KuneKune Pigs

Place of origin: Possibly Asia, introduced to New Zealand and now domesticated worldwide

The name Kunekune means “fat and round” in Māori. The Māori are native peoples in areas of New Zealand and use these pigs as a source of food at times of feasting. The breed has been maintained for millennia by the native Māori of New Zealand, but their actual origin is still under debate.

The Kunekune pig is one of the most well-known types of domesticated pig in the world, however it is actually classed as a rare breed with less than 2,000 pure bred Kunekune’s in the world, at one point they even faced extinction! https://www.woburnsafari.co.uk/

The British KuneKune Pig Society states that they have registered 500 KuneKune pigs. We can assume that these pigs have a larger population as they are domesticated pigs and people often keep them as pets. As of the ’80s, only 50 KuneKune pigs were left. However, its population slowly increased as they became more popular again and the breed was stopped from becoming extinct.

KuneKune Pig Characteristics

The KuneKune pig’s physical shape is that they have round bellies, which is covered by a variety of coats which vary in color and pattern, ranging from speckled or blotchy to solid hues of brown, black, white, tan and gold. Their  coat texture also can vary as well, from short and silky to coarse and curly. The KuneKune’s body is supported by short to medium legs, which is in good balance with overall size and confirmation.

The KuneKune has a medium to short, slightly upturned snout, often black, and either semi lopped or pricked ears.

Other Special Characteristics:

•Hardy, and active

•KuneKune sows are usually excellent mothers

•Known for having a very are very docile and sweet temperament

•Average litter, 6 to 8 piglets

•Climate Tolerance: Fair quite well in most environments

•They are ideal for smaller farms or homesteads, as they do not root as much as other foragers

•Produces have a rich pink to scarlet color, marbled with luscious fat

Hi all, my name is Shane Kenneally and I come from Dundeady 9mls west of Clonakilty on the southwest of Ireland. I started out with 4 hens and a few ducks in a house we were renting. When we bought a house on an acre it had an old stable.

We increased eventually to 44 hens selling eggs in our honesty box at the gate. I convinced my wife to allow me buy 2 pigs…” 2 pigs and no more” I researched varying pigs and settled on KuneKune pigs as they seemed a bit rarer and “non rooting“, and we soon found out that was not necessarily true!

Having never had pigs it was all new to me and a huge learning curve, I fenced off a quarter of an acre and converted a 12×10 garden shed. We bought our first set of pedigree KuneKune pigs one gilt and one boar. There temperament is excellent and very friendly. A few months later we obtained another 2 yr. old Kunekune “Winky” and her boyfriend on hire “Donal” a smashing Scotsman. We learned so much over the weeks, learning when in heat, matching rituals, escape artists, etc. 8 weeks later and Donal was gone home, and the waiting game began. June 18th Winky farrowed and despite having a beautiful maternity ward for her she farrowed outside; she got mastitis, and we ended up bottle feeding for a while. We lost 2 piglets out of 10 she had, with lots of late nights, sleeping in the farrowing shed. Only 2 pigs and now up to 13 I was going well, Amy my wife was great feeding pigs while I worked night shifts. When they were ready, we sold our piglets and enjoyed the well-earned break.

I then decided that I wanted to venture into pork, I bought 2 weaners from a fellow IPs member and so it began. I acquired some land off my cousin adjacent to my own land and segregated our stock breeding vs fattening. I kept Winky in with the weaners. KuneKune pork is very rare in Ireland and when the opportunity arose to buy four purebred nonregistered KuneKune’s I bought them, now we are up to nine. I have researched a lot about fattening KuneKunes, kill ages, weights, etc., and decided we would develop these kunekune piglets and learn for future pork production.

I came across some Idaho pasture pigs, having never seen them before I was intrigued and decided to  googled them and I discovered they were bred for meat production, being a crossbreed of the Duroc, Berkshire, and KuneKune. They are true grazing pigs that are very gentle-natured and have great personalities. We bought five piglets to add to our growing family and be able to provide something different to our customers. I must emphasis without the help of the Irish Pig Society we would not be where we are today, a great bunch of people with a wealth of experience and always at the end of a phone should you need advice.

Outdoor Reared Free-range Pork is the way forward, ensure you don’t get left behind and join the IPS today.