Kunekune pigs for sale logo



Raising Feeder Pigs

Raising Feeder Pigs: Why Are KuneKunes the Best Breed?

Questions and Comments About Feeder Pigs,Raising Feeder Pigs

What are Feeder Pigs?

Feeder pigs are young pigs, typically around 8 weeks old, that are raised for meat production. They are a specific stage within the life cycle of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), a subspecies of wild boar that has been domesticated for thousands of years.

Feeder pigs encompass various breeds and crosses, each with unique characteristics suited for different farming systems and goals. Among these breeds, KuneKune pigs have gained popularity as an ideal choice for small-scale, sustainable farming operations.

Raising feeder pigs offers several advantages for farmers, particularly those interested in sustainable and economically viable practices. Pigs are efficient converters of feed to meat, meaning they can provide a significant return on investment in a relatively short time. Additionally, pigs are versatile in their diet, able to consume a wide range of feedstuffs, including agricultural by-products and food waste, which can help reduce overall feed costs.

In the following sections, we will explore what makes KuneKune pigs stand out as the best breed for small-scale feeder pig operations, as well as provide practical guidance on their care, management, and economic potential.

a close-up of a friendly KuneKune pig feeder pigs face

What Makes KuneKune Pigs Stand Out Among Other Feeder Pig Breeds?

KuneKune pigs are a unique breed that possesses several characteristics making them ideal for small-scale, sustainable farming. These traits set them apart from other common feeder pig breeds, such as Yorkshire, Duroc, and Landrace.

Does Size Matter?

One of the most notable attributes of KuneKune pigs is their small to medium size. KuneKunes typically weigh between 160-200 pounds at butcher weight, which is significantly smaller than commercial breeds that can reach 275 pounds or more. This smaller size makes KuneKunes easier to handle, transport, and house, reducing the need for extensive infrastructure and resources.

Although you may be missing out on 100 pounds of live weight or more at processing one of the most important factors for us is the ease of manageability.

KuneKune Pig Size Comparison

What is a KuneKunes Temperament Like?

KuneKunes are known for their docile and friendly temperament. They are social animals that enjoy human interaction and are less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors compared to some other breeds. This calm nature makes them well-suited for small farms where close contact with humans is common.

At KuneKune Pigs for Sale we offer farm tours to customers year round. They get consistent interaction their entire lives whether it be from our family or guests. This is why it is so critical of having a pig that is easy going.

How is a KuneKunes Diet Different?

Another key characteristic of KuneKune pigs is their grazing ability. Unlike many other pig breeds that primarily rely on concentrated feed, KuneKunes are efficient grazers, able to thrive on a diet of grass, forbs, and other pasture plants. This grazing habit not only reduces feed costs but also contributes to sustainable land management by helping to control vegetation and improve soil health.

When growing out a feeder pig we encourage customers to still grain feed their KuneKunes’ however, this is more as a tool to encourage daily interaction and to keep them more social.

The combination of size, temperament, and grazing ability makes KuneKune pigs an excellent choice for small-scale, pasture-based farming systems. Their adaptability and hardiness allow them to thrive in various environments, while their gentle nature and smaller size make them more manageable for farmers with limited resources or experience.

What Does KuneKune Meat Taste Like?

When raised on open pasture and allowed to forage naturally, KuneKunes produce exceptionally succulent and flavorful pork. The red meat contains delicate marbling that gives it a sweet, nutty taste and tender texture.

One of the most striking features of KuneKune pork is its deep red color, which is more vivid than conventional pork from other breeds. This rich hue comes from the higher levels of myoglobin in the muscles, a result of the pigs’ active outdoor lifestyle on the farm. Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen in muscle cells, and it’s more abundant in animals that engage in regular exercise, like pasture-raised KuneKune pigs. The deep red color is a visual indicator of the meat’s superior flavor, texture, and nutritional quality.

In the next section, we will delve into the specific dietary needs and feeding strategies for KuneKune pigs, exploring how their unique attributes influence their nutritional requirements and management.

colors of kunekune pigs

What are the Dietary Needs of KuneKune Pigs?

