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  • Writer's pictureCatlett Creek Acres

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Kunekunes in 2022 by Kate Belbeck

#5 - Temperament Kunekunes are a very personable breed of pig. They thrive on human attention and interaction. They are also very social in their own herds and do best with a buddy. We find kunekunes to be very easy to work with for this reason. Ours are content to follow “their people” between pastures unconfined and once in their area, are very respectful of whatever type of fencing they are in. A kunekune’s personality also make them excellent mothers. They birth easily and independently (though we do love to be there for farrowing!). They generally trust people whom are interacting with their piglets which makes it easier to access the piglets to do the necessary examinations and procedures (such as iron injections or vaccines).

#4 - Help preserve a rare breed! Did you know that in the late 1970s there were thought to be less than 100 kunekunes left in the world? Thankfully, 2 individuals, Michael Willis and John Simister took an interest in preserving the breed. They scoured New Zealand to find the kunekunes that would act as a foundation for their breeding program. After exporting the KuneKune to the UK, and subsequently the US and Canada, the population today is stable, partly in thanks to the many roles and purposes that this breed can fill! The population will only continue to stay stable with a dedicated groups of people continuing to breed and register these wonderful pigs! Read about their history and watch the video from John Simister himself here:

# 3 They are a multi-purpose pig Because of their characteristics, kunekunes can find their purpose in a variety of different programs and environments - kunekunes are prized for their temperaments and make great pets on small homesteads or in petting/educational “zoos”. Because of their smaller size, they find their niche on small farms and some even live as house pigs! And their superb meat quality and their grazing ability makes them an excellent pastured pork producer!

#2 Superb Meat Quality Kunekunes are what is known as a lard pig, they are slow to mature and carry a heavy fat covering. What this translates to in terms of meat is a dark red, extremely well marbled pork. It is rich, buttery and “melt in your mouth” goodness. They are also prized for the quality of their lard for cooking/crafting (soap making and other body products for example), and their meat makes excellent charcuterie options. While it does take longer for them to reach butcher weight (ranges from 12-18 months), this is offset by their feeding requirements and ease in keeping.

#1 Feed Efficiency Kunekunes are a true grazing pig! Their upturned snouts make them adept at grazing pastures without the destruction of other pig breeds, they are much less likely to root. Additionally, as a smaller breed, they consume significantly less feed to reach their market weight than their other heritage or commercial breed counterparts, even when factoring in the extended growth period. In fact, the kunekune, which means “fat and round” in Māori, has a propensity to get fat and as such, they shouldn’t be free-fed a grower ration like other breeds. Apparent “fast growth” that actually translates to excess fat deposits are something to be cautious of, obesity can be very misleading!

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