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By Shannon Chandler, Diamond Wire Farms

Whether you are receiving your first KuneKune or infusing a new bloodline into an already established herd, the arrival of a new KuneKune pig or piglet on anyone’s farm is an exciting time.

Most KuneKunes in the US are housed in home or hobby farm type situations. Even the largest of the KuneKune breeding operations would be considered miniature when compared to operations for commercial swine production. This does not lessen the risk of disease or parasites being introduced to our animals. In fact, the KuneKunes rarity and our pension for having “pigs fly” across the US to new owners present increased risk factors for disease and parasite introduction to our herds. This risk can be minimized by:

* Discussing worming and vaccination schedules of the incoming animal with your vet before it arrives at your farm.

* Quarantine the pig on arrival in an isolated pen/building. An effective quarantine area shares no fence lines with any of your existing animals, and provides no way for run-off or transfer of droppings between herds.

* Have a dedicated pair of boots and coveralls that are only used for attending the quarantine animal. Thoroughly wash hands after being in the quarantine area. Many owners choose to work their existing herd first and then the quarantine area as the last chore of the day.

* Depending on the risks, quarantine should last four to eight weeks.

* Vaccinate incoming pigs in quarantine in accordance with your herd vaccination schedule and regional disease concerns, e.g. erysipelas, PRRS, PCV2 etc.

* Treat pigs in isolation for parasites. Injectable Ivermectin/Dectomax will treat external and internal parasites including mange, lice and worms.

A similar quarantine period should be carried out each time a pig comes onto your farm. This includes your own pigs that have been offsite at shows and shared boar situations. Trailers and transport crates should be thoroughly washed and disinfected after use. Sharing a boar presents the risk of spreading both venereal infection (e.g. leptospira, chlamydophila) and systemic or superficial diseases.

Reputable breeders should assist new owners by providing the worming and vaccination schedule of piglets. Pigs should leave the breeders property fully vaccinated and having been treated with Ivermectin prior to leaving the property.

While pig-pig contact presents the primary risk for disease introduction to a herd, people should not be overlooked. Visitors should not have unrestricted access to your pigs. Of particular risk to the small pig farmer are prospective buyers with other pigs at home and shared labor/transport, ie. helping out friends who also keep pigs. In such situations, thoroughly washing hands etc. and a complete change of boots and overalls between properties (both directions) are recommended. Saliva or feces on overalls can easily spread disease. The provision of a clean, fresh disinfectant foot dip at the entrance to the pen area is also wise precaution. Foot bath disinfectants can be purchased through farm suppliers.

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