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Starting a KuneKune Herd

How many pigs should you start with?

Starting a KuneKune Herd: Everything You Need to Know

Want to learn how to start a KuneKune herd? This easy-to-follow guide will give you helpful tips for raising and caring for your KuneKunes. Get started now!

Thinking of raising KuneKunes? From caring for them to managing their grazing habits, there is a lot to consider about KuneKune ownership. This guide will help you understand the basics of starting and maintaining a KuneKune herd and helps you get started on your journey.

Essential Equipment for Starting a KuneKune Herd.

When raising a KuneKune herd, having the right equipment is essential. You will need shelter and fencing, food and water dishes, a wheelbarrow, hoof-trimmers, vet supplies, mud puddles and an experienced vet familiar with the breed.  We will spend some time discussing each one of these topics and provide links to where you

can learn more on each topic.

What type of fencing should you use?

I heard the best advice ever when I started my herd of KuneKunes, build the best fence that you can afford.  Great advice.  There are several options available for use with KuneKune as they are not prone to test fencing except for a boar being on the other side of the fence and a sow is in season. Of course, he will do most anything to get to the female in heat.  Field fencing works well for fencing for KuneKunes.   We have more information on fencing here.

Creating a Comfortable Home Environment for Your Herd.

You can easily build something for housing for KuneKunes but, what I found the easiest and best way to house KuneKunes is by utilizing calf huts.  We have more information on housing here.

Mud Puddles

Pigs in general cannot sweat. That is why mud puddles are mandatory.  Learn more about mud puddles!

Water Dishes

Learn more about fantastic water dishes to use for Kunekune here!

Feeding your KuneKunes

KuneKunes need a grain that is 16% protein or less. I must confess that while that is the suggestion heard most everywhere on the internet, I used Blue Seal products. Home Fresh Sow performance was my preference. Even though the protein level was 17%, this food worked well for me. Of course, as grazing animals having

and maintaining your pastures of especially important as well. It is said that KuneKunes can fatten totally on grazing. While that is true, they are healthier, and their reproductive ability is much better by following this simple rule: two cups (8 oz cups) of grain twice a day per pig.

It's essential to provide your KuneKunes with a high-nutrient diet that is balanced and free from artificial additives, cold stored feeds, and grains of inferior quality. A diet consisting of forage, naturally grown legumes, and some will eat hay, ideally suited to the local area, should be provided. Fermented fodder will also help maintain gut health and digestion. We will be doing another article devoted to this topic later.

Small Tools - Wheelbarrow, Shovel, Pitchfork, Hoe and Metal Rake

This is needed for moving hay or cleaning up poop in small areas.  You will also need use of the wheelbarrow for cleaning out bedding and farrowing quarters. The shovel is for digging out mud puddles. Use the metal rake for easy of cleaning out bedding and farrowing quarters. Use of a hoe works extremely well.

Medical Supplies

Having a nice availability of useful medical supplies is essential.  Of course, the best time to gather your first aid kit is before you need it.   Some of these items are antibiotics, deworming meds, vaccinations, needles, syringes, vetracin, antibiotics cream, slap shot, etc. These are just a few things to have on hand. We will be authoring another article on what to have in your first aid kit for KuneKunes as well. Watch for that to be posted on the IKKPS Blog.

Knowledgeable Vet

Just like the perfect time to get medical supplies together is before you need them, getting a vet prior to an emergency is vital to your herd’s health. Make sure the vet does farm calls as if your Kunekune is extremely sick and won’t get up, there is no way to force a 250 lb. or better pig to get up into a stock trailer.  Having a vet come to you may be needed.  KuneKunes are a very hardy healthy breed in general but, you may need one in case of an emergency.

Selecting your breeder to purchase your herd from

So, these are some of things you want to consider before getting your KuneKunes. Now let’s talk about getting the KuneKunes. Here are some things to consider when selecting your breeder. ·       

  • How much experience does the breeder have with the breed? ·       
  • Do they only sell registered KuneKunes?
  • How knowledgeable are they about the breed? 
  • Are they patient with your questions?
  • Are they willing to answer and support you after the sale?

So now you have chosen your breeder and feel comfortable they are the right breeder for you.

What is a good amount of KuneKunes to Start with?

Well, that depends on your immediate goals. First, we will discuss if you want just pets. Second, we will discuss if you are only wanting to start your KuneKune herd with two. Finally, we will discuss what is ideal to begin your KuneKune herd with.


If you are considering KuneKunes as pets, then you must have at least two as they are a herd animal.  Most responsible breeders will not sell you females as pets unless, you may be considering breeding down the road.  Breeding females are fully registered with DNA proof of parentage to later breed them.  Most KuneKune Registries have a process in case a pet is later given permission to breed.  Make sure to discuss this completely with your breeder. If you are sold a female on pet registrations (IKKPS has grazing pig registrations), that means that no litters can be registered from a female in this type of registration.  Only the breeder can convert grazing pig registrations.

Starting with two pigs

Now, if you are considering breeding as mentioned above, always get a female with DNA proof of parentage.  This means a fully registered female.  You should get a barrow to keep her company.  A barrow is a neutered male, and he will serve many purposes in your herd. I would start with females as they take more time to mature for breeding than a male.

Ideal starter herd

The ideal situation to start your herd of KuneKunes is four. Two female pigs, one male pig and one neutered male (barrow). Let me explain why this is ideal. If you purchase piglets, they can all stay together until the intact (unneutered male) reaches the age of 5-6 months. Then it is important to move the males and females apart to prevent unwanted pregnancies before your female is ready or mature enough to have a litter. (Ideally a female should be 14-16 months of age for her first litter for the most success.) The males will be able to be housed together and will have each other for companionship. The two females will have each other for companionship. 

How this is ideal for your KuneKune herd

When you are ready to start breeding, you move one of the females to the boar area and the barrow (neutered male) moves to the female that is not breeding.  Therefore, they both have companions.  This is one of the best situations for starting a Kunekune herd.  Not to mention, your barrow is already maturing to be harvested for his pork.  After you have piglets, pick piglets that are not worthy of breeding and neuter them so that when you harvest your first neutered male, the boar will have another companion available and again, you are growing him out to feed your family.

In Conclusion

First, we discussed the things that you need before you get your new herd started. We hope that you have found this invaluable for getting started with

KuneKunes. As a result, you will know exactly what you need. Second, we discussed the options to start your herd. You have learned that KuneKune need another of

their own kind as they are a herd animal. Therefore, you must purchase in pairs. That can be a female and a neutered male or if just pets, getting two neutered males is most cost-effective way to go. We have discussed if you are only getting two pigs what you should consider. Furthermore, we discussed that starting your herd with four pigs or piglets is the ideal number of pigs to begin your journey with KuneKunes.

We hope that you enjoyed it and more importantly, learned more about how to get started on your own KuneKune Journey.

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