Proper nutrition is essential for the health, growth, and overall well-being of KuneKune pigs. As a grazing breed, KuneKunes have specific dietary requirements that differ from those of conventional feeder pigs.

KuneKune pigs are known for their ability to thrive on a diverse diet consisting of grass, hay, vegetables, and fruits. This is due to their efficient digestive system, which allows them to extract nutrients from fibrous plant materials. Whereas commercial feeder pig breeds typically require a diet high in concentrated grains and protein to achieve rapid growth.

When developing a feeding plan for KuneKune pigs, it’s essential to focus on providing a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs while taking advantage of their grazing abilities. A well-managed pasture can form the foundation of their diet, supplemented with a variety of other feedstuffs to ensure optimal health and growth.

Some key components of a KuneKune pig’s diet include:

  1. High-quality pasture: A diverse mix of grasses, legumes, and forbs provides essential nutrients and fiber.
  2. Supplemental vegetables and fruits: Kitchen scraps, garden waste, and surplus produce can be fed to KuneKunes, reducing feed costs and environmental impact.
  3. Limited grain: While KuneKunes can consume some grain, it should be offered in moderation to prevent excessive weight gain and maintain their grazing instincts.
  4. Clean water: Access to fresh, clean water is crucial for maintaining proper hydration and overall health.

By focusing on a pasture-based diet supplemented with a variety of other nutrient-dense feedstuffs, KuneKune farmers can support the healthy growth and development of their pigs while minimizing environmental impact and feed costs.

It’s important to note that the specific dietary needs of KuneKune pigs may vary depending on factors such as age, stage of production, and individual health status. Working closely with a veterinarian or experienced KuneKune breeder can help ensure that your feeding program is tailored to the unique needs of your herd.

In the next section, we will explore the housing and environmental requirements for KuneKune pigs, discussing how to create an optimal living space that supports their natural behaviors and well-being.

KuneKune pigs enjoying a varied diet - vegetables, pasture and fruit

What are the Housing and Space Requirements for KuneKune Pigs?

Providing a suitable living environment is crucial for the health, happiness, and productivity of KuneKune pigs. As a breed that thrives on pasture-based systems, KuneKunes have specific housing and space requirements that differ from those of conventional feeder pigs.

When designing housing for KuneKune pigs, it’s essential to consider their natural behaviors and environmental needs. KuneKunes are social animals that require ample space to move, and interact with their herd mates. A well-designed KuneKune habitat should include:

  1. Adequate space: KuneKunes require a minimum of 1/4 acre per pig, with additional space for exercise and grazing.
  2. Sturdy fencing: KuneKunes are intelligent and curious animals that require secure fencing to protect them from predators. Electric fencing is an effective and affordable option.
  3. Shelter: KuneKunes need access to shelter to protect them from extreme weather conditions. A simple, three-sided structure with a roof provides adequate protection from sun, wind, and rain.
  4. Wallowing area: As pigs do not sweat, KuneKunes require a mud wallow to help regulate their body temperature during hot weather.
  5. Enrichment: Providing environmental enrichment toys, and brushes, can help stimulate natural behaviors and reduce stress.

By creating a living space that meets the specific needs of KuneKune pigs, farmers can promote their physical and mental well-being, leading to healthier, more contented animals.

What Social Aspects Need to Be Considered for Shelter?

Just like all pigs, social dynamics should be a consideration in their housing environment. Pigs are herd animals and KuneKunes thrive in the company of other pigs. Housing them in compatible groups can help reduce stress and promote positive social interactions.

