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Pedigree KuneKune Pigs

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HISTORY

The KuneKune (pronounced cooney-cooney)  Pig breed was once near certain extinction. These delightful pigs were only found near the Maori Islands of New Zealand. They were kept by the Maori people and were allowed to roam around their villages.

The origin of the breed is somewhat uncertain, as there is a lack of documented information on its introduction and early population numbers in New Zealand. The general consensus is that the KuneKune were probably brought to New Zealand in the 1800's by whalers operating in New Zealand waters, and were traded with the Maoris. Pigs with similar characteristics occur in Asia, South America, and the Polynesian Islands, but the resemblance is slight and suggestive only of a possible common ancestry.  

The history of the breed is one of a close association with the Maori people, and in the early 1900's were usually only found associated with Maori settlements. In early times the KuneKune were prized for their placid nature and their tendency not to roam, as they have always been a domesticated pig.


 

In the late 1970's the breed was 'rediscovered' and at that time it was estimated that there were only about 50 purebred KuneKunes left in New Zealand. From purebred base stock of only 6 sows and 3 boars in 1978, the KuneKune conservation program was created by wildlife park owners Michael Willis and John Simister.  These two gentlemen single handedly saved the breed from extinction.   Once more herds were established in New Zealand, it became clear that exporting of the breed was important. They were afraid that if disease or other natural disasters struck in New Zealand this would wipe the breed out completely.  In 1992 the first KuneKunes left New Zealand to go to the UK.  Additional stock was sent to the UK in 1993 & 1996.  

All KuneKunes in the United States go back to either direct New Zealand or UK imported stock.  There have been five importations of KuneKune pigs into the USA occurring in 1996, 2005, 2010, and 2012. 

The KuneKunes are known for their extremely docile and friendly personality which is unmatched by any other breed of swine.  They are extremely outgoing and love human interaction.  They are a grazing breed of swine and as such prefer to graze on grass.  Their short and upturned snouts make them suitable grazers and less prone to rooting found in other breeds.  KuneKunes are known for having 2 wattles (much like goats) found under their chin.  They have little to no desire to roam and do not test fencing.  KuneKunes are still fairly rare in the USA, but are gaining popularity very quickly, finding their niche in many different markets.

 

BREED STANDARDS

The vision should be unobstructed, except by possible forward inclined ears.

The snout, mouth, and teeth should be suitable for foraging and grazing.

The overall weight of the pig should be such that it is comfortable and able to run.  The goal would be to have a pig that is healthy over all other things.

 

  • HEAD: face broad and dished, a short to medium snout and teeth suitable for grazing.

  • EARS: erect or flopped, inclined forward.

  • WATTLES: two, well formed and well attached.

  • NECK: short to medium, jowl light to medium. 

  • BODY: shoulders level and in proportion, chest moderately wide between the legs, and well rounded hams.

  • BACK: strong, level or slightly arched.  

  • TAIL: a natural tail, set high

  • LEGS: straight, well set, able to support the size. Pasterns strong and resilient. The ability to walk well with a good straight action.

  • FEET: strong, closed, and even.

  • SKIN/HAIR: Healthy, coat color matching one of the recognized colors on the AKKPS color chart.

  • SEXUAL CHARACTERISTICS: Female; a sow should have at least 10 evenly spaced teats Male; a boar should exhibit masculine characteristics and spaced teats.

  • TEMPERAMENT: friendly, calm, placid natured.

To learn more about KuneKune Conformation visit AKKPS American KuneKune Pig Society - Conformation

 

COLOR

KuneKunes come in an array of colors.  The dominant color comes first, followed by the secondary color.

The AKKPS recognized colors are:

Cream, Ginger, Black, Brown, Ginger/Black, Black/Ginger, Tri, Black/White, White/Black, Brown/White, White/Brown

 

Click below to learn more about AKKPS's guide to colors:

https://americankunekunepigsociety.com/AKKPS-Color-chart-help-guide/?fbclid=IwAR0-OZEF6yVk-LHCnRjo3UpQR2-LTwTcHxOCnuo_gjBZn69vaX1yQ2vrj6M

 

WHY REGISTERED STOCK IS IMPORTANT

The only way to know for certain that your pig is purebred is to purchase a registered pig. Without that verification there is no certainty your pig is 100% Kunekune. Purchasing a registered Kunekune ensures that you will get the Kunekune qualities that we love! It also helps maintain and preserve the breed as we can continue to track pigs for generations to come. We only sell registered AKKPS KuneKunes. Even our kunekunes sold as pets will be registered as pets.

