A taboo topic in pig breeding is inbreeding. There are so many tools out there especially for registered breeders to help them see the heredity of their pigs and make wise choices in breeding .One of the questions I get a lot from new kunekune breeders is, “What is COI?”
What is COI?
COI is the coefficient of inbreeding. In other words, the degree of relatedness that two pigs have. The lower the percentage the less related your pigs are.
In the world of Kunekunes the instance of 1 or lower COI is rare because of how the breed was rehabilitated from the original herd of 12 pigs.
What is a good COI?
There is a lot of debate about what a good COI to aim for is. We personally try not to breed for a COI over 10%. The lower the better. The majority of our pairings are under 8%, most even lower than that. Our average is between 4-6%.
There are exceptions. If one of your pigs has a high COI because it was line bred, it can cause a high COI in its offspring. This is something to consider when purchasing pigs.
Both the AKKPS and IKHR herd books will tell you the pigs COI they also have tools for trial breeding so you can see the potential COI of pairings.
We list all of our COI info next to our available pigs and our existing herd. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Line breeding vs Inbreeding
There is a lot of discussion regarding line breeding and inbreeding. Some say it is one and the same…others beg to differ. The general idea is line breeding reinforces the dominant genes that you want in your herd; the traits you want to ensure in your future piglets.
This is a topic that I feel there is a lot of research on and is better explained by the pros. Here is a great article about inbreeding in Swine and line breeding that explains it my better than I can.
What Happens if the COI is high?
So, you know what a good COI is and you know that line breeding is a thing. What happens if the COI is high? Best case scenario is that you have a pig with magnified traits of the common ancestor. Worst case scenario you have some genetic difficulties.
Genetic difficulties in pigs can be deafness, blindness, stillbirth, physical abnormalities, hernias, and more.
We have a “breeder boar” that we purchased when we began. His COI is a little over 4% which looked great on paper. We should have researched more. His mother was line bred and this caused her genetic difficulties. She was deaf and this was not disclosed. She passed this genetic deafness onto her offspring. Needless to say we do not use this boar in our breeding program.
Importance of Registering
By making sure you keep registered kunekunes you have the tools you need to keep track of COI, line breeding, and ancestry of your pigs. These tools help you make the best decisions in avoiding genetic difficulties and knowing that you are breeding kunekunes. Unregistered pigs have no way of tracking their COI, which can lead to many problems down the line.