When introducing new pigs to an existing herd, it’s essential to do so gradually and with a thought out plan:

  • Prior to any introduction any pigs should be evaluated for biosecurity concerns. This may include a quarantine process and veterinarian evaluation.
  • Be mindful of life stages: It may seem like common sense but integrating an 8-week old feeder pig with a 3 year old boar may not be a smart idea. If you have options try to keep your pigs in appropriate age groups. This will help their mental well-being as well as ensure they are getting enough feed and aren’t getting bullied within the herd.
  • Consider fence sharing: After biosecurity checks have been conducted by your vet we always advise owners at least 3 days of fence sharing prior to integrating a pig to a new herd. Ideally this is an electric fence and allows the new addition to get trained to the fencing and allows all the pigs the opportunity to learn the new smells.
  • Expect a Tussle: Prior to integrating the new pig to your herd understand that they have to find a pecking order within the herd. We suggest using crisco on your pigs coats to alleviate any issues for the first day or so. This will keep the herd safe from each other and helps mitigate any injuries.

Properly managing the living environment of KuneKune pigs is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and maintenance. This includes tasks such as cleaning, waste management, and pasture rotation to ensure optimal health and hygiene.

In the next section, we will delve into the best practices for maintaining the health and welfare of KuneKune pigs, discussing topics such as preventive care, common health concerns, and the importance of proper welfare practices.

KuneKune pig in a well-designed habitat with shelter, wallowing area, and enrichment

What Steps to take to Prioritize Health and Welfare While Raising KuneKune Pigs?

Maintaining the health and welfare of KuneKune pigs is essential for their overall well-being and productivity. As a breed known for its hardiness and adaptability, KuneKunes can thrive with proper care and management.

What Are Key Practices in a KuneKune Husbandry?

One of the key aspects of promoting KuneKune health is implementing a comprehensive preventive care program. This includes regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite control measures. KuneKunes should be routinely monitored for signs of illness or injury, such as changes in appetite, behavior, or appearance.

Common health concerns for KuneKune pigs include:

  1. Parasites: Internal parasites, such as roundworms and coccidia, can cause digestive issues and impair growth. Regular deworming and fecal testing can help control parasite loads.
  2. Skin issues: KuneKunes may be prone to skin problems, such as sunburn, insect bites, and fungal infections. Providing adequate shelter and maintaining a clean environment can help prevent these issues.
  3. Hoof problems: Overgrown or cracked hooves can cause lameness and discomfort. Regular hoof trimming and maintenance are essential for maintaining healthy feet.

How Can We Enhance the Mental and Emotional Welfare of KuneKune Pigs?

In addition to physical health, the welfare of KuneKune pigs is closely tied to their mental and emotional well-being. KuneKune Pigs require an environment that meets their behavioral needs and promotes positive experiences.

Proper welfare practices for KuneKune pigs include:

  1. Social housing: KuneKunes should be housed in compatible groups to allow for social interaction and natural behaviors.
  2. Environmental enrichment: Providing toys, rooting areas, and other forms of enrichment can help reduce boredom and stress.
  3. Low-stress handling: Using positive reinforcement techniques and minimizing fear and anxiety during handling can help promote trust and well-being.
  4. Humane husbandry: Practices such as castration, ear tagging, and teeth clipping should be performed by trained individuals using appropriate pain management techniques.

What Guidelines Should Be Followed for Ongoing Health and Welfare Monitoring?

Regular monitoring, record-keeping, and communication with veterinary professionals are essential for identifying and addressing health and welfare concerns in a timely manner. By staying informed and proactive, KuneKune farmers can ensure that their pigs receive the highest standard of care.

In the next section, we will explore the economic aspects of raising KuneKune pigs, discussing the costs, benefits, and strategies for building a profitable and sustainable KuneKune enterprise.

A veterinarian examining a healthy Pig during a routine checkup
Alt text: A veterinarian examining a healthy KuneKune pig during a routine check-up

What Are the Economic Considerations for Successfully Raising KuneKune Pigs?

Raising Kunes can be a rewarding and profitable venture for small-scale farmers who carefully consider the costs of KuneKune pigs, benefits, and market potential of their enterprise. By understanding the economic factors involved in KuneKune production, farmers can make informed decisions and develop strategies for success.

What Are the Initial and Ongoing Costs of Raising KuneKune Pigs?

One of the primary costs associated with raising KuneKune pigs is the initial investment in breeding stock or feeder pigs. The price of KuneKune pigs can vary depending on factors such as age, genetics, and location, with registered feeder pigs typically costing between $250 to $350 per pig.