HOUSING/SHELTERS, FENCING, AND PASTURE MANAGEMENT

HOUSING / SHELTER

  • Shelters can be quite simple like a calf hutch or fancy like a state-of-the-art farrowing barn with stalls, isles and running water!  In any case the shelter should be designed to protect your pig from any extremes in weather.   Pigs tolerate about the same temperature extremes as we do.  In the winter they will need a deep layer of dry bedding to snuggle down into.  In the hot summer months, shade and cool water are crucial.

FENCING

  • At our farm we have learned do it right the first time to save future frustrations! We utilize metal hog fence panels with T-posts installed at 4' o.c. This way we know it can withstand the boars abuse when there is a sow in heat near by. The best method is to keep sows and boars separated by a gap or different location on your property.

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PASTURE MANAGEMENT

  • At our farm we have several dedicated pastures where we keep our pigs year round. During the spring and fall we over seed these areas to promote new growth for future foraging. We do from time to time remove pigs from these areas to allow more growth but feel it is not necessary. 

  • Pasture management can also be accomplished by utilizing electric fence and a rotational grazing strategy.

  • Your regional location and land availability will greatly determine how to manage your pastures.

  • A great "Hack" for seeding is using a deer food plot seed mix which provides a wide varity of plant seed material for planting.

 

HEALTH

A GENERAL DISCLAIMER ON HEALTH

  • In general, if you notice something off with your pig (lethargic, not eating, vomiting, etc.), we recommend you consult your veterinarian (especially in an emergency) or Catlett Creek Acres right away. Going online or looking to social media could give you numerous unreliable answers. It is a good idea to establish a relationship with a veterinarian PRIOR to an emergency so that the vet will know you and your animals and have a good idea of what is ‘normal’. 

WHAT VACCINATIONS DO I GIVE MY PIG?

  • This will depend on your specific area and what health threats your pig might encounter in their lifetime. Many Kunekune owners don't give any vaccinations to their pigs, however it is best to speak to one of your local large animal/farm veterinarians, and Catlett Creek Acres to see what we recommend for your area.

MY PIG IS LOSING HAIR ON ITS BACK. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

  • This could mean any manner of things. Your pig could be shedding its coat (a normal thing), it might have mites, a zinc deficiency, or even mange. The best first course of action here would be to completely change its bedding and consider giving a dose of wormer that will kill mites. Any further hair loss should be brought to a veterinarian's attention. 

 

MY PIG WILL NOT LET ME GIVE IT AN INJECTION, WHAT DO I DO? 

  • Some stubborn pigs will require them to be restrained to administer injections. This can be done in a number of ways. You could have a large friend help you "flip" your pig for you to give an injection. This is where you forcibly put your pig on its back and physically restrain it in order to administer an injection. You could also buy or build a swine chute to restrain the pig while you inject it. There are also products such as the Slap-Shot that lets the pig move around while you give an injection. Some medications can also be given orally inserted in a treat like bread. Be sure to consult with your vet because some medication dosages may change if given orally, and may affect the animal differently.

 

DOES MY PIG NEED TO BE DEWORMED? HOW OFTEN?

  • Most vaccination schedules call for regular deworming of your pigs. Worming medication can be administered orally or by injection, with injection being more effective against things like skin mites. To determine a schedule and which type of wormer to use, it is recommend you consult your vet and consider getting a fecal analysis done. The fecal analysis will tell you how heavy your worm load is and what kinds of worms you are dealing with.

 
 

FARROWING & FARROWING QUARTERS

Farrowing areas should offer protection from cold, wind, rain and snow.  They should have crush rails and a creep area with heat lamps.  Putting a rubber mat on the floor with reflective insulation underneath is a great way to redirect that heat back to the piglets and to momma.  Making a heat barrel or heat box in the corner is another great way to redirect the heat toward the little ones.  Farrowing in the heart of winter requires preparation and attentiveness as you know the piglets will always come on the coldest of days!

FEEDING

KuneKunes are a very hardy animal and can fatten on grazing alone.  They need very little in the weigh of supplemental grain.  What is important is to remember that KuneKunes are a slower to mature breed that do best with 16% and under protein levels in their grain/feed.  They also enjoy alfalfa hay but, you must be very careful as this is quite fattening.

While Kunes can thrive on quality pasture and hay, your pig will also need a good quality pig food which is specifically balanced for its age and needs.  Young pigs require higher protein levels to support growth and development in addition to different minerals and vitamins that are not always found in feed for other species.  If your pig is pregnant or nursing, it will require extra calcium to support fetal growth and milk production.  Boars generally can get by on a maintenance diet.  It is never a good idea to feed goat, chicken or cattle feed to any of your pigs.  The salt content is much higher, and you will risk salt poisoning your pig.  There are many feed mills that make pig feed for all stages of the pig’s life.  Pigs also enjoy occasional treats of fruits and vegetables, and can be supplemented with things like spent beer grains, whey/waste milk, and windfall produce, but be cautious in feeding snacks and never feed unhealthy food scraps (high salt, high fat, low nutritional value). If it is junk food for you it will be for your pig too!

