Kunekune pigs were raised in New Zealand by the native Mauri tribe for hundreds of years, and with no knowledge of their origin. It became apparent in the early 1980s that the Kunekune population was dwindling, and this was a concern to New Zealand and British Heritage pig breeders.
A Kunekune preserve was established in New Zealand and British swine geneticists transported five pigs that still had pure bloodlines, over to England and worked to expand on the few bloodlines they had acquired.
Kunes were bought to the USA in the 1990s where dedicated Heritage pig breeders continued the work done in the UK, and now we have Kune pig breeders throughout America and Europe. The future population of these wonderful, gentle pigs are not in danger and their extinction has been averted.
Kunekune are considered “Heirloom” or “Heritage” pigs, meaning that the bloodlines have never been crossed with any other breed of pig or altered genetically.
This means that pure Kune bloodlines have been carefully diversified by knowledgeable breeders, insuring good health, conformation and character. This benefits the breeders, pet owners, distinguished chefs and pork lovers.
Pigs are very intelligent animals, about the equivalent of a three year old human. Much smarter than a dog, and easier to train! Kunes are smaller in stature than commercial pigs, have short stocky legs, round belly, broad faces, short noses, and pricked or lopped ears. (Kunekune means “round and fat” in the Maori language).
They come in three colors, black, cream and ginger and, of course, combinations of all three colors. Their hair can be short, long or curly and on each side of the jowls you will see a hanging wattle, or Piri Piri, as the natives call them.
No one knows the purpose of the Piri Piri, ancient breeds of pigs used to have them, but, supposedly, it may be a sign of fat content. This all gives a cute “teddy bear” appearance to the Kune.
Kunekunes are small but not miniature. Not to be confused with “tea cup” or “mini” pigs, as those may be bred by using runts or under developed piglets. This can cause possible health problems
We develop pet pigs by mating healthy and naturally small in stature pigs. They take two years to develop to maturity, so you get lots of “piglet” time. At weaning, (about eight weeks old) they can leave Mom and will weigh about 8-10 lbs and grow to about the size of a medium dog.
As small piglets many owners allow the pet into the house. They love the company of humans and like to “hang”. A doggie door can be installed to allow the piglet to go in and out to do his business. Pigs are very clean, and like to “go” outdoors, in the furthest corner of the property. They will never defecate where they sleep or eat. But just like human babies, they may have accidents when they are little.
Since they are livestock, pet pigs will prefer to be outside as they get older, especially in the daylight hours. Food, water, shade, shelter, and a summer mud pond should be provided outside. Cold, snow or light rain will not bother them, and are actually preferable to heated houses. Please read the “Care and Vetting” section below for info on vet care, feeding and more.
Piglets can learn to walk in a harness (do not use a neck collar) and will love to receive “belly rubs” and take naps with you! Kunes love humans innately. Being raised by New Zealand tribesmen, they would have been a part of everyday human life, eating, sleeping, and playing with humans.
All pets are registered, certified, of DNA-proved parentage, microchipped, and inoculated.
Usually minimal vetting is required, but get to know your local large animal vet. Small pigs can be transported in a dog carrier to the vet’s office. As long as the pigs are fed properly, have a dry, draft-free shelter and constant clean water, good health should follow. They must be wormed in the spring and the fall. You can use swine worming pellets for regular worm management, but for worm infestation or mange, a shot will be required. Pigs can get colds and bronchitis so check for runny noses, cough, loss of appetite and lethargy. A shot of penicillin and some TLC usually takes care of the problem.
Hooves may need clipping occasionally. Use a goat hoof clipper and trim around the edges. Brush backs with coconut solid oil for flaky skin. Keep eyes and ears clean with a damp cloth. Treat small cuts or injuries with hydrogen peroxide. Boar’s tusks are not teeth but part of the jaw. If they become pointed, use a dermal tool to round them off. They can be cut down significantly with a diamond wire saw.
Pigs are livestock and prefer the great outdoors. Their natural habitat is woodland and pasture. To protect them from wandering, a fence is a must. They will need a dry shelter: a large dog house, shed, pig shelter, or dome with no cold drafts, filled with straw for bedding. They will chew the straw to break it down to make thick bedding layers, so make sure there is new fluffy straw on top so the pig can burrow under in freezing weather. During hot weather, shade and mud wallows are a must, pigs have no sweat glands. Kiddie paddling pools are useful.
Swine have few natural predators, depending on where you live. Try picking up a piglet and see what happens ... High-pitched squealing and wiggling! Enough to scare away raccoons, foxes, and some dogs. They carry a thick layer of fat and have thick necks and can move really fast when they want to! Take care of newborns for a few weeks, they are vulnerable. Keep them and Mom locked up at night.
Pigs are omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything. They will beg for food constantly. Don’t give in! A pig will grow as big as you feed it, and an overweight pig in not a healthy one. They will need hog pellets daily (these provide vitamins, minerals, and protein) but only a small amount! ½ to 1 cup per day each! Kunes are grass eaters and will fatten on grass. They love all kinds of fruit and vegetables. Give them hay in the winter. Feed them all your kitchen peelings and food scraps but avoid meat and poultry. Raw meat might encourage cannibalism.
Funnily, pigs won’t eat onions, garlic, hot peppers, or (in some cases) cabbage. Don’t worry about fruit pits, they will spit them out. For treats, they appreciate Cheerios and shelled peanuts. Shells and all. Kunes will also chew soil for small bugs, minerals and iron.
There are no dirty pigs, just bad pig owners. Pigs are clean animals and never defecate where they sleep or eat. Even in deep snow, they will leave the hut and go to a far corner to do their “business." Swine have no sweat glands and have to roll in clean mud when it’s hot to cool off and cover themselves in a mud sunblock! Hence the reputation of being dirty. Daily picking up of feces is a good idea, especially in hot weather, and make a compost pile and mix in any used straw. Your garden will thank you. No problem if your pigs roam in large acres. Nature will take care of the droppings.
Please contact us with any questions about pigs, pets, breeding stock, or meat. Also get in touch with us for a tour of the farm and pigs! We will be happy to help you choose a pet pig, and answer questions about care and housing.
East Moriches NY 11940
GPS and Google Maps directions ...
GPS: N.40 deg 48' 34.5" by W. 72 deg 44' 49.5" Coming from the West, New York, Nassau County or Western Suffolk Sunrise Hwy to Exit 61. Make right to County Road 51. Continue south to Montauk Hwy. (3 mins) Make right on Montauk Hwy, go under train trestle, make first left (Woodlawn Ave) Go 1/2 mile, farm on right. Coming from the East, (Hamptons, North Fork, Riverhead) Sunrise Hwy to exit 62 (no ramp at exit 61) Take service road to Manor Road, make right, then make left onto County Road 51. Continue south to Montauk Hwy, make right, go under train trestle. Make first left onto Woodlawn Ave. Go 1/2 mile, farm on right.