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KuneKunes: Frequently Asked Questions

Have you ever dreamed of owning a charming, curly-tailed KuneKune pig for your farm? Look no further than the KuneKune pig!

These adorable natives of New Zealand are winning hearts with their gentle nature, rotund physique, and comical personalities. Then KuneKunes: Frequently Asked Questions is your one-stop for all your questions.

So, let's satisfy your curiosity, grab your virtual snout, and explore the wonderful world of Kunekune pigs! So, let's dig in for answers.

Get Answers to your burning Questions about KuneKune Pigs.

Frequently Asked Questions on KuneKune Pigs.

Dive into our frequently asked questions and answers below. We have provided convenient links to additional articles and information where available.

General Questions

What is a KuneKune?

A KuneKune is a multipurpose, heritage, grazing pig with a docile temperament, friendly demeanor, and ease of handling for first-time pig owners. The word KuneKune means fat and round in the Māori language. They are spreading throughout farms across the globe.

What is the proper spelling of KuneKune?

First, the correct way is KuneKunes. You will see KuneKune written out in many forms including kune, kune pig, cooney cooney, kuni kuni, kuhn kuhn pigs, khune, khune khune pigs, and kune kune, Kunekune... the list goes on. The proper way to write KuneKune is just that capital Kune no space capital Kune. It is pronounced "Koo-knee Koo-knee". One Canadian organization will usually use Kunekune.

Where does the KuneKune originate?

They are from New Zealand. Early on they were originally kept by the Māori tribes as meat pigs. To learn more check out our eBook on the History of KuneKunes.

How big do they get?

KuneKune are smaller than commercial hogs, however, they are larger than pot belly pigs. They are usually 24-36 inches tall and come their back comes up to about your knee depending on your height. Without a doubt, your management style will play a crucial factor as well.

How much do they weigh? How big do they get?

KuneKunes weigh between 200-400 lbs. in general. Without a doubt, males are usually on the larger end of the weight for KuneKunes, while females are on the smaller end of the weight scale. It should be noted, that many factors go into this including management styles and the KuneKune bloodlines as well. It should be noted that how you manage your herd can impact the growth and weight of your pig. Therefore, it is important to not overfeed. Read Herd Management

KuneKune Colors – What color are KuneKunes?

KuneKunes comes in a wide array of colors ranging from solid black, solid ginger, solid cream, and solid browns to a mix of colors including spotting and even belting. Acceptable colors are listed on our KuneKune Color chart. Whatever color comes first is the first part of their color. For example, a pig that has more black than white is therefore considered black/white. A KuneKune with more white than black is a White/Black. Some of the solid colors of KuneKunes are ginger, cream, brown, and black. Some of the other colors are brown/White, white/brown, ginger/black, black/ginger, ginger/brown, and brown/ginger. See KuneKune Color Chart

What are the temperaments of KuneKunes like? Are they docile?

KuneKunes are the most docile, friendly, and trustworthy pig breed there is. Unlike commercial hogs in every way. When folks tell you they will sit for treats or climb up in your lap, unquestionably they truly will. Obviously, you always want to be cautious of a boar with tusk accidentally catching your leg, but they do not deliberately try to hurt you. Along with using caution for boars you can easily train them to stay away from your legs. Along with this information, you can trust children with this breed.

Is this breed aggressive?

No, they are not aggressive animals. They love human interaction and can easily be taught to sit for treats. Most boars are even extremely docile, and you can find them right out of your hands. Absolutely, KuneKunes will flop for belly rubs and if you are sitting on the ground they will even try to climb into your lap or lay up against you. 

If I wanted to have this breed what are some things I need to have?

Most importantly, fenced pasture space. This can be a combination of wooded areas for shade and pasture for grazing. Having wooded areas provides much-needed shade for your KuneKune. If you are not fencing in an area with woods or trees, you can use shade tarps to provide shade. Housing, mud puddles, the correct 16 - 17% grain, a vet that you know that does farm calls and/or you can visit and is familiar with the breed, water dishes, a plan for having water if the power goes out, at least. Check out these related articles to learn more. 10 tips to Getting Started with KuneKunes

Feeding – What do KuneKunes Eat?

