About Kunekune Pigs
Until recently, purebred Kunekunes were in serious danger of becoming extinct in New Zealand. But in 1978, two wildlife park owners, Michael Willis and John Simster, bought 6 sows and 3 boars from all over New Zealand. Spreading the breed throughout the country, and later on, the world, helped to keep up the numbers of Kunekunes and ensure this breed would not go extinct again. In 1989, the New Zealand Kune Kune Breeders' Association was founded to preserve this fantastic breed of pig.
Despite years of intensive research by historians and biologists, no one really knows where the Kunekune pig originated. It is widely assumed the breed was originally from China, because the Polish pigs still found there today have the similar chin tassels of the Kunekune. However, the matter is still under debate.
The appearance of the Kune is almost like a character in a cartoon. They are covered with hair not bristles like other pig breeds. This hair can be straight or curly and either long or short. The color can include black, ginger, brown, cream, black and white, or any combination of the previously mentioned colors. These colors can also have wild patterns on the pig. Kunes should have a medium to short nose that seems to turn up as they age. The ears can be upright or semi-lopped but never a floppy ear. Wattles are another unique feature, which a pig can have two, one, or none. A pig can be born with two wattles then lose a wattle or two during a fight or perhaps one wasn’t attached well at birth. A Kune is considered a small pig when compared to a market hog. The average height is 24 inches and they can weigh up to 250 lbs naturally. Intact boars will weigh much more than sows and barrows.
A Kune is your best friend at first meeting; they bond to their humans very quickly. They are extremely easy to train and can be found doing agility with dogs or therapy work in a hospital. A Kune is always ready for a good belly rub and will lay there while you trim their hooves. During hoof trimming time, I’ve got at least 15 Kunes just lying around waiting for their turn. Once a Kune knows their name, just call out their name and they will come running. I have 30 in the large pasture and I can call for just one of them and that pig will come running. Harness training is very easy-- just put it on. Kunes are not like a potbelly pig where one needs all sorts of patience to get the pig ready. For vet trips, a Kune will just walk into a dog travel crate or walk up a ramp into a trailer or van.
Kunes are perfect for the homestead lifestyle, very easy on fencing and pasture. Kunes are gentle enough to be around children and adults even during farrowing. The yield of meat is perfect for keeping food on the table for a family. The Kune is very easy on a pasture if given enough room to graze with good grass. A Kune will not root as badly as a potbelly or market hog, but any pig will turn a couple of inches of dirt over to see what is there. Still, a Kune prefers to graze. In the winter months they need a pet pig pellet and alfalfa hay to keep them in good weight. Their food should not be more than 16% protein with 14% the best. A Kune can handle more fiber than most other pig breeds, since they are a grazing pig, not a forage pig. Fruits and vegetables can also round out a balanced diet but in moderation.
They will need a good building to protect them from wind, rain and cold temperatures. During the summer they will need a hard plastic kiddie pool to hang out in or some sort of mud hole. My Kunes will lie around, three to a pool and nap the day away.
For further information on the Kunekune pig, please visit the New Zealand Kunekune Association.