My work in breeding the Poitou donkey has been particularly concerned with researching ancient strains of the donkey which are on the verge of extinction or researching those animals which are no longer to be found in France because the breeding jacks are to be found abroad.
In fact, breeders are concentrating more and more on winning awards, researching the morphological characteristics but forgetting the genetic diversity which allows a race to flourish. Indeed, at the present time, it is often the same strains which keep recurring.
It has quickly become evident, if not urgent, that we need to work very hard if we are to regain the lines of descendancy which are no longer found in France.
For example :
De Gaulle Mephisto, born in 1991, to Sastia by Neptune, is to be found in Germany. Her father, Neptune came from historic breeding which has allowed the revival of the breed, now breeding in Augé. Currently, Neptune doesn’t have any descendants in France. Thanks to an exchange system with Germany, the son of De Gaulle (Dartagnan) has come to breed in Breuil. Neptune’s lineage is thus returning to France.
De Gaulle mephisto
Similarly, Nepomuk born in 2001 to Babette by Jacques has no descendants in France. This donkey “3/4 Mulhouse and ¼ German strain” is also to be found in Germany. The breeding farm in Breuil should be welcoming Nepomuk’s foal in 2016, a young filly born in July 2015.
My aim as a breeder adhering to SABAUD is the safeguarding of the Poitou donkey. Recovering some strains is a hazardous risk because the genetic rarity does not guarantee animals that are physically perfect.
However, safeguarding a breed,entails increasing genetic diversity so that in future generations those individual donkeys which best match the standard are selected.