KuneKunes can almost fatten on grazing alone provided the pasture is rich enough. Nonetheless, most breeders give 2 (8 oz cups) cups of grain twice per day per pig. KuneKunes need a well-balanced grain that is 16% protein and under to sustain themselves. You can add all types of fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Without a doubt, it is not advisable to feed your KuneKunes leftovers or garbage. Some KuneKunes will munch on their hay used for bedding as well. They do enjoy alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay but, please use it with caution if adding this to your KuneKunes diet. Some folks have suggested that it is causing some stones in barrows. Check out our complete guide to feeding KuneKunes Book.

What should this breed not have?

Indeed, there are some things they should not have. Meat, garbage, molded bread, fruit, or veggies. Likewise, they should not have chocolate, avocado, raw potatoes, salt, minerals, celery, and certain plants and flowers. Check out the FAQ's about what a KuneKune Pig Can Eat.

More Answers on KuneKune Pigs

Vaccinations - What vaccinations should they get?

Furthermore, always check with your vet before starting a vaccination and deworming protocol. Usually, Rhini Shield TX 4 is recommended by most vets and is an upper respiratory combo vaccine and you can use Ivermectin or Dectomax for deworming. Piglets will need two doses of each and when first starting adults it is also recommended, that they receive two doses as well. After initial doses you vaccinate and deworm twice a year and just one shot each time moving forward. See our About KuneKunes page for vaccination information.

Are KuneKunes good pets?

KuneKunes are great pets. They are friendly and docile and enjoy human contact. Most people can easily get a barrow (a neutered male) as a pet at a lesser price. Remember that they are herd animals, and you should never keep just one KuneKune. So, you will want to have at least two for a pet. Don't worry, while they bond with their companions, they will still want that human interaction from you. Learn more about KuneKunes being a herd animal.

Can I have a house pig?

You can do that but, it is not the preferred method for a KuneKune pig. KuneKunes prefer living the life of a pig. They enjoy foraging and exploring. In the house, it does not satisfy their instincts. Keep in mind they are a decent size to be in your home and there are many dangers for pigs in the house. Some of those dangers include chemicals, opening cabinets getting into things, and some even learning to open your refrigerator.

Can I have just one KuneKune pig?

No, it is not advisable to only have one KuneKune as they are considered herd animals. As a rule, this means they are used to being a part of a herd. Additionally, unlike dogs, this means that they need another breed of their own to be happy. Many KuneKunes will grieve and get depressed without another KuneKune for company. Once you have seen and listened to two KuneKunes "talk" to each other you will better understand their need for companionship from another Kune. They will constantly "check" on each other, communicate with each other, and cuddle together. Having two KuneKunes together also helps them stay warm in colder temperatures. Learn more about KuneKunes being herd animals on the blog post page.

Does this breed of pig have an unpleasant odor?

No, it has been said by many that their KuneKunes smell like maple syrup. The only time you may find an odor is when a boar is "marking territory". Then they do put off an odor. Read the Boars Marking Territory article to learn more.

Are Pigs dirty animals?

Fact about KuneKunes - they tend to be exceptionally clean animals except they do lay in mud puddles. When I say they are clean animals, I mean they do not soil the areas that they sleep in. They tend to poop along fence lines or in front of gates. They prefer not to poop where they eat or too much in the pastures as they tend to want to graze that area.

KuneKune Registry – What are the current KuneKune Registries?

First was the American KuneKune Breeder’s Association which later became the American KuneKune Pig Registry and later became the International KuneKune Hog Registry. (AKBA, AKPR and IKHR) They are based in Canada and have a Canadian President. They do not accept non-wattled pigs or any form of permanent identification except ear tags.

Next was the American KuneKune Pig Society founded in 2013. (AKKPS) They are based in the USA; the President is from the USA and the Vice President is from Canada. The Board of Directors makes most of the decisions in the organization. The IKKPS founder was one of the four founders of this organization and carried a variety of titles including the only registrar for 10 years, former President, Newsletter Editor, Founding Vice President, and webmaster.

