Care

A few of the most frequently asked questions about keeping Kune Kunes.

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If I would like to buy a Kune Kune, where do I start?
How big are Kune Kunes?
Where can I keep a Kune Kune?
What kind of housing do they need?
What kind of enclosure do they need?
What do Kune Kunes eat?
Is there any food that I can’t give them?
Is it best to keep males or females?
Can you keep them alone or in a group?
Can they be trusted with small children?
Can Kune Kunes live together with other animals?
What vaccinations do they need?
Should Kune Kunes be wormed?
Do pigs need mud?
Are pigs dirty and smelly?
Do you also sell intact boars?
Regulations for pigs
Do you also sell abroad?



I would like to buy a Kune Kune. Where do I start?
The first thing you should do, is meet a few Kune Kunes in real life. Spend some time with them. Make sure that you have a realistic impression of what it means to keep pigs. Gather more information by visiting websites, such as Levende Have (see ‘Links’), or read the book ‘Starting with Pigs’ by Andy Case.
We recommend people to only buy registered Kune Kunes, with a pedigree. This way, the existing bloodlines remain pure and inbreeding or mixing with other breeds is prevented. By buying registered pigs, we can prevent rare breeds of pigs from disappearing.

 

How big are Kune Kunes?
Kune Kunes are much smaller than pigs that are bred for meat, but they are not mini-pigs! Adult pigs usually weigh between 60 and 100 kg’s and are between 55 and 75 cm’s in height. Like most newborn animals, the piglets are small and cute, but eventually they will grow up to be big pigs, unfit to be kept indoors!
So think it over well before deciding to buy piglets. You should take into consideration the size of the adult animals!



Where can I keep a Kune Kune?

Most people keep their Kune Kune in a separate part of a large garden, or in a paddock or meadow. As long as the animals are provided with a dry and draft-free shelter filled with straw, they can be kept outside all year round. It is advised to keep 5-6 pigs per acre. Kune Kune’s don’t only eat grass, they also walk over is constantly. In rainy weather, this can damage the ground. This is why it is advisable to divide your land into smaller sections, e.g. with electrical fencing. This way, the pigs can use another field from time to time, and the grass has time to recover.


What kind of housing do they need?
If you have a stable, the Kune Kunes can sleep in a corner on a thick bed of straw. Our Kune Kunes have a wooden pig-pen in the paddock. There are all kinds of pens of different materials, such as wood, plastic, galvanized boards, etc. Kune Kunes are strong animals, they can live in a pen in the paddock without any problems, as long as their sleeping area is dry and draft-free, with a lot of straw.


What kind of enclosure do they need?
Pigs need sturdy fencing. You can use sheep-mesh, but we have a wooden enclosure with a few electrical wires. In any case, it is always a goods idea to have an electrical wire along the bottom of the fence or mesh. From experience, we have learned that once a pig can get its nose through something, it will do its very best to squeeze the rest of its body through it as well. By using electric fencing, you can also make small ‘pinch fields’ to have your pigs move around different fields.


What do Kune Kunes eat?
Like all other pigs, kunekunes are grazers. An adult animal can live on only grass in the spring/summer. An acre of grassland is sufficient for at least five Kune Kunes. If you don’t have enough grass, you can easily keep them on a smaller field and feed them extra feeding pellets, supplemented with hay and fruit or vegetable leftovers. Most Kune Kune owners probably feed their animals that way.
If Kune Kunes are only fed with pellets, the following guidelines apply:
Piglets 2-4 months: 0.5 pounds per day
Piglets 4-9 months: 0.75 pounds per day
Adult animals: 1-1,5 pounds per day
The more grass they have, the less pellets you give them.

It is important not to stick to these guidelines too tightly. At some point, you should be able to feed them according to your eye. As soon as your pig starts getting too fat, feed it less. A pig that is too fat, is an unhealthy pig. 


Is there any food that I can’t give them?
Pigs may not be fed kitchen waste (swill). This is prohibited by law. By kitchen waste, we mean all meat, bones, blood, but also any food that may have been in contact with this. Even a bare slice of bread that has had meat on it, is prohibited!


