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Kune Kune pigs?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 77
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Has anyone here tried Kune Kune pigs for a homestead?

Kune Kune pigs have very short snouts (they are the pugs of pigs) and prefer to graze rather than root. They only get to be about 2ft tall (but 200-250lbs) and are quite docile. They fatten with little supplemental feed. I try to keep a low/no-till operation going, and pigs are a difficult element to add without destruction. These appear to be an exception for me. I love pigs as garbage disposals, but I don't like what they do to the ground. I'd like to see another example of them incorporated. I have them, and use them on pasture.... but I see very few permaculturists using them yet.
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Kune Kune Boar (note: very short snout)
 
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Location: SE IA Zone 5B, Clay highly eroded hillsides
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we are raising guinea hogs and would like to incorporate kune kunes for this reason. i'll be anxious to hear if others have done this. thanks for posting it!
 
gardener
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I have Kunes and Guinea/Kune crosses.

I'm sad to say my Kunes do the worse to the soil, tilling up a foot +. While my crosses are second worse. But my one Yorkie only takes off the grass, no mounding or deep tilling of the soil.

I am using my Kunes and Crosses just now to till up places I want to change the slope or even out, but I do see a future where their digging will be a big pain. In the summer it is not an issue as my ground is to dry and hard (clay.
I rotational graze all my animals, and have had the pigs in with sheep, chickens and alpacas, but when the land became wet I separated the pigs into their own paddocks due to their damage.

I got into Kunes for a quick breed/sell in order to lower my taxes to farm status. This goal is achieved easily - they really are easy breeders and their piglets are so cute they sell themselves. I always get re-orders from current buyers.

Got questions....just ask.

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We are on the road to homesteading and are considering having some of these pigs as well. I'll be eagerly coming in here to read along.
 
Stewart Lundy
Posts: 77
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Jami McBride wrote:I'm sad to say my Kunes do the worse to the soil, tilling up a foot +.



That worries me. My pasture is not in superb condition. Has yours been amended to get the Brix level of the grass up? I find the Kune Kunes to do little rooting, except when it is very wet. We have them on a well-established field, but the soil mineral balance is not great so the nutritional value of the forage is of inferior quality (simulating more rooting for protein in my case).

Do you rotate your pigs? I move mine once a day and will probably change this to twice a day as the numbers increase.
 
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Location: Colo
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I'd been interested in kune kune since reading an article in Acres USA on the breed a while back. I was intrigued by their purported ease on fields, grass-fed ability, and weight at harvest.

From what I can find online, they are still quite hard to find and expensive.

Can I ask what you charge for piglets, Jami?
 
kerri leach
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Location: SE IA Zone 5B, Clay highly eroded hillsides
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Jami, questions for you:

What area are you located in? What are your Kunes crossed with? Our Guineas seem to have a refractometer in their noses and if those roots are brixing higher (usually the case), they will start to dig. I would ideally have them in the orchard end of season, not digging, but am currently using them to clear old CRP for new pasture and clear regrowth forest into a savannah situation, so they can dig in those areas for now. Do you experience the Kunes not rooting when the pasture is lush?
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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kerri leach wrote:Do you experience the Kunes not rooting when the pasture is lush?



I have this experience with all our animals, personally. Where the soil is well mineralized, there is little incentive to do more work. Satisfied pigs don't seem to want to root as much. These animals seem to have an inherited culture: if you let the older ones root, the next generation will root even more and even better.
 
kerri leach
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Jami, I read your message again -crossed with Guineas. Have you ever seen them crossed with anything else? Curious as far as retaining the big litters and mothering.
 
Jami McBride
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Stewart Lundy wrote:That worries me. My pasture is not in superb condition. Has yours been amended to get the Brix level of the grass up? I find the Kune Kunes to do little rooting, except when it is very wet. We have them on a well-established field, but the soil mineral balance is not great so the nutritional value of the forage is of inferior quality (simulating more rooting for protein in my case).
Do you rotate your pigs? I move mine once a day and will probably change this to twice a day as the numbers increase.



