Recessive Trait – Crook Tail

Crook Tailed Piglet

How a tail curls is partially under the control of an animal but can also be genetic. This piglet has a crook tail. When I first saw this a couple of years ago I thought the piglet in question had gotten stepped on. That was not the case.

Over the years I’ve seen some piglets born with this oddity. After tracking the lineages I’ve concluded this is a recessive trait that came in on some pigs we acquired several years ago. It was really happenstance that they came to us but some of the gilts had 16 teats, a useful trait so I kept the best as breeding as stock to merge in with our genetics. I’m always looking for more tits on a boar. Our boar Tamboar in the south is up to 18 teats and he throws gorgeous 18 teated daughters – another recessive but desirable trait.

The cause of this sort of crooking at the tip of the tail is that some of the ligaments are short on one side of the tail causing the tail to turn in that direction even when relaxed as in the picture of this piglet above. Sometimes the crook is so sharp it makes a tight hairpin turn, other times it’s a more genetle turn like the one shown here.

This crook tail is not a big deal – it’s a very minor trait – but when I am selecting breeders I select away from it so eventually I’ll cull this recessive trait out of our stock. It takes longer to cull out recessive traits than dominant genes because they’re harder to see and can be carried without being expressed.

Genetics and breeding is fun. Sex and math!

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About Walter Jeffries

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2 Responses to Recessive Trait – Crook Tail

  1. wacky internet comment guy says:

    If you caught one of your pigs flying would you breed or cull it? What would be the fate of a hyper-intelligent pig? Whats your opinion on the porcine chimeras used in human hormone and organ production? If you could have it, would you raise pigs that could produce medicine and start a farmacy[sic]? Perhaps pigs that grow designer fur or wool in custom colors too! Pigs in blue, and red, and green that’s my dream; pigs that fly and pigs that wash the dishes too, I tell you guy that’s what my pigs will do! So how about you?

    The ethical dilemas surrounding genetic modification are inumerous, and I think I know how your no weird stuff would answer generally. However, I could imagine some very useful, though odd, traits that one could breed for. On a production farm it’s not really tempting to breed for new traits, but if it could be breed in, how wild can your imagination get? What would you want to see in a dream pig?

    (If it is not yet taken, please name the next young pig you identify to cull Sizzles.)

    • I would cull the flying pig as it would be too hard to fence and the wings don’t add much more muscle. You’ll note that buffalo wings never were a big success so they had to add a lot of spices to make it worth harvesting and eating them. Pigs are smaller.

      I would cull the hyper-intelligent pig, as well as ones that are too dumb. There is a balance. I don’t need pigs that write symphonies, design space ships or write poetry – that’s my job. Their job is to reproduce and grow fast – something they’re eminently successful at doing. This is how pigs plan to take over the world, by making themselves invaluable so that man will serve them. I’m not sure if they’re smart enough to realize what ‘serve them’ means though so that may be the catch in their little plan.

      We do have blue, red, brown, yellow, black, white and spotted pigs. No green hams yet. I breed for colors as they’re fun. Just plain fun.

      Hope does dishes and Katya picks up the floor so I don’t need to breed for pigs with thumbs. That would take a lot of work and thumbs don’t have much meat on them. Trotters are low on meat and not big sellers as it is so I think I’ll just skip that.

      There are many reasons one might be against GMOs. Mine are not the usual health reasons that get discussed in the news but have more to do with the evil greed of certain corporations and their owners as well as the way in which they’re abusing our legal system. Nobody should have ownership of life. It I ran the world (which I do but don’t let anyone know) I would ban patents because everything is obvious which disqualifies it from patentability. Monstersanto did not invent any genes. All they invented was the process for inserting the genes and selection, as well as the pesticides and herbicides they sell to go with their seed. As such they should not be allowed to ban anyone from saving seed. They health issues are moot. Understand that word carefully.

      As to what our dream pig is like: 7′ high and 36″ wide at the shoulder by 12′ long poll to tail at adult size of about 4,600 lbs for the boars – bit smaller for the sows. Attains 300 lbs and marbling in six months during our winters, faster in summer. Longer double fur coat. 3′ tusk length on the males, smaller on the females. Smaller upright ears. Short horns – under 40″ spread. Weaned litter size of 14 to 16 piglets three times a year and 20 teats. Broader molars. Longer small intestine and ileum. Continued improvement in the abdominal ligaments and foreshortening of the nasal sinal passages with extension of the proboscis. Available in an assortment of colors, of course. We’ve nearly achieved the length and some of this but are still working on a few of the other details. I’m sure I’ll have them worked out soon.

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