The KuneKune Pig
The Kunekune Breed
The kunekune is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand. Kunekune are hairy, with a rotund build and may bear wattles (or piri piri) hanging from their lower jaws. Their colour ranges from black and white, to ginger, cream, gold-tip, black, brown and tricoloured. They have a docile, friendly nature, and – like the pot-bellied pig – are now often kept as pets.
Miniature kunekune are classified by height. If your breeder says they have mini's you should ask for proof. Malnourished pigs will end up smaller than their healthy siblings but some breeders have bred down their lines to remain relatively small. If you are dealing with one of these breeders, ask for several references of people who have purchased their pigs. Ask those people how much their pigs weigh, and how tall they are.Care
If you choose to house your kunekune indoors be sure to provide them with a place, or room, of their own. Many people build them little pens into a corner of their house and others provide them with a toddler bed or even a tent to sleep in.Since kunekune can grow to be up to 400 pounds (depending on which breeder), they need a decent amount of space to roam about and lie down. If you don't have enough space to accomodate a 400 pound pig, then you shouldn't get a kunekune. Most kunekune owners keep their pigs in a barn or outside setting. Since their main diet is grass, they are allowed to come and go in a secure fenced in area (often with a livewire) and sleep on sawdust or another kind of bedding in a well-ventilated shelter. They don't do well in heat so providing them with shade and ventilation is a must. If they get too hot they will roll around in the mud to keep their bodies cool and keep the flies from biting them. Pigs only sweat on their snouts so it is difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. Aside from the occasional check up by an exotics vet, a Leptospirosis or Erysipelas vaccine every 6 months (depending on where you live), a deworming every 6 months, a bath after rolling in the mud, and making sure they are fed appropriately, kunekune are relatively easy to care for. Provide them with ample room to roam, and a place to graze and they will be happy pigs. Diet
Unlike pet pot bellied pigs, kunekune are usually kept in outdoor environments and do well just eating grass. But if quality pasture is not available, whether it be due to a drought or just not enough grass to feed a hungry adult pig, pot bellied pig pellets and grass pellets can be used to supplement the diet.
An adult kunekune will eat 2-3 pounds of pellets a day (equal parts of pot bellied pig and grass pellets) if they don't have a lot of grass. Add hot water to the pellets to create a mash. Younger pigs will eat smaller amounts, but some fresh pasture should be available at all times when there is grass.
In summer months their diet should be grass and fresh vegetables. In the fall and spring, you can add in apples for more fiber and in the winter most people substitute the pellet mixture for grass. Higher protein pellets (up to 16%) should be offered in very cold weather.Overall, kunekune are social, intelligent animals that live an average of 15-20 years. By taking good care of them you will be sure your pig is around for a long time.
30 Things You Need to Know About Kunekune I’ve been doing my homework and researching kunekune pigs. I’ve rooted (snigger) around lots of websites and spoke with Jan Glover of the British Kunekune Pig Society (BKKPS). Here’s a summary of my findings: Kunekune are the smallest breed of pigs. They can grow up to be about 4 feet (1.2 metres long) and between 130 – 220 lbs (60 to 100 Kg). There is no such thing as a “tea-cup” or “micro” pig. They graze on grass and don’t really need anything else in the summer. They can eat hay in winter. They eat 1 lb of pig nuts per day (half a pound morning and evening). “Super Lean” is a good pig nut and stops them getting fat. They need PLENTY of water. They must not be given ANYTHING that’s gone through the kitchen (that’s the law) but they can eat fruit and vegetables from the garden. To keep kunekune you need a County Parish Holding” (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). This is the law. After you get the CPH number you then tell your local authority and they assign a herd number. They can be weaned at 8 weeks and go to new homes at 9 weeks, at which point they weigh about 13 lbs (6 Kg) . That’s about the size of a a very round Jack Russell terrier. Kunekune have lovely temperaments. They love having a fuss made of them and will lie for hours while you rub their tummies. They live for 8 to 10 years. They have to be wormed every 6 months by giving an injection you can do yourself. Provided you don’t take them anywhere, they don’t need