The rooting has to do with several factors, as you mention. My grasses are lacking too, I haven't yet amending my soils. I always begin with animals to jump start that process.
And of course amount of land the pigs are given will affect rooting too. My border fencing is in need of repair and I do not yet have cross fencing. I imagine most of the rooting would be contained to around trees trunks (grubs) and an occasional patch here and there if they had an acre or two. In addition you can always ring their noses, but this goes against my philosophy of 'not over managing things'.

We do rotate them, but in Oregon during the winter they plow the soil immediately. One could always move them to cement containment during wet months, or just keep them in long term winter housing. But then all feed is on you.


Johnny Niamert wrote:Can I ask what you charge for piglets, Jami?



I decided not to go for the designer market, so I bought breeding stock of good lines without papers. I sell without papers to those who want this type of homestead pig. I sell at $200 each, which is just a pinch over what regular, non-heritage piglets go for in my area. My Guineas crosses are from registered parents on both sides, however this cross is not recognized as of yet so this is another I sell without papers.


kerri leach wrote:What area are you located in?
What are your Kunes crossed with?
Do you experience the Kunes not rooting when the pasture is lush?



We are In Oregon
My Kunes are pure Kunes, My crosses are Kune/Guineas. And Kunes can be crossed with potbelly and other small breeds.

As for the rooting: The better the available feed the less rooting. It is also a way to deal with boredom, and a learned behavior. However, that being said it's a hard habit to break once it starts for whatever reason.


 
Jami McBride
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I would add that for general damage management I would use electric fencing, over a large and varied landscape area, and one that you plan on reseeding and/or amending in some way. This way running the pigs will save you from buying a tractor. The plus to rooting is that they will clean out brush that is not well established. These pigs are easy to keep, but you do need a plan for them and your land.

The inside pictures below are of piglets we sold, which are being raise as in-door pigs. They have taught them to sit for treats and ask to go outside. The Kune breed is very fun and versatile.
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If you are focused on having pigs without destroying your pasture, Mark Shepard (Restoration Ag) has been successful using hog rings in the pigs' noses. It keeps them from digging/rooting, but they can have all the grass and fallen fruit and nuts they want. I can't remember what breed he uses, but I think any breed will work. He uses a single or double electric wire to move them around his place. I have 2 pigs and 4 goats together in an electric fence I use for my 'disturbance machine'. They make a pretty good tag team to take out my brambles and weeds, but I still need to go in and clean up what's left.
 
Posts: 52
Location: NE Oregon
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I highly recommend kunekunes and especially high percentage kune-crosses as homestead pigs. My pigs root little to none on established pasture. Any pig will root in wet soil or in soft garden soil so you do have to take into consideration where you are putting them. I run mine in pasture with sheep and chickens as well as in polyculture settings of grasses/trees/shrubs with no damage. I never thought I would have pigs on my place until I discovered kunekunes.

It's true that purebred KK prices are high but they bring a good return as more and more people are becoming interested in them. Kune crosses are more economical to get into than purebreds but be on the look out for low percentage kune-crosses if you are concerned about rooting. I breed my crosses up to be no less than 7/8 kunekune and have great results and a very good response from homesteaders.

cheers!
Sue

 
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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I have never heard of these. Can anyone shed light on meat quality? I would also like to read from personal experience on uncastrated males, specifically boar taint.
 
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Someone here mentioned crossing them to improve litter size - something to keep in mind is, there's a limit to how much milk a sow can make on pasture without a lot of supplementation. The kinds that have large litters need a LOT of food to make enough milk for the piglets to grow well and for the mom to not become skin and bones, more than they can get on most pastures alone. If you object is to get away from grain/feed dependency and move toward pasture raising the pigs, I think smaller litter size is what you should aim for. Like 6 piglets per litter. Most standard hog production says you need large litters to keep from losing money but that's because they're feeding some of those pigs 50lbs of feed a week or more. Even at $8 a bag, that's a lot of money a year to maintain a sow and boar.
 
