First Time Kunekune Owners
Pigs have always intrigued me, a combination of being as ugly as sin but having a relaxed and friendly nature makes them strangely appealing. Having grown up on a farm where pigs didn’t live past Xmas, it’s great to finally have the confidence to form a long-term attachment with them.
The Kunekune is known for having a comical personality, so it was an easy decision for us to go with this breed. We were patient in our selection, taking the time to research the traits of show quality pigs and seek the pure bloodlines. We did something I’d highly recommend which is seek the advice of respected local breeders, in our case Jared and David Hughes in Canterbury.
Having selected our piglets, we then had to wait patiently until they were old enough to part with their mother. It's important to make sure you have a secure pen particularly for the first week of having a pig on your property. Within 24 hours of having “Molly” penned in at home, she managed to escape and venture round the surrounding farms for the afternoon. To this day I'm baffled as to how she got out, so confident was I she was secure that I can't rule out sabbotage from a mate wanting to see us traumatised!
Bottlefeeding was great for bonding with the piglets, they crawl all over you and quickly associate you as being a source of food. A soft-drink bottle, lamb teat and a bucket or two of pig milk powder is all you need, but be sure to have a few spare teats as they chew through them pretty quick! We wanted to give our pigs a good start, so we fed them weaner pellets and have substituted their natural grazing with green food scraps and seconds from an orchard.
There wouldn’t be a day goes by where we are not out spending time with our two pigs. They thrive on company and attention, and feeding time especially is a good chance to be amazed at just how clever they are. Earlier this year, I taught one of our pigs to fetch a basket, which took my partner Kim very much by surprise with Molly’s latest trick, partly because there was an engagement ring in there. While this worked an absolute treat, I must admit being a little nervous as the previous two practice attempts had Molly run off with the basket, and the other catching her chewing on the ring box!
Later this year we will be entering our pigs in the Canterbury A & P show, and plan to start our very own breeding program. We are positive about the commercial prospects of Kunes, but plan to have them for many years to come anyway. You cant help but enjoy the company of these animals, and it is a credit to the few people that brought them back from near extinction that generations to come can enjoy them as well. Dont ask my partner to choose between me and our Kunes, that would be a tough call indeed.