any vaccinations. They don’t have any special health issues other than a tendency to become overweight if their diet isn’t controlled carefully. Then there are a number of weight related issues. Kunekune come in a variety of colours; solid or combinations of black, brown, blond, ginger and white. They vary from quite hairy to very hairy. They’re not escape artists; although it may be a good idea to put line of barbed wire on the bottom of a stock fence. They respect electric fences. They are very strong and will tip over buckets and water troughs unless they are firmly fixed in place. They need straw bedding. They can get along with other animals after a suitable introduction. Nose rings are considered unkind. (They’re also kinda ugly on a cute pig face). They’re quite trainable and get to know routines and people A pair of castrated boars (males) is a good option. It costs around £75 for a castrated boar. A female that doesn’t breed when she’s in season may get bad tempered. Some may dig a little. Some dig a lot. Some don’t dig at all. Some grow out of digging. If they have plenty of grass they would be okay and it’s worth splitting up a pasture and rotating use so that no area gets “pig sick..” They need their feet trimming every once in a while using sheep clippers (see YouTube “paring pigs feet.”) They need a nice warm covered area to sleep in. They need shade and a “wallow” (pool of water especially to wallow in) for cooling off. It’s a good idea to join The British Kune Kune Pig Society. Great resource, source of information, contacts, piglets etc. Recommended reading, “Small scale outdoor pig breeding” by Wendy Scudamore (past chairman of the BKKPS.) This boopk contains everything you could need to know. APPEARANCE: KuneKune Pigs are rare, small, wattled, colorful, and extremely friendly. The standard calls for a wide head, dished face, short snout which becomes increasingly upturned as the pig matures, and short legged with a thick even body. Known as the "Maori Pig", these pigs were developed by the first people of New Zealand and can be found on both the North and South Islands being very hardy, small pigs and adaptable to many different types of climates. Adult Kunes are small in stature with gilts/sows weighing as little as 100 pounds and up to approximately 185 pounds. Boars are heavier being that they develop "armor" as a secondary sex characteristic and, like most males in the species, are generally larger than females. Boars can get up to 250 pounds and more, however, folks that claim that Kunes boars can tip the scales at 400 pounds are in error. These pigs are consider as a lard breed. In the past, many pig breeds were "wattled" or "tasseled" with fleshy appendages hanging from the lower jaw near the neck, but this characteristic is considered to be very rare in the present day. Kunekunes are a wattled breed, but many purebred Kunekunes do not have wattles or many have only one. Sometimes, kunes are born with one or two wattles that are not well attached and, not having the proper blood flow, will fall off. Rarely, a wattle may be pulled off in a fight or in an accident. The Maori term for wattles is "pire pire". Another unusual characteristic of the breed is the variety of coats types and color. The kune coat can be silky or coarse, straight or curly, and be of colors as varied as cream, black, ginger (red), or brown with spots, patches, or solid. Ears are large and can be erect or semi-lop. Lopped ears are not acceptable. Kunekune Pigs may have a straight or curly tail, however, points are given for a tail held in a curl. Most kunes will curl their tail when excited or frightened, however, many will allow the tail to fall straight when relaxed. Most rare is the kune whose tail is always kept in a tight curl. TEMPERAMENT: Most notable is the attribute of the Kunekune Pig's temperament being very docile, brave, and extremely friendly. There is no other breed of swine that can compare to the Kune in this area. Kunekune piglets are curious and love the attention of people and the companionship of other species of animals. Only second to their drive for food, the love of a belly rub or a scratch reigns supreme. Kunes are easy on fencing and do not tend to roam. PURPOSE Kunekunes make great pasture pigs being unique in their ability to graze and to do well on grass alone. There is no need to "supplement" them with commercial pig chow if they are on pasture enough to sustain them meeting their nutritional requirements. Pasture need not be of the highest quality and can consist solely of natural grasses, legumes and weeds. The typical short, up-turned snout speaks to their ability to graze and the fact that they are not prone to root. There is a niche market for "grass fed", "pasture raised", "free ranging" pork that is waiting to be