The International KuneKune Pig Society – IKKPS. That is our organization. This is a USA-based organization that accepts members from anywhere in the world. It is the first ever of its kind with many membership benefits but most importantly no one involved in the leadership has pigs for sale. We are former breeders or other professionals dedicated to the breed. Therefore, everything we do is to help the members. Breeder Promotions and helping members with sales and attracting buyers. Members make all decisions in IKKPS in the way of democratic voting.

What are KuneKunes used for?

KuneKunes fit into a niche market as grazing pigs, breeding stock, homesteading pigs for pork production, cleaning up orchards, pets and even some as therapy animals. To conclude, this breed is well suited for many purposes. In fact, they are called a multipurpose pig breed.

Is this breed loud?

In general, KuneKunes are not loud animals. You will hear them when it is feeding time, especially if you feed on a schedule. They can tell time and will come to the gates when it is near feeding time. When you are feeding them until the grain/feed is given they can be quite loud. The way to avoid this is not feeding on an exact schedule and by visiting often when food is not involved.

How much land do I need for a KuneKune?

You can easily have 5-6 KuneKunes on an acre of land but having two areas that size would be more ideal. By doing this you are allowing one area to grow while they graze one and then you can rotate them as they "mow" their area to a fresh area. Remember grazing is a huge source of food for KuneKunes.

Learn more about the commonly asked questions

How do pigs do in Winter?

KuneKunes are very hardy pigs and do very well in most climates including the winter cold. They need a draft-free house with plenty of hay bedding to curl up in to keep warm. KuneKunes being a herd animal, do best when they have another KuneKune to curl up with.

How do pigs do in Summer?

KuneKunes do well in most temperatures. In the summer months, it is vital to their health that they are provided with mud puddles and shade. Unlike the current belief that you “sweat like a pig”, pigs don’t sweat. They will use the mud to keep from getting sunburnt and to keep biting insects off them. They will use the water to keep their temperatures regulated. Read the Mud Puddles eBook to learn more

Do KuneKunes root?

Overall, while KuneKunes are not prone to rooting, they are pigs, and like all pigs, they may root a small amount. Usually, they will tend to root in their mud puddles. However, if they are not well fed, they may root to gain extra nutrition from the roots of grass, or occasionally in extremely damp pastures, they may root for grubs in the ground. If your KuneKune roots, you will want to examine your feeding of your KuneKune as a first choice of why they may be rooting.

Where does this breed of pig originate?

Fact about the KuneKune origins before New Zealand is uncertain. It is believed they are of Asian accent. Learn more about KuneKune recovery efforts in our History of KuneKunes

How do you transport a KuneKune pig?

Piglets can easily go into dog crates for transportation via automobiles. You would want to line the bottom of the crate/carrier with paper, a towel (you don't mind throwing away) or dog pee pads to absorb the urine. Then put it in a deep bed of hay. I used to cut up apples, and use grapes and some grain scattered around in the crate to occupy them during transport. They tend to travel very well.

Can you fly pigs on the airlines?

Yes, we have flown pigs all over the USA. They do very well, and you would do the crate the same as above. Please check with the individual airlines that you are using as some do not allow paper and/or hay.

How do I get KuneKunes from other states that are too far for me to travel to?

There are many livestock-hauling companies out there. Please be sure to choose wisely and always look for the shortest time on the transport to see if they have fenced-in areas in the livestock trailer or not. They usually do very well.

What do I need to fly or use a professional livestock hauler for my KuneKune pig?

You will need a vet-issued health certificate and a USDA microchip or ear tag. You will need to check the requirements of the individual state's import requirements. Usually, the vet will do this for you.

What is a health certificate or CVI?

A USDA-licensed vet issues a health certificate, and they will examine your KuneKune pig to check for signs of disease, take their temperature, and check their lungs and heart as well as their skin. If the KuneKune passes the health exam and permanent USDA identification requirements, they will issue you a CVI (health certificate) for you to be able to cross state lines.

Breeding questions and a few other commonly asked questions

What animals are safe to keep with KuneKunes?

