Pigs called kunekune, which are pronouced "cooney cooney," are a wise choice for small farms. Kunekune is a Maori word that means "big and round." These medium-sized, tasseled, sweet-natured pigs are native to New Zealand. Although no one is certain, it is believed that they are a hybrid of pigs from Indonesia and Berkshire, Poland China, and possibly Gloucester Old Spots.

  

What is COI?

COI (Cofficent of Inbreeding) is a measure of how closely related your KuneKune’s parents are. The higher the inbreeding coefficient (%), the more closely related they are to there parents. In general, higher inbreeding coefficients are associated with increased incidence of genetically inherited conditions, reduced Fertility, and reduced life span.

OUR FOCUS HERE AT BF FARM IS BREEDING LOW COI PIGS & PIGLETS

WHAT IS WRONG WITH INBREEDING?
WHILE LINEBREEDING HAS SOMETIMES BEEN USED TO REINFORCE DESIRABLE TRAITS, INBREEDING CAN LEAD TO OTHER, UNDESIRABLE AND OFTEN HIDDEN, EFFECTS. IT HAS BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN THAT INBREEDING IN PIGS CAN CAUSE.

  • PIGS CAN BE SMALLER (UP TO 10%, BY BODYWEIGHT, PER GENERATION)
  • UNHEALTHY CHARACTERISTICS (E.G. SHORT NOSES LEAD TO BREATHING DIFFICULTIES AND SUNKEN EYES)
  • INHERITED DEFORMITIES
  • INHERITED DISEASES
  • LOWER BIRTH RATE
  • REDUCED FERTILITY
  • MISCARRIAGE/ABORTION
  • STILLBIRTHS (AND DEFECTS IN THE STILLBORN PIGLETS)
  • MUMMIFIED PIGLETS
  • REDUCED VITALITY (LESS VIGOROUS PIGLETS THAT GROW MORE SLOWLY AND ARE NOT AS HEALTHY, GROWING INTO UNHEALTHY ADULTS)

What does the number tell me?

The coefficient of inbreeding is the probability of inheriting two copies of the same allele from an ancestor that occurs on both sides of the pedigree. These alleles are "identical by descent". The inbreeding coefficient is also the fraction of all of the genes of an animal that are homozygous (two copies of the same allele). So, for a mating that would result in offspring with an inbreeding coefficient of 10%, there is a one in 10 chance that any particular locus would have two copies of the same allele, and 10% of all of the genes in an animal will be homozygous.

What is a "good" value for COI? What COI is "too high"?

The original purpose of the coefficient of inbreeding was to give breeders a number that would indicate both the amount of benefit to be gained from inbreeding as well as the magnitude of the deleterious effects they could expect. The trick for the breeder then is to weight the benefits and risks of a particular breeding and judge what is an acceptable balance. A low COI will have low risk, but it will also only have a modest benefit. A high COI would produce more consistency and prepotency in the offspring, but there will also be a significant loss of vigor and health.The deleterious effects of inbreeding begin to become evident at a COI of about 5%. At a COI of 10%, there is significant loss of vitality in the offspring as well as an increase in the expression of deleterious recessive mutations. The combined effects of these make 10% the threshold of the "extinction vortex" - the level of inbreeding at which smaller litters, higher mortality, and expression of genetic defects have a negative effect on the size of the population, and as the population gets smaller the rate of inbreeding goes up, resulting in a negative feedback loop that eventually drives a population to extinction.

So, in terms of health, a COI less than 5% is definitely best. Above that, there are detrimental effects and risks, and the breeder needs to weigh these against whatever benefit is expected to gained. Inbreeding levels of 5-10% will have modest detrimental effects on the offspring. Inbreeding levels above 10% will have significant effects not just on the quality of the offspring, but there will also be detrimental effects on the breed.

As the popularity of KuneKune Pig continues to grow. More KuneKunes pigs are being produced from inbred or inferior stock.
 Always ask to see the pedigree of the parents, even if you are not purchasing a registered pig. Closley look at the COI

  Ask questions. A good breeder will be happy to answer anything you can throw at them. When you buy from us, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

ONLY BUY LOW COI PIGS OR PIGLETS!

A COI perspective By Kathy Petersen , IKKPS founder

When I ask fellow KuneKunes breeders about the COI’s in their herds, most do not understand what I am asking unless, they have a back ground in cattle, dogs or goats.  As my background in breeding are with the Australian shepherd lines, this is a fairly common practice and tool that is used in making decisions in our breeding program.  It is my hope to share this information with all my fellow AKKPS members so, you too, can use this invaluable tool for the betterment of not only your breeding program and herd but, for KuneKunes in general.  With KuneKunes gaining popularity and growing in numbers, it is important that we maintain as much genetic diversity as possible in our herds.

COI stands for Coefficiency of Inbreeding.  COI measures the amount of inbreeding in one animal.  The goal is to reduce the amount of inbreeding to lessen the increase of genetic defects and imperfections.  While many breeders believe in line breeding and inbreeding, it is true that you are doubling up on the good genes and increasing the chances of it showing in the offspring.  However, they may not be considering that you are also doubling up on the “bad” genes that are not so valued.  This includes but is not limited to, heart conditions, prolapsed anus’, low birth weights and survival of offspring, scrotal hernias, umbilical hernias, Cryptorchidism (where one or both testicles are retained inside), teat abnormalities and many others. 

With the various lines in this country, it is possible to dramatically reduce COI’s.  Understanding where these bloodlines originated and what they can be traced back to is also very important.  With the various lines being renamed in the USA, it makes it harder for the new comer to make these decisions.  Using COI’s will help. (Coming soon we will have a listing of each bloodline, where they originated and how they can be traced back to New Zealand.) 

When pairing two breeding mates, it is possible to reduce the COI’s in the offspring considerably lower than the parents.  By continuing this practice, COI’s will be reduced automatically in the KuneKune breed. Our online herd book will allow you to see what a potential mating COI’s would be prior to the actual breeding.  The goal is to REDUCE the COI of the parents with their offspring therefore, reducing the increase of genetic disorders, gaining diversity in your herd and bettering the KuneKune breed.