About the breed.
The Kunekune Pig (pronounced "cooney cooney") is a breed known as the "Maori Pig" having been developed by the first people of New Zealand. Being near extinction in their homeland during the 1970's, two animal preservationists, Michael Willis and John Simister, are credited with their conservation. Since that time, the breed has gained recognition on both the North and South islands of New Zealand, in Great Britian and Europe, the United States, and, most recently, in Canada. The Kunekune Pig in America is finding a serious niche market for small farms, in sustainable farming systems, for permaculture, and with chefs, charcutiers, caterers, and in home butchery.
UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS - Kunekune Pigs are a smaller size hog with boars reaching up to 500 pounds and sows 400 pounds. They are varied in hair color and hair texture with ears that are pricked or semi-lop. Extremely docile in temperament, the breed is suitable for first time pig growers. For a comprehensive description of physical characteristics, see BREED STANDARD.
FEEDING - Kunekune are known to many as "the Grazing Pig" being extremely efficient on grass and not prone to root or roam. Pasture grasses work well with supplementation to satisfy dietary needs for appropriate protein intake as well as vitamins and minerals. Hay can be fed when pasture is scarce or unavailable.
Commercial pig feeds, organic or proprietary feeds, along with garden excess all work to guarantee your pig's optimum condition. Gestating and lactating sows as well as piglets should always get a daily ration in addition to any pasture and/or hay.
When feeding out meat pigs for sale or for your family's table, consider the reason behind the niche market for those who practice excellent husbandry. The "alternative system" of rearing your pigs out-of-doors in an open-air piggery and feeding them from the orchard and garden not only speaks to buyers, but produces exceptional quality and taste in the pork that you produce.
HOUSING - Pigs need housing and shade in order to thrive in any environment. Depending upon the climate and conditions, producers will need to provide a relatively draft free space with clean bedding and protection from sun, wind and rain. In the coldest climates, deep straw or hay, perhaps with a layer of wood shavings underneath, will be required to keep pigs warm and dry.