tapped into. In an effort to preserve the Kunekune Pig breed, registered breeders are promoting the Kunekune Pig for it's meat which will insure a viable future for this small, heritage breed. While kunes are known for their great meat quality and taste, the pigs have many additional uses within the sustainable systems of small farms, hobby farms, and for folks who keep other livestock on their acreages. Kunes can be used for weeding vineyards and orchards. They will clean up fallen fruit. The small size and gentle nature of the breed would make them great pigs for finding truffles. Kunes are the "grazing element" to small intensive grazing systems. I would like to buy a Kune Kune. Where do I start? The first thing you should do, is meet a few Kune Kunes in real life. Spend some time with them. Make sure that you have a realistic impression of what it means to keep pigs. Gather more information by visiting websites, such as Levende Have (see ‘Links’), or read the book ‘Starting with Pigs’ by Andy Case. We recommend people to only buy registered Kune Kunes, with a pedigree. This way, the existing bloodlines remain pure and inbreeding or mixing with other breeds is prevented. By buying registered pigs, we can prevent rare breeds of pigs from disappearing. How big are Kune Kunes? Kune Kunes are much smaller than pigs that are bred for meat, but they are not mini-pigs! Adult pigs usually weigh between 60 and 100 kg’s and are between 55 and 75 cm’s in height. Like most newborn animals, the piglets are small and cute, but eventually they will grow up to be big pigs, unfit to be kept indoors! So think it over well before deciding to buy piglets. You should take into consideration the size of the adult animals! Where can I keep a Kune Kune? Most people keep their Kune Kune in a separate part of a large garden, or in a paddock or meadow. As long as the animals are provided with a dry and draft-free shelter filled with straw, they can be kept outside all year round. It is advised to keep 5-6 pigs per acre. Kune Kune’s don’t only eat grass, they also walk over is constantly. In rainy weather, this can damage the ground. This is why it is advisable to divide your land into smaller sections, e.g. with electrical fencing. This way, the pigs can use another field from time to time, and the grass has time to recover. What kind of housing do they need? If you have a stable, the Kune Kunes can sleep in a corner on a thick bed of straw. Our Kune Kunes have a wooden pig-pen in the paddock. There are all kinds of pens of different materials, such as wood, plastic, galvanized boards, etc. Kune Kunes are strong animals, they can live in a pen in the paddock without any problems, as long as their sleeping area is dry and draft-free, with a lot of straw. What kind of enclosure do they need? Pigs need sturdy fencing. You can use sheep-mesh, but we have a wooden enclosure with a few electrical wires. In any case, it is always a goods idea to have an electrical wire along the bottom of the fence or mesh. From experience, we have learned that once a pig can get its nose through something, it will do its very best to squeeze the rest of its body through it as well. By using electric fencing, you can also make small ‘pinch fields’ to have your pigs move around different fields. What do Kune Kunes eat? Like all other pigs, kunekunes are grazers. An adult animal can live on only grass in the spring/summer. An acre of grassland is sufficient for at least five Kune Kunes. If you don’t have enough grass, you can easily keep them on a smaller field and feed them extra feeding pellets, supplemented with hay and fruit or vegetable leftovers. Most Kune Kune owners probably feed their animals that way. If Kune Kunes are only fed with pellets, the following guidelines apply: Piglets 2-4 months: 0.5 pounds per day Piglets 4-9 months: 0.75 pounds per day Adult animals: 1-1,5 pounds per day The more grass they have, the less pellets you give them. It is important not to stick to these guidelines too tightly. At some point, you should be able to feed them according to your eye. As soon as your pig starts getting too fat, feed it less. A pig that is too fat, is an unhealthy pig. Is there any food that I can’t give them? Pigs may not be fed kitchen waste (swill). This is prohibited by law. By kitchen waste, we mean all meat, bones, blood, but also any food that may have been in contact with this. Even a bare slice of bread that has had meat on it, is prohibited! Is it best to keep males or females? It is generally known that often castrated males are the easiest to handle. Females can be a little more moody, one every three weeks in particular, when they are in heat. Many people choose to keep two castrated males, especially when they do not intend to breed their pigs. Personally, I don’t