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How to pick your KuneKune Breeding Stock

Selecting KuneKune Breeding Stock

Choosing the right breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm is crucial for success. This ultimate guide provides expert tips and advice to help you make the best decisions when selecting KuneKune Breeding Stock. This guide will give you things to consider that you may not have thought of.

Selecting KuneKune breeding stock

Introduction to Selecting KuneKune pigs

Breeding KuneKune pigs is a highly satisfying and potentially profitable venture. However, to achieve success, it's crucial to select the right breeding stock. Breeding stock refers to the pigs you choose to breed, and it's important to select the best ones to ensure healthy and productive offspring.

When selecting breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you need to ensure that the pigs you choose are healthy and free from any diseases or genetic disorders. You can achieve this by conducting regular health checks and obtaining veterinary certificates to ensure the health and well-being of your pigs.

Another factor to consider when selecting breeding stock is temperament. KuneKune pigs are known for their gentle and friendly nature, and you want to select pigs that exhibit these traits. This will make handling and breeding much easier, and ensure a more enjoyable experience for you and your pigs.

Additionally, you need to consider the growth rate, size, and weight of your breeding stock. KuneKune pigs are typically smaller than other breeds, so you want to select pigs that are of a suitable size and weight for breeding. You also want to select pigs that have a good growth rate, which will result in healthy and productive offspring.

Finally, you need to consider the genetic diversity of your breeding stock. Inbreeding can cause genetic disorders and health issues in offspring, so it's important to select pigs with diverse genetics to avoid these problems.

By considering these factors and following expert tips and advice, you can make well-informed decisions when selecting breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm.

Understand the breed standards and traits.

When starting a KuneKune pig farm, it's essential to understand the breed standards and traits before selecting breeding stock. KuneKune pigs are popular for their docile nature, smaller size, and distinctive appearance. They have a short snout, wattles (also known as tassels) under their chin, and a rotund body shape. When choosing breeding stock, it's important to look for pigs that meet these standards and exhibit desirable traits such as good temperament, strong conformation, and good mothering abilities. Additionally, it's crucial to consider any potential health issues or genetic defects that may be present in the bloodline.

It's worth noting that some KuneKune registries have restrictions on the registration of unwattled or single-wattle piglets. However, the International KuneKune Pig Society (IKKPS) allows breeders to decide whether they want to register unwattled or single-wattled piglets.

Research the bloodlines and genetics.

When selecting breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm, it’s important to research the bloodlines and genetics of the pigs you are considering. Look for pigs with a strong pedigree and good genetic diversity to avoid inbreeding and potential health issues. It’s also important to consider any genetic defects or health issues that may be present in the bloodline, such as susceptibility to certain diseases or structural issues. Working with a reputable breeder or consulting with an experienced breeder can help you make informed decisions about the genetics of your breeding stock.

In IKKPS, we will even help you find good candidates for new breeding programs or existing breeding programs as needed. There is no charge for this service. There is a ton of information on our website under the About KuneKunes page and four additional pages under that tab as under the Blog/News tab there are

Also, there are many articles that help you to educate yourself before you purchase your first pigs.

Utilizing the KuneKune Registries online herd book is a great tool to aid in your research. IKKPS has a multifaceted online herd book. You will see common ancestors are highlighted in assorted colors, COIs are listed, AVKs are listed, completeness of pedigree and most importantly, you can see photos of the animals within the pedigree. IKKPS is the only registry that offers not only photos on registrations but also shows pictures within the pedigrees. This is a work in progress since IKKPS is new and as more KuneKunes are registered you will begin to see more added.

Evaluate the physical characteristics and health of potential breeding stock.

In addition to researching the genetics of potential breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm, it’s important to evaluate their physical characteristics and overall health. Look for pigs with good conformation, including straight legs, a level back, and a well-proportioned body.

Check for any signs of illness or injury, such as coughing, sneezing, or limping. It’s also important to ensure that the pigs have been properly vaccinated and dewormed. Take your time and do not rush into purchases. 

Learn the breed standards and evaluate photos to begin to have an eye for conformation. Important to note, IKKPS offers monthly learning opportunities for members and one we frequently learn more about is conformation. Consider attending some of the learning opportunities offered.

Consider the temperament and behavior of the pigs.

When selecting breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm, it’s important to consider their temperament and behavior. Look for pigs that are friendly, calm, and easy to handle. Aggressive or skittish pigs can be difficult to work with and may pass on these traits to their offspring. In general, KuneKunes enjoy human interaction and learn to trust their owners quickly. If you cannot be personally present to purchase your KuneKunes ask for many different views in photos and even videos of your potential new pigs.

Spend time observing the pigs in their natural environment to get a sense of their behavior and temperament. You may also want to consider the temperament and behavior of the pig’s parents, as these traits can be inherited. Likewise, it can also be the breeder has not spent much time with the piglets if they are nervous and/or skittish.  This does not mean that they will not come around with you as you spend time with them and build trust.

Look for reputable breeders and ask for references.

