KuneKunes: The Perfect Pig

We bought our first pigs in 2009, and they were Yorkshires.  My husband and I were so excited at the idea of all the bacon in our future.  And pork chops.  And ham sam’iches.  Not to mention the thrill of adding a new animal to our farm.We were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say.

Well, that lasted about four hours once we actually had them in our possession.  And by day seven, all the romanticizing was gone.  We bought four adults, and everything about them was a challenge!  They were way too big to manage without help.  They looked at fencing as a personal challenge.  They were extremely destructive to our land.  The feed bill felt like a new monthly payment, and it was impossible to keep their feed clean (which made the idea of eating them “hard to swallow.”)  And then there was the smell.

Over the following years, we would try three more breeds of pig, and each time be left feeling the same way:  “I’d so much rather buy my pork than raise it!”

And then we heard about Kunekunes.  With skeptical attitudes we read up on them.  Could it be true?  A pig that, full grown, is a manageable size?  A breed that doesn’t root?  There’s very little feed bill?  They don’t test your fencing?  They’re clean and friendly?  We mustered up all the hope for homegrown pork that we had left, and decided to try one last time.

What we found changed everything!  Kunekunes are everything they’re said to be!  And more!

Our first two Kunekunes were both adults, a boar and a sow.  We had a pen to put them in for a few days until they learned us a little, and we learned them.  From the very first moments we met them, we fell in love!

They walked peacefully out of the trailer into the pen.  Totally new experience for us.  They didn’t even flinch when I reached down and petted them.  Could this be real?  We came back to check on them the next day, and not one piece of ground was turned over from rooting!  I could feel myself dreaming of pork again!  And then, a couple days later, one of our boys forgot to lock the gate, and our boar had gotten out.  “Here we go,” I thought, “a pig is out” (words I had learned to dread over the years).

I rushed outside, only to find him quietly grazing on some grass near the fence.  I had a bucket of feed, and I shook it.  That’s all it took; from that point, he walked right behind me all the way until he was back in the fence.  No six-person game plan needed.  No sweating.  No running.  Nothing.  I knew then that I had found the breed of pig I had been hoping for.

In addition to everything else, Kunekunes are an older breed with a lot of diversity, untouched by commercial breeding systems, making them extremely healthy.  They have pet-like temperaments.  You can put as many as six on a healthy acre of land.  They truly are the perfect pig!

14 responses

  1. Hello! Welcome to the world of ‘farmsteading!’ There’s no other that’s better, in my opinion! 2×4 field fencing would be adequate for all stages of kunekune life. 4×4 would be adequate for all stages, except the first month or so of life, when the piglets are still very small. Goats are little “Houdini’s” so if your fencing is keeping them in, then it will be sure to keep in your kunes!

    admin says:
  2. Hi from Oklahoma! I just stumbled across your blog while looking up kunes. My husband and I are considering buying a pair from our friend! We are new to farmsteading and seem to want to jump in quickly to all sorts of animals haha! This is great info you have here! I do have a question. What do you think is the least amount of fencing required? We use either 2×4 or 4×4 field fence to keep our goats in. Would that be adequate?

    Chelsee says:
  3. We use a swine feed from a local feed mill. But there are many options you can use. If you don’t have a local feed mill, then you can get swine feed from Tractor Supply. They also carry a mini-pig feed that would do good, too. Best wishes with your new kunekunes!

    admin says:
  4. Hi Can i ask what feed you use please. we are rehoming 2 8 month old kune kune tomorrow. Starting from scratch but want to give them a good home. x

    Debra Hammond's says:
  5. Absolutely! It was good talking to you, and I’m looking forward to your farm visit in the near future!

    admin says:
  6. We are in Huntsville can we see the pigs before we purchase?

    Greg Parrish says:
  7. Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m so glad to know it has been a help to you! I truly hope you get to experience kunekunes first-hand. I’ve got a strong feeling you’ll LOVE them more than you expect to!

    admin says:
  8. I just really appreciated the blog and the video. Both were well done! I am looking into Kune Kunes. We raised heritage breed feeder pigs before, and the meat makes me want to try again. But otherwise, the whole experience was not my favorite although ours never tested our electric fencing. Im excited to continue to learn about the breed and see if it will find a home on our farm.

    Ruth Schneider says:
  9. Thank you so much!!

    admin says:
  10. Thank you so much! It’s always nice to open up the computer and find a little note of encouragement! I truly appreciate it!

    admin says:
  11. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to
    write a little comment to support you.

    Luther says:
  12. A seasonal campground?! How neat! I bet Kunekunes would be a big hit with your guests, because they are so friendly–which most people don’t expect from pigs! As far as the cold weather goes, I know that they would do well as long as you were to take the necessary precautions (just the basic precautions that you probably already have in place for your other animals). Shelter, food supplementing, and heat for new piglets. Being from North Alabama, we don’t have much in the way of snow very often, which I know is definitely not the case in Northern WY! However, I know MANY people who live in your climate areas…and even further north…who raise Kunekunes and do it successfully year after year. It’s nothing unusual to find them out rummaging through the snow. I would definitely suggest getting at least two Kunekunes, though. First of all, they are a ‘herd’ animal, and most definitely prefer the company of at least one other pig. Not only does it make for happier pigs, but it also helps them to stay warm in the overnight hours of the winter months, because they sleep piled together in groups if given the opportunity. I hope this helps! And of course, we would love to be the ones to help you start your Kunekune herd when you’re ready! We have several litters due over the next few months! If you have any other questions, please feel free to message or call!

    admin says:
  13. Hello, Very cool! We too are looking into a kune kune or two. We run a seasonal campground in N Wy. Our guests love our “herd” of 2 llamas, and 6 nigerian goats. How do they do in cold weather? We one do ok with our herd or should we get two? Many thanks!

    Pete says:
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    papaya says:

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