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 no 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 alfalfa pellets, 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. And they don’t need worming or vaccinating to be healthy. They truly are the perfect pig!