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This Little Piggy

Updated: May 28, 2021

We have 5 hairy little KuneKune pigs at the farm: John (our only male boar, brown & white), Boston Sally & Tokyo (the twins with black coats), Phoenix (a warm ginger & black) & Sophia. Sophia is the youngest, our little ginger. Ever since she came in March has had a crush on the dog, Sgt Pepper. She always finds him in the pasture when he’s asleep and nuzzles up next to him. It’s the cutest thing.

These pigs love to dump their water bowls over and roll around in the mud to cool off. John loves drinking from the faucet best, he just stretches his lower lip out to catch it as it drips down. We have to assume he thinks ‘fresh is best’.

They also love pats on the side of their bellies. The KuneKunes are known for their extremely docile and friendly personality which is unmatched by any other breed of swine. They are outgoing, love human interaction and have a great memory.

The KuneKune breed was once near extinction. These pigs were only found near the Maori Islands of New Zealand. They were kept by the Maori people and were allowed to roam around their villages. The KuneKune were probably brought to New Zealand in the 1800's by whalers operating in New Zealand waters, and were traded with the Maoris. Pigs with similar characteristics occur in Asia, South America, and the Polynesian Islands.

In the late 1970's it was estimated that there were only about 50 KuneKunes left in New Zealand & the breed was soon 'rediscovered' from only 6 sows and 3 boars in 1978. The KuneKune conservation program was created by wildlife park owners Michael Willis and John Simister who saved the breed from extinction. There have been five importations into the US since 1996.

They are a grazing breed of swine. Although they are omnivores, they prefer to graze on grass. Their short and upturned snouts make them suitable grazers and less prone to rooting found in other breeds. KuneKunes are known for having 2 wattles (much like goats) found under their chin. They have little to no desire to roam and do not test fencing.

The purpose of these pigs on the farm is to eat and clean up whatever’s out there, they poop, they dig up rhizomes, root for worms, loosen the soil, break up the sod.. all these things make a great seed bed to better forages in pastures. They efficiently convert a wide array of resources into a more bioavailable state using their snouts, hooves and manure. They make excellent quality meat. They are a little fattier than the average pork, red and deeply marbled, almost like a fine steak. The KuneKune pigs also produce fine lard which can be used in cooking, baking and soap making.

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