think it matters much whether you choose a male or a female. It’s the personality (and naturally, appearance also matters) of the individual pig that matters. You shouldn’t buy an uncastrated boar if you do not plan to breed. Boars are often sweet and gentle animals, but their behaviour can become unpredictable once a sow is in season or when they smell another boar. Boars may have a strong smell, they grow long tusks and they are a bit heavier and stronger. Can you keep them alone or in a group? It is best to keep multiple Kune Kunes. They are very social animals, and they become lonely and suffer if they have to live without other pigs. Two or more is usually a good number. Can they be trusted with small children? Kune Kunes are very reliable and they enjoy attention and contact with people. Just like dogs, cats and other animals, it is wise to supervise children when around pigs. Young children should not be around pigs unsupervised (just as they shouldn’t around cats, by the way). Can they live together with other animals? Of course! We have our pigs in their own paddock, but we know Kune Kunes that live together with pigs, dogs, goats or horses. Many animals will initially react a little uncertain, but they will soon get used to each other. However, as soon as any animal gives birth, they animals should be (temporarily) separated. What vaccinations do they need? For hobby-pigs, there are no compulsory vaccinations at the moment. Our Kune Kunes are vaccinated twice a year against erysipelas. There are other possible vaccinations, but in our eyes, these are mainly needed for pigs in intensive farming. Should Kune Kunes be wormed? Yes, once every 4-6 months. Our pigs are given an injection of ivomec, a formula which helps against internal (worms) and external (mange, lice) parasites. We take great care in doing this as children visit our pigs on a daily basis. Furthermore, it is important to take proper care of the land as well. Small fields that are used intensively should be cleaned up daily. If you use an electric fence, you can move the pigs around different fields, so that the land can recover from worm infection. Do pigs need mud? In the summer, pigs enjoy mud-baths to cool down. Pigs can’t regulate their own body temperature very well. They hardly have any sweat glands. At high temperatures, your pig will soon get too hot. Pigs with pale skin or with little hair are also more susceptible to sunburn. By rolling around in the mud, they loose body heat. The mud also protects them against parasites. You can keep a section of their field wet, so that they can make a pit of mud themselves for their mud baths. Our pigs chose their own favourite spot for the mud pool this way. If they push over their water trough, it’s a clear sign that you should make a mud pool for them. Pigs only like mud when they are hot. In the winter, they don’t like to be wet and muddy, as this can make them ill. Are pigs dirty and smelly? No. As we described above, pigs like to be warm and dry in the winter. If they have free range, the pigs will never soil their own bed of straw. They do their business in fixed area’s, preferably far away from their sleeping area. Do you also sell intact boars? If you are considering breeding pigs in the future, start with a young sow with a castrated male for company. This way, you can gain some experience before you buy a boar. Some Kune Kune owners never buy their own boar for breeding. They let their own sow make use of the services of a covering boar. Castrated boars are easy to keep and they have a sweet, steady character. Intact boars are no pets. All adult boars and castrates have sharp tusks, so be careful to avoid accidents. A boar can not be kept with the sow constantly, unless you want two litters a year. So you will need an extra pen and another field. A boar that is bored (not enough opportunity to mate) can become frustrated, resulting in (behavioural) problems. ` Regulations for pigs Hobbyist pig-owners should apply for a Unique Company Number at the LNV-desk (tel. 0800 2233322). Upon doing this, they will receive a ‘GD-registration and mutation form’ from the Animal Health Service, in which the type of pig-farm and the number of pigs to be kept is asked, amongst other things. Furthermore, the pig-owner will receive information about the compulsory ear-tagging. The pigs are considered hobby-animals if a maximum of four pigs are kept. Those who keep more than four adult pigs, are considered equal to a company with growing pigs. In such a case, you must apply for the so called ‘B-status for pig-farmers’. Do you also sell abroad? We do have experience in selling abroad. We can export our piglets with all the necessary documents from our government. If there is demand from abroad, we are certainly prepared to work on it. >