Is it best to keep males or females?
It is generally known that often castrated males are the easiest to handle. Females can be a little more moody, one every three weeks in particular, when they are in heat. Many people choose to keep two castrated males, especially when they do not intend to breed their pigs. Personally, I don’t think it matters much whether you choose a male or a female. It’s the personality (and naturally, appearance also matters) of the individual pig that matters.
You shouldn’t buy an uncastrated boar if you do not plan to breed. Boars are often sweet and gentle animals, but their behaviour can become unpredictable once a sow is in season or when they smell another boar.  Boars may have a strong smell, they grow long tusks and they are a bit heavier and stronger.


Can you keep them alone or in a group?
It is best to keep multiple Kune Kunes. They are very social animals, and they become lonely and suffer if they have to live without other pigs. Two or more is usually a good number.


Can they be trusted with small children?
Kune Kunes are very reliable and they enjoy attention and contact with people. Just like dogs, cats and other animals, it is wise to supervise children when around pigs. Young children should not be around pigs unsupervised (just as they shouldn’t around cats, by the way).


Can they live together with other animals?
Of course! We have our pigs in their own paddock, but we know Kune Kunes that live together with pigs, dogs, goats or horses. Many animals will initially react a little uncertain, but they will soon get used to each other. However, as soon as any animal gives birth, they animals should be (temporarily) separated.


What vaccinations do they need?
For hobby-pigs, there are no compulsory vaccinations at the moment. Our Kune Kunes are vaccinated twice a year against erysipelas. There are other possible vaccinations, but in our eyes, these are mainly needed for pigs in intensive farming.


Should Kune Kunes be wormed?
Yes, once every 4-6 months. Our pigs are given an injection of ivomec, a formula which helps against internal (worms) and external (mange, lice) parasites. We take great care in doing this as children visit our pigs on a daily basis. Furthermore, it is important to take proper care of the land as well. Small fields that are used intensively should be cleaned up daily. If you use an electric fence, you can move the pigs around different fields, so that the land can recover from worm infection.


Do pigs need mud?
In the summer, pigs enjoy mud-baths to cool down. Pigs can’t regulate their own body temperature very well.  They hardly have any sweat glands. At high temperatures, your pig will soon get too hot. Pigs with pale skin or with little hair are also more susceptible to sunburn. By rolling around in the mud, they loose body heat. The mud also protects them against parasites. You can keep a section of their field wet, so that they can make a pit of mud themselves for their mud baths. Our pigs chose their own favourite spot for the mud pool this way. If they push over their water trough, it’s a clear sign that you should make a mud pool for them. Pigs only like mud when they are hot. In the winter, they don’t like to be wet and muddy, as this can make them ill.


Are pigs dirty and smelly?
No. As we described above, pigs like to be warm and dry in the winter. If they have free range, the pigs will never soil their own bed of straw. They do their business in fixed area’s, preferably far away from their sleeping area.


Do you also sell intact boars?
If you are considering breeding pigs in the future, start with a young sow with a castrated male for company. This way, you can gain some experience before you buy a boar. Some Kune Kune owners never buy their own boar for breeding. They let their own sow make use of the services of a covering boar.
Castrated boars are easy to keep and they have a sweet, steady character.
Intact boars are no pets. All adult boars and castrates have sharp tusks, so be careful to avoid accidents. A boar can not be kept with the sow constantly, unless you want two litters a year. So you will need an extra pen and another field. A boar that is bored (not enough opportunity to mate) can become frustrated, resulting in (behavioural) problems. `


Regulations for pigs
Hobbyist pig-owners should apply for a Unique Company Number at the LNV-desk (tel. 0800 2233322). Upon doing this, they will receive a ‘GD-registration and mutation form’ from the Animal Health Service, in which the type of pig-farm and the number of pigs to be kept is asked, amongst other things. Furthermore, the pig-owner will receive information about the compulsory ear-tagging.

The pigs are considered hobby-animals if a maximum of four pigs are kept.  Those who keep more than four adult pigs, are considered equal to a company with growing pigs. In such a case, you must apply for the so called ‘B-status for pig-farmers’.


Do you also sell abroad?

We do have experience in selling abroad. We can export our piglets with all the necessary documents from our government. If there is demand from abroad, we are certainly prepared to work on it.

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