It seems to me that our little piece of Shropshire, which happens to be *just* over the border from Powys, Wales, is the perfect spot for a couple of kunekune pigs. A New Zealand breed, our kunekune pigs Felix and Fiona are delightful. Some guests tell us they come only to meet our piggies.
I already had a very nice stone built pigsty and a fair bit of land right next to it, I couldn’t think of anything better than kunekune to fill it. I can think of a few animals in addition to kunekune, but nothing better. 🙂 I mean, a place called “Barnutopia” should have pigs (and goats, and chickens, and ducks, and maybe the odd yak or two). It could only enhance the yurt glamping experience.
30 Things You Need to Know About Kunekune
I did my homework and researched kunekune pigs. I rooted (snigger) around lots of websites and spoke with Jan Glover of the British Kunekune Pig Society (BKKPS). Here’s a summary of my findings:
- Kunekune are the smallest breed of pigs. They can grow up to be about 4 feet (1.2 metres long) and between 130 – 220 lbs (60 to 100 Kg). There is no such thing as a “tea-cup” or “micro” pig.
- They graze on grass and, providing you have enough of it, don’t really need anything else in the summer.
- They can eat hay in winter.
- They eat 1 lb of pig nuts per day (half a pound morning and evening). “Super Lean” is a good pig nut and stops them getting fat. I use Allen & Page Pot Bellied pig feed for my two.
- They need PLENTY of water.
- They must not be given ANYTHING that’s gone through the kitchen (that’s the law) but they can eat fruit and vegetables from the garden.
- To keep kunekune you need a County Parish Holding” (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). This is the law.
- After you get the CPH number you then tell your local authority and they assign a herd number.
- They can be weaned at 8 weeks and go to new homes at 9 weeks, at which point they weigh about 13 lbs (6 Kg) . That’s about the size of a a very round Jack Russell terrier.
- Kunekune have lovely temperaments. They love having a fuss made of them and will lie for hours while you rub their tummies.
- They live for 8 to 10 years.
- They have to be wormed every 6 months by giving an injection you can do yourself. Provided you don’t take them anywhere, they don’t need any vaccinations.
- They don’t have any special health issues other than a tendency to become overweight if their diet isn’t controlled carefully. Then there are a number of weight related issues.
- Kunekune come in a variety of colours; solid or combinations of black, brown, blond, ginger and white.
- They vary from quite hairy to very hairy. Sometimes they lose their coats for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, it grows back.
- They’re not escape artists; although it may be a good idea to put line of barbed wire on the bottom of a stock fence. They respect electric fences. [Edit: my two are escape artists and once disappeared on a jaunt. Fortunately, they came back]
- They are very strong and will tip over buckets and water troughs unless they are firmly fixed in place. I have a plastic water trough half-filled with big rocks. When they drink it down, once a week or so, I take out the rocks, rinse the rocks and the trough and re-fill.
- They need straw bedding.
- They can get along with other animals after a suitable introduction.
- Nose rings are considered unkind. (They’re also kinda ugly on a cute pig face).
- They’re quite trainable and get to know routines and people
- A pair of castrated boars (males) is a good option. As is a castrated boar and a female (gilt).
- It costs around £75+ for a castrated boar.
- A female that doesn’t breed when she’s in season may get bad tempered.
- Some may dig a little. Some dig a lot. Some don’t dig at all. Some grow out of digging. If they have plenty of grass they would be okay and it’s worth splitting up a pasture and rotating use so that no area gets “pig sick..”
- They need their feet trimming every once in a while using sheep clippers (see YouTube “paring pigs feet.”)
- They need a nice warm covered area to sleep in.
- They need shade and a “wallow” (pool of water/wet mud especially to wallow in) for cooling off.
- It’s a good idea to join The British Kune Kune Pig Society. Great resource, source of information, contacts, piglets etc.
- Recommended reading, “Small scale outdoor pig breeding” by Wendy Scudamore (past chairman of the BKKPS.) This book contains everything you could need to know.
Updated 22 April, 2016