Sue Miller
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Amedean-- the meat is excellent. Mine have a nice layer of fat on the outside of the carcass. The meat is tender and very flavorful. Kunekunes don't grow fast and big like the breeds used commercially but you also don't have to put a big expense into feeding them during the growing season.

I will also second what Renate says about litter size and pushing a small heritage breed toward bigger litters. If you are looking for production than go with a breed already suited to it. But if you are looking for "pork-in-a-small-package" that is lighter on the land and fits into permaculture systems then the kunekune has a lot going for it.
 
Amedean Messan
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Sue Miller wrote:Amedean-- the meat is excellent. Mine have a nice layer of fat on the outside of the carcass. The meat is tender and very flavorful. Kunekunes don't grow fast and big like the breeds used commercially but you also don't have to put a big expense into feeding them during the growing season.

I will also second what Renate says about litter size and pushing a small heritage breed toward bigger litters. If you are looking for production than go with a breed already suited to it. But if you are looking for "pork-in-a-small-package" that is lighter on the land and fits into permaculture systems then the kunekune has a lot going for it.



I was just reading some forums in the link below from natives of NZ and many seem to pass on the breed with regards to meat quality claiming that it is too fatty to enjoy. Others disagree but I am curious if that is why hybrid breeds are popularly accessible. The feed efficiency and conversion of this breed are certainly commendable, but I think I can see why people would want to breed a meatier version of this animal.

http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/lsb-forum/showthread.php?t=27767
 
steward
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Amedean Messan wrote:many seem to pass on the breed with regards to meat quality claiming that it is too fatty to enjoy

I'd say most people have been trained to be afraid of visible fat.
But to me, pork fat is the most delicious of all the delicious fat family
Kunekunes definitely carry a lot of fat compared to many breeds, but I think they are often overfed over here.
Considering they can manage on what they can find in good pasture, energy-dense feed will often just make them obese
Traditionally they would have had a pretty hard time getting fat:
the Maori who introduced them struggled to get enough fat and protein into their own diets, let alone their livestock's!
btw, I don't know a lot about comparative pig sizes, but I've seen some pretty gigantic kunekuni sows...
 
Renate Howard
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There are people who don't like duck fat either. Crazy.

Lard is one of the best cooking oils out there, and animals that put on fat easily can be incredibly useful in that regard. With so many cheap, almost inedible oils like canola, soy, and cottonseed, which are all from GMO crops, and olive oil being usually not (have you read the scandal?), I think lard is poised to make a comeback, at least in the kitchens of the more food-educated!

Lard from pastured pigs contains a lot of vitamin D, like a tablespoon of lard has as much as a capsule of cod liver oil, without all the concerns about mercury and other ocean pollutants or the concerns about us destroying wild cod populations. If the pig also ate grass it also contains omega-3's, vitamin A, and vitamin K2, some of the most important and lacking nutrients in our diets! So it completely trumps the liquid oils that offer no nutrients, only Round-Up residue!

When I use lard for cooking (we fry eggs in it, use it in biscuits and pie crusts, use it for sautéing onions and to add some grease to the pan for cooking meats so they brown evenly) I notice that my skin doesn't get dry, no matter how dry the air is. We harvested our first pigs (pot belly so very lardy like kunekunes) last fall and since then I haven't had chapped lips even once, even tho it was a record cold winter!

If someone complains about too much fat in a pig, the reply should be, "I'll take it!"

The other thing is, at butchering, you don't have to keep the fat on the cuts of meat. We cut off all the fat and either add it to the sausage, render the lard, or make it into bacon. Home cured bacon is delicious and you don't need to smoke it for it to be good. It has such an intense flavor that we prefer to use it in recipes than to have the strips just fried (tho my kids would eat a lot of it that way, too!). So I mince and fry it then use it in quiche or salad or bean dishes. You eat it and just think, "this is the way it was supposed to taste!"
 
Amedean Messan
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I had my eyes set on Ossabaw pigs but they have very feral tendencies so purhapse a Ossabaw /Kune Kune hybrid might produce the docile characteristics as well as maintain the desirable meat characteristics I am seeking.
 
