Dear clownblr, I beg thee for advice… how does clown breeding work? What is troupe status? Like how does a contra-auguste perform hormone facilitation?
Sorry for the long post, but clown breeding can be pretty confusing the first time around. I’d like to preface this by saying I have only worked with miniature clowns. I doubt all of this info is universal, so I would invite other breeders to fix any misinformation I may have unknowingly spread.
Clown breeding is a bit more complex than other species since they’re such social creatures. Most clowns have to have a strong bond with the clown they breed with (similar to humans!) and some breeds mate for life!
Troupe status relates to how the clowns interact in group performances. The Joey (also called “Blanc” in most European countries) takes on a leadership role, and can command the other clowns to a degree. They can have a bit of an ego, but do well as solo clowns. Most troupes have one Joey, but a larger troupe may have two or even three. In the case of multiple Joeys, they may devolve into “lower” forms of comedy, such as slapstick, in order to evoke the most laughs from their audience- the more laughs, the more dominance a clown gains in the troupe. Clowns should NOT fight each other for dominance. If they do, break up the fight immediately and contact a coulrologist or clown doctor to talk what the problem might be. Clown fights are not normal. They may engage in slapstick fights, but should not aim to genuinely harm each other.
Auguste clowns are more submissive, and has a lower status in the troupe. They may mimic the Joey or follow their commands. In a troupe with multiple joeys, the Augustes may split into groups, each following a different Joey. In general, Augustes are more mild-tempered, but struggle without a Joey to lead them. They are very well behaved, and rarely ever have problem behavior for their owners.
The Contra-Auguste clown is typically a “specialty” clown: often musicians, acrobats, or contortionists. When performing, these clowns neither lead nor follow, but work to provide background or enhance the performances of the other clowns. In the social hierarchy, they are between the Joey and the Auguste.
Now we arrive at breeding. You have the best chance to get viable eggs from a Joey/Auguste pairing with a Contra-Auguste assisting. Some follow the belief that the Joey must be the male while the Auguste must be the female for good results, but female Joey/male Auguste pairings are equally viable (one of my female clowns is the Joey of the group, and she had a litter of 3 with no complications). Many people are confused about the role of Contra-Augustes in breeding, and that’s mostly because very little is understood about exactly how that works! In my experience, the Contra-Auguste will be present during fertilization and very involved in the care for the eggs once they are laid. When the Contra-Auguste is present for fertilization, they will feel responsible for the eggs and typically act as a nanny or nurse, and making sure the eggs are properly cared for. Some clowns refuse to allow humans around their eggs, which makes it difficult for breeders to care for the eggs. By involving a Contra-Auguste, the breeder can take note of their behavior in the nest, using it as cues to the condition of the eggs. Of course, everyone follows different methods, so if anyone does things differently, please let me know!
Again, sorry for the long post. I hope I answered your questions well enough!