compared them with the English, German, American, Brazilian, Russian, Dutch, Chilean, Italian, Spanish, Canadian, Peruvian, Czech, Japanese, Australian, Chinese and Swedish literatures!

I took advantage of any occasion to verify the data, putting through the mill even an Egyptian taxi driver at 4:30 am, while taking me to the London airport, where I would re-embrace Bill Plant. Twenty one hours of flight from Sydney with three quarters of a century on his shoulders is not bad! The Chicken had also seduced him for a long, long time, and he had accepted the European adventure, desirous of enriching and completing that which for decades he had scraped together with a passion. In him, I have seen the Napp Abbot relived: in 1995, Bill left to my complete disposal his personal library, an endless productive mine, aware that knowledge is for everyone and that few people offer such generosity.

So a puzzle is created for the Breeders, because at this point they must choose if in this life they will be Physician or medicaster, Scientist or alchemist, Breeder or breeder!

The subject has been purposely dealt with in a vast way, without saving blows, sometimes with pedantry. These sins have been done for the pure purpose of not forcing my Breeders friends to wearily search of unobtainable texts, driven by the desire to throw some light on a concept, only seemingly marginal, but which, sooner or later, will reveal to the Breeder, understandings that may be a key in the consuming daily mastery of such concepts.

No one is born a Teacher. Therefore, if they cannot digest at least a portion of the essential part of what they will find in these pages, they will be disenchanted in reaching the peaks of other European or other foreign Countries.

And we know for certain that the content of this treatise soon will be partly obsolete, as Chicken Genetics is also a Science that for definition is continuously evolving, and for which a constant updating is needed!

Translation reviewed by Cathryn Robocker
Kalispell - Montana - USA

Dutch Bantam Breeder