However, if this is a long term plan investing in a breeding pair can be a great way to cut costs and create sustainability.

Breeding pairs generally cost $1,400 to $1,600 from a reputable KuneKune Breeder, however once sexually mature you can expect 6-12 piglets in initial litters and an average of 6-8 piglets per litter thereafter.

Ongoing expenses for KuneKune production include:

  1. Feed: While KuneKunes are efficient grazers, they may require supplemental feed, particularly during winter months or periods of low pasture quality. Feed costs can be minimized by utilizing local resources and by-products when available.
  2. Veterinary care: Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite control measures are essential for maintaining the health of the herd. Budgeting for routine veterinary expenses can help prevent costly health issues down the line.
  3. Infrastructure: Fencing, shelter, and other infrastructure costs can vary depending on the scale of the operation and the resources available. Utilizing low-cost, sustainable materials and designing multi-functional spaces can help reduce these expenses.

We have created a tool to help owners with calculating costs of raising their KuneKune Pigs, leverage the tool below:

How Can Farmers Maximize the Profitability of KuneKune Pigs?

Despite the costs involved, raising KuneKune pigs offers numerous potential benefits and opportunities for profitability. As a niche breed known for its high-quality meat and unique characteristics, KuneKunes can command premium prices in specialty markets.

Strategies for maximizing profitability in KuneKune farming include:

  1. Direct marketing: Selling KuneKune pork directly to consumers through farmers markets, online platforms, or community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs can help capture a larger share of the retail price.
  2. Value-added products: Processing KuneKune pork into specialty products, such as sausages, bacon, or charcuterie, can increase the value and marketability of the meat.
  3. Agritourism: Inviting visitors to the farm to learn about KuneKune pigs and sustainable agriculture can provide additional revenue streams and build customer loyalty.
  4. Breeding and genetics: Developing a reputation for producing high-quality KuneKune breeding stock can generate additional income and contribute to the overall improvement of the breed.

By carefully managing costs, diversifying revenue streams, and focusing on the unique qualities of KuneKune pigs, small-scale farmers can build profitable and sustainable enterprises that contribute to the local food system and support the conservation of this remarkable breed.

In the next section, we will provide practical guidance on starting a KuneKune herd, including sourcing breeding stock, navigating legal requirements, and establishing effective herd management practices.

a farmer selling kunekune pork products at a local farmers market

How Do You Start and Manage a KuneKune Herd?

Establishing a KuneKune herd requires careful planning, preparation, and attention to detail. By following a step-by-step approach and familiarizing yourself with the legal requirements involved, you can lay the foundation for a successful and sustainable KuneKune enterprise.

The first step in starting a KuneKune herd is to research and select the right breeding stock. Look for reputable breeders who prioritize health, genetics, and temperament in their breeding programs. Attend KuneKune shows, visit farms, and talk to experienced breeders to learn more about the breed and identify potential sources for your foundation stock.

When selecting breeding animals, consider factors such as:

  1. Health status: Choose pigs from herds with a documented history of good health and disease resistance.
  2. Conformation: Look for pigs that adhere to the breed standard, with strong legs, a straight back, and a balanced frame.
  3. Temperament: Select pigs with a calm, friendly disposition that will be easy to handle and manage.
  4. Genetic diversity: Aim to start your herd with unrelated individuals to maintain genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding.

In addition to selecting the right breeding stock, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and regulations governing KuneKune pig ownership in your area. These may include:

  1. Zoning laws: Check with your local zoning office to ensure that keeping pigs is permitted on your property.
  2. Permits and licenses: Obtain any necessary permits or licenses required for raising livestock in your area.
  3. Animal welfare regulations: Familiarize yourself with animal welfare laws and best practices to ensure

©2023 Kunekune Pigs For Sale. Powered by Kunekune Pigs For Sale.

contact@kunekunepigsforsale.net | 190 Cimarron Pl Unit 1462, Farmington, AR 72730 |  (417) 986-2403