KuneKunes are very docile and learn to live well with a variety of animals, including chickens, guineas, ducks, and goats. Additionally, what you must be incredibly careful of is that the KuneKunes have no access to the other animals' food sources, minerals, or salt blocks. This can be extremely dangerous to KuneKunes. I have seen stories on Facebook of KuneKunes eating chickens but, I would imagine they are either not fully KuneKunes (mixes) or that the KuneKunes are not well-fed. Even so, I have ducks, chickens, and guineas all live with my KuneKune and interact daily without any issues. Nonetheless, if they do find the nest of eggs that the chickens or guineas hide, they will certainly eat them.

How long are KuneKunes pregnant? What is the gestational period for Kunes?

KuneKune gestational periods are 116 days. 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Occasionally you will have a mom with a large litter farrow a couple of days earlier and a mom with a smaller litter farrow a couple of days later. In general, they stay remarkably close to the 116 days. To learn more about Farrowing KuneKunes check this post out.

At what age can you breed a KuneKune? Breeding age for KuneKunes?

KuneKune boars can become sexually active at 6-7 months of age although this is not the norm. It is important to have your males and females separated before they reach this age. Females can begin to cycle as early as 7-9 months but, it is not the advisable time to breed them. Check out our Breeding Page for more.

It is usually best to wait for KuneKune boars to breed at 12 – 15 months of age. It is usually best to wait for KuneKune gilts to mature a bit before breeding. If you allow her to mature to 15 – 18 months, the litter sizes will be better, and she will be more prepared to be a dutiful mother. However, you can breed as early as 12 – 14 months depending on her size and maturity level. This is a good article you may find helpful - breeding and farrowing KuneKune Pigs.

How often do KuneKune females come into season?

KuneKunes will come into heat every 21 days. This cycle may be interrupted while a sow is nursing her piglets and right after she weans a litter of piglets.

At what age do you wean KuneKune piglets?

Most breeders wean piglets at 7 weeks of age. This depends on the litter size, how well the piglets are eating on their own and the size of the piglets.  

How to wean piglets?

Weaning piglets means removing their mom. It is advisable to move mom to a new area where she is not on the fence or able to see the piglets. In some cases, moms will attempt to come through fencing to get back to their piglets or if they cannot, they may "call" their piglets to them. It can be stressful for the mom and KuneKune piglets during the weaning process. By leaving the piglets in the area they are already accustomed to helping the piglets from stress.

What are the KuneKune Bloodlines?

There are many different bloodlines now on the KuneKunes. We have a ton of information on the bloodlines on our website under the Members only section. We also offer an in-depth explanation of the bloodlines and what they track back to in New Zealand. Learn more about the History and KuneKunes Bloodlines

Are KuneKunes used for pork? KuneKune pork / meat?

KuneKunes are a great meat animal. One important thing to note is they produce rich red marbled meat that is locked in a layer of fat which helps keep it more flavorful. Your investment in producing pork for your family will take a bit more time but you will not invest as much into the cost of producing your pork.  Learn more about KuneKune Pork or KuneKune Meat for your homestead.

When are KuneKunes ready to be harvested for pork?

This would depend on the bloodline of the KuneKune and management style. I harvested three boars of various ages to see what the difference was. The first was 9 months old from the BH Tutaki line. The second was from the Ru bloodline and he was 1 year old and the last was a boar from the Boris line (usually slower to mature) and he was 18 months. See below the comparison

Boar Hanging Weight Age

BH Tutaki 101.5 lbs. 9 months

Ru 106.0 lbs. 12 months

Boris 116.00 lbs. 18 Months

As you can see there was not a significant difference. Learn more about KuneKune Pork

How often do you need to trim hooves?

That would depend on the ground that they are on. In rocky areas and areas with concrete, there will be less time between trimmings. However, in soft pastures, it could be as often as every 6-10 months. Learn more about KuneKune hooves

Can two boars live together?

Yes, two boars that are raised together than live together. An adult boar can have a younger boar introduced to him at 6 months of age and they will live well together after your boar lets the young boar know that he is the boss. It is exceedingly difficult to introduce two full size boars together without any injuries and sometimes their injuries can be severe. To learn more about boar behavior read this post.

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