When selecting breeding stock for your KuneKune pig farm, it’s important to work with reputable breeders. Look for breeders who have a good reputation in the industry and who have experience breeding KuneKune pigs. Ask for references and speak with other farmers who have purchased breeding stock from the breeder. This can give you valuable insights into the quality of the pigs and the breeder’s reputation for customer service and support. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research before making a purchase.

It is important to note that just because a breeder is new does not mean that you should not purchase from them.  It just means they may not be as knowledgeable

as experienced breeders.  Asking questions will help you determine the level of experience as well as asking those questions about how long they have been breeding.

IKKPS – Guaranteed Registrations by using the Sales Contract.

When an IKKPS breeder uses the IKKPS member sales contract (customized for their own farm), you are guaranteed that if the breeder does not follow through with the registration process, IKKPS will step in to assist members and non-members with registrations. We will not even charge you a registration fee to do so. This, of course, does not include the cost of permanent identification (microchip, etc.) or DNA cost. However, we will work with you to get them done and explain every step of the process.

What should you look for in selecting your new KuneKune.

Please keep in mind the following points while examining KuneKunes:

1. Make sure that the KuneKune is up on all hooves and not flat-footed. The hoof should be closed and not spread wide apart.

2. Evaluate the back to ensure that it is level to slightly arched.

3. Check the teats to ensure that they are nice and even. This is particularly important for females. However, since genetics come from both parents, it is equally important for the boars.

4. The KuneKune should have a thick snout that is moderately short in length. Be careful with extremely short snouts, as they can affect breathing and the pig's ability to have enough room for their teeth, which can lead to abscesses.

5. If you are purchasing older stock, make sure to check males for both testicles. In piglets, this is harder, but you should be able to feel if not see both testicles in male piglets.

6. Check the eyes to ensure that they are clear and there is no discharge or cloudiness.

Discuss Warranties or guarantees.

Make sure that you talk with your potential breeder about any warranties they offer on their pigs such as what they do regarding a male not dropping both testicles and if after you receive your pig there is a hereditary issue that prevents the animal from breeding. The best time to discuss these types of situations is BEFORE there is an issue. Do not be surprised if a breeder does not offer a reproductive guarantee. As many factors can determine if a pig breeds or not, this type of guarantee is not offered beyond guaranteeing that a boar has two testicles. Environmental factors can influence the reproduction of KuneKunes such

how you feed, what you feed, and your overall management of your herd.

Important things to consider.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect pig or piglet. Each animal has its own set of traits that may need improvement. Hence, it is crucial to carefully choose the breeding partner. For instance, if your sow has a low tail set, you would want to mate her with a boar that has a high tail set to address this issue in the piglets.

When selecting new pigs to add to your herd, it is essential to evaluate your existing stock carefully. Make it a point to choose pigs that complement and/or correct the weaknesses in your current stock.

Adult vs piglets.

When you are getting a piglet as breeding stock, there is no guarantee on how this pig will turn out as they mature. Not every piglet is meant for breeding stock. The breeder uses their own experiences and knowledge of their bloodlines to estimate how the piglet will turn out and evaluates what they are seeing in the piglets at this time. This is not a guarantee that the piglet will turn out as expected.

Purchasing adults for a breeding program can have many benefits such as being able to see their conformation, strengths, and weaknesses. This can be a bit more costly as the breeder has invested more in raising them thus far. 

It is particularly important to pay attention to adults being sold. If a pig is a great producer, then consideration of why they are even parting with the pig in the first place should be carefully considered. Is the boar busting out of the fencing? Is he difficult to handle? Has he not been producing well? For sows – have they been

difficult to get pregnant? Are they difficult to handle? Issues with them farrowing?

Consider this when selecting adults.

These are important considerations as you do not wish to purchase someone else’s problem. This is where it is important to know your breeder and their reputation.

Using the herd book as a tool, you can evaluate their litter sizes, COI, and AVK and see how many piglets were sold as breeding stock from the litters if they have produced offspring already.

It is important to note that sometimes a breeder may be reducing herd size or replacing a parent with their piglet and no longer need

the male or female. Ideally for most breeders each litter is better. When the piglet is nicer than the parent this is a time that most experienced breeders retain their own piglet, they breed with the parent. That is how you can improve. This could be why they are selling adults. They could also not like a particular bloodline or that boar or sow no longer works in their own program.

Don’t be afraid to ask those important questions to determine if the adult is being “pawned off” or if there is a valid reason for selling

them. If a breeder is offended by any of your questions, they may not be a good fit for you to purchase from. Contact the next breeder on your list.

In Conclusion

There are so many things to consider when you are adding KuneKunes to your farming ventures and even adding additional members to your herd. We hope that you have found this article helpful in selecting your next KuneKunes. Remember that we are happy to answer your questions and offer guidance so do not hesitate to reach out to us at ikkpsinfo@gmail.com should you need assistance.

Further Information & Resources

The BKKPS, British KuneKune Pig Society has done some great videos on choosing breeding stock.  I am providing links to those videos below. 

Take some time to learn more about KuneKune conformation and how to select your KuneKunes to add to your herd. There are several videos on the button below from legs and feet to teat positions and alignments to selecting piglets and more. Take a few moments and check it out.

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