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I have pure kunes and x kunes, in pig for first time with a x pot bellied boar.

My x potbellied root a little but the pure bred not at all. They graze.

I ate a x kune and the leg steak was low fat. Other cuts fattier. One friend of friend who didnt know it was home reared said it was the best pork steak he ever ate.
It was acorn finished.
 
Jami McBride
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Update on this topic -

A big part of the land damage here in Oregon with our wet winters is exactly what you would see with any heavy animals - walking the fence line where we approach from, and other well traveled areas, soon becomes a mud bog. The problem as I see it is the rotational grazing, which means new areas all over one's land will have mud-trails that need repaired. Even so, I still prefer rotational grazing over any other method. When using old containment methods people just rock around the barn and/or gate/fences. Making the non-grass area cleaner for people and animals.

This type of land damage has nothing to do with rooting, and with planning can be mitigated. I have put the pig's hoop house, door into the enclosure and their water/feed dishes up on my rocked-driveway and ran the fencing away from there with good success so far. I still moving them quickly when the land warrants it. And I started letting them out to feed two times a day. They eat long grasses around my out buildings and the pond, staying in eye and ear shot of the house. We call them back to their current paddock with some feed, and never leave them out longer than 30 minutes. Just a side note: they do not poo on my road or around these areas, so it's worked out well as a way to give them daily enrichment and some extra grass. You should see the UPS guy when he jumps out and is greeted by 7 or so pigs wanting a dog treat!

But before you try free-ranging your pigs remember mine are hand raised, socialized to people and farm animals, which makes a big difference in their behavior.

I'm working on ways to 'easily' smooth out pig damage for reseeding, and will post back what I try and how it's working. Anyone have ideas on smoothing clay without large equipment?



First Picture below is of two of the pigs out free ranging (with the ducks). They are coming up to me to see if it's time to go back now.
Second Picture was just taken this winter, of the same two pigs. It shows how well my road area is doing with heavy pig load. They are standing by the door ready to be let out.








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We have 3 pure bred kune kune pigs on our 1.5 hectare (5 acre) 'farm' in temperate New Zealand. They are rotated regularly through about 60% of the land area and do a fantastic job of keeping grass down along paths and around trees. We have had little 'damage' from rooting and in the few cases (in wet winters) used the areas to seed new herbal pasture, legumes and the like.

Never eaten them and don't plan to. They put on weight reasonably quickly if you supplement the grass with acorns, fruit etc.

I think they are a fantastic addition to the small farm if uses in the right ways. The only damage to young trees occurred this very dry summer when we almost ran out of grass. Some photos and additional experiences here - http://www.blockhill.co.nz/what_why/keeping_animals/pigs
 
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Amedean Messan wrote:

Sue Miller wrote:

http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/lsb-forum/showthread.php?t=27767



Small world. I'm poster #2 on that thread

 
Jami McBride
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We have eaten our x-Kune's and couldn't believe the flavor! It was love at first bite. From then on it was certain we would always have pastured pork. After a while it was the small-breed pigs personalities that sealed it for us. All our piglets are tamed and easy homestead additions.

They are so much fun to raise. While I was giving a visitor the tour, my 300 lb boar came crashing through the thick brush at a full run, growl-huffing each time he hit the ground; it was such a site he almost scared me..... He just had inches before running me over when he did an all-stop at my feet and flopped over for his tummy rub, of course I obliged him The visitor shouted, "I want one of those!"


Below is a rough pig size comparison - Of the Heritage pig breeds some are in the small 150 - 300 lb range, like KuneKune and Guinea Hog. In the picture below you can see how the 'small' size category (spotted, short snout KuneKune - by her shoulder) is in the mid range.

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Thought I'd post a little before and after pic of our kune-ish cross pair.  First pic is when they are first put in the paddock the last pic is after a week....not much damage out of these two!
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Maybe he went home and went to bed. And took this tiny ad with him:
Binge on 17 Seasons of Permaculture Design Monkeys!
http://permaculture-design-course.com
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