Kunekunes are quickly gaining popularity among homesteaders and small farmers. Below are 10 reasons why you should add Kunekunes to your homestead.
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What are Kunekunes?
Kunekunes (pronounced “cooney cooney”) are a heritage breed of hog that are known as the Maori pig that originated in New Zealand. They were near extinction in the 1970’s, but thanks to conservation efforts, the breed has gained recognition in New Zealand, Great Britain, Europe, United States and, Canada.
Why Should You Add Kunekunes to Your Homestead?
1. Kunekunes are a Heritage Breed of pigs
The first reason why you should add Kunekunes to your homestead is because they are a heritage breed. Heritage breed animals more closely resemble livestock breeds that have been raised throughout history. In general, heritage breeds tend to be more independent and more resilient than commercial breeds thus requiring less intervention. Heritage breeds tend to retain more characteristics of their wild ancestors (i.e. grazing, maternal instincts, temperament). Heritage breed meat also tends to have more flavor and taste better (see number 6 for more information on this).
2. Kunekunes are smaller in size compared to commercially raised hogs
Kunekunes range in size based largely on genetics and feeding protocol. However, they are typically smaller than commercial breed hogs. That being said, Kunekunes can vary in weight from 150 – 400 pounds with boars can reaching up to 400 pounds and sows up to 350 pounds.
3. Kunekunes Have a Wonderful Personality and Disposition
Disposition was one of our driving forces behind adding Kunekunes to our farm/homestead. Kunekunes tend to be very docile and gentle. Our kids are a big part of our farm life and they are always around the animals with us. To us, it was very important that we raise animals that we are comfortable with our kids being around (always supervised, of course). Kunekunes are very friendly and social pigs. These characteristics also lend Kunekunes to being a great breed for the first-time hog farmer.
4. Kunekunes are Less Likely to Root
In general, Kunekunes have short, upturned snouts which lends them to not being able to root as effectively as hogs with longer snouts. That does not mean that Kunekunes do not root at all, because they certainly can. I have found that our Kunekunes tend to root when the ground is wet and muddy, but do not root near as much as commercial hog breeds.
5. Kunekunes Thrive on Pasture
In addition to Kunekunes being less they likely root, they are known for being excellent grazers. They are able to utilize grass/pasture as a feedstuff and convert pasture into growth. This gives farms the ability to lower the amount of feed when their Kunekunes are given access to quality pasture.
6. Excellent Marbled Pork
Kunekune pork is said to be the Kobe beef of the pork industry. Kunekune pork is a deep red color with excellent marbling throughout. It has an excellent flavor and texture.
Kunekunes are lard pigs. This means that they have more lard than the average commercial pig. Some people might view this as a con to raising Kunekunes. However, the lard has many different uses. For example, you can use it cooking as well as for making personal care items, such as: lotions and soaps.
8. Kunekunes Have Excellent, Natural Maternal Instincts
In our experience, Kunekunes have excellent, natural maternal instincts. They tend to farrow with ease and take great care of their piglets. Sows are also protective of their piglets; however, they tend to not be overly aggressive to humans.
9. Kunekunes Come in a Wide Variety of Colors, Shapes, and Sizes
If you have seen Kunekunes, you might have noticed how they vary in color, shapes, and sizes. Their hair texture can vary. They can have longer or shorter snouts. Their ears can be in different positions. They are all truly unique. Find out more information on the breed standard here.
10. Kunekune Community
This isn’t specifically related to the pigs themselves; however, there is an excellent community of Kunekune breeders out there. Don’t get me wrong, there are always people out there with poor intentions. That being said, if you get started with the right breeder and mentor, they should help you succeed in your program.
are you Interested in Getting Started with Kunekunes?
Visit our Kunekunes for sale page (here) and/or visit our upcoming litters page (here) to get on our waiting list. We focus on 200 in 12 genetics and only sell a limited number from each litter as breeding stock. We occasionally have barrows for sale as well.
additional kunekune resources:
- Small-scale Outdoor Pig Breeding by Wendy Scudamore
- Happy Pigs Taste Better by Alice Percy
- See more of our Kunekune blog posts and resources, here
- Corva Bella Farm is an experienced Kunekune breeder with lots of information on their website and Facebook
This is such a great list! I’ve been leaning toward adding Kunekune pigs to our homestead. This helps!