We feed Blue Seal Pig and Sow but I will sub out with Purina Nature's Match occasionally.

 
 

BREEDING & REPRODUCTION

MY KUNE BOAR AND GILT HAVE LIVED TOGETHER FOR X AMOUNT OF MONTHS/YEARS. HOW COME THEY ARE NOT BREEDING? 

  • As much as you want your pigs to have companions to keep them company, it is better practice to keep your gilts/sows and boars separate from each other. A young gilt and boar sharing the same pasture and living quarters tend to become room mates and not breeding mates. If you have a pair that will not breed, here are some things to try in order to give them a ‘jump start’.

  • Separate the two so that they do not have fence-line contact. This might have to be for a few months if necessary. A little separation makes the heart grow fonder. When your gilt/sow is ready for breeding, allow fence-line contact by penning the boar adjacent to the female(s). Nose-to-nose contact with each other through the fence allows them to become more comfortable with each other and reduces fighting between them. Fence line exposure can also cause females to begin their cycle.

  • Sometimes introducing the gilt/sow to the boars area gives him more confidence in approaching the female.

  • Jealousy is a good thing. A little competition from another boar can get the fire going. Have another boar (experienced is better) share a fence line with the newlyweds to bring the level of competition up a notch.

  • Wait until the gilt/sow is in standing heat before introducing the boar. (apply back pressure to tell if she is in estrus, if she stands still she is in standing heat and should accept the boar mounting)

  • Take the gilt/sow on a little joy ride, literally. An old trick is to load up the females and take a nice little drive around town or get some errands done. Unload the females right into the breeding pen. This often triggers responses in the gilts.

HOW OLD DOES YOUR KUNE HAVE TO BE TO BREED? 

  • Kunes can reach sexual maturity around 8 months of age, but that does not mean they will attempt to breed or should be bred at that age. Decisions to breed, for gilts especially, should be based on size and structure. For some gilts this might be 12-13 months and others closer to 18 months. To prevent any unwanted pregnancies, gilts and boars should be separated by 6 months of age. Boars CAN breed though fence lines. Make sure to provide adequate space and fencing to ensure only planned breedings occur. Sows are able to have up to 2 litters / year, but each sow should be evaluated for health and body condition before deciding to re-breed.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MATING WAS SUCCESSFUL?

  • There are a few signs to look for to indicate a successful breeding has taken place. Nothing is as accurate as visually seeing the breeding occur, thus a point to be made for hand breeding, which means placing the female in standing heat together with the male, witnessing the breeding and returning the them to their separate pens. But if that is not possible you can also look for the following:

  • Following a completed service, a “semen plug” may appear in the vulva. Formed from ejaculate material it prevents semen from leaking out.

  • You may also notice a pronounced flour-paste smell.

  • Look for hair disruption on the back of the gilt/sow, which indicates mounting has occurred

  • The tail of the gilt/sow will often be wet.

HOW LONG IS GESTATION?

  • A kunekune sow is pregnant for an average of 116 days, 2 days more than larger breeds. You will often hear farmers say 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days

SHOULD I FEED MY PREGNANT GILT/SOW DIFFERENTLY DURING PREGNANCY AND LACTATION?

  • For the first two-thirds of gestation embryo growth is minimal so a gilt/sow in good condition prior to breeding should be kept on maintenance ration. If it is very cold weather the female might need a little extra to help maintain condition.

  • During the last trimester, the fetal litter makes its greatest surge of growth and the demand on the sow’s reserves increases dramatically. These demands will continue through lactation. Increase the sows ration by 25% - 50%.

MY SOW REJECTED MY PIGLETS/I AM CARING FOR PIGLETS UNDER 8 WEEKS OLD, WHAT DO I DO?

  • Caring for rejected/orphaned piglets is very difficult. It requires feeding special formula or milk every 2 hours for at least a few weeks, and keeping piglets warm, likely in your house. Feeding should be done VERY carefully as piglets can aspirate milk and quickly die from pneumonia. Pan feeding is recommended as quickly as possible.

*DISCLAIMER

The information provided is from our own experience raising KuneKune pigs, and should not be represented or interpreted as a replacement for your own research or veterinary care under any circumstance. Catlett Creek Acres is NOT responsible for any animals off of our property. Please contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding care.