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Why I Sold My Kune Kune Pig – Our Experience & Lessons Learned

A few years ago, Kune Kune pigs were the hottest pig around. As someone who has owned potbellied pigs as pets for almost ten years, I was interested in getting into KuneKunes, making money, and having piglets! 

Does anyone else look back to COVID-19 times and think, if there is ever a pandemic again, I will NOT make any major decisions during it?! 

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Darla, our Kunekune pig was one of those. It sounded so good at the time: Get a baby pig eight weeks old, keep her in the house for a few months like I did with Bently, then put her out with the potbellied pigs and have her get pregnant from a friend of ours who had a Registered KuneKune boar. 

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I, the frugal girl who has always gotten a great deal on almost everything, including my farm animals, paid an insane amount of money for this pig, in my opinion. 

I know you are probably curious, and I’ll share it here with you, but don’t judge, or do it don’t matter I paid $700.

This was the most money I’ve ever spent on an animal, but I was convinced or hopeful she was worth the money, and the piglets would be a money maker. 

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Right now, on the farm, I typically break even unless I have more does when we hit kidding season for our goats. With the addition of selling Kunekunes at around $400- $500 each, and they can have at least four to start, this sounds like a money maker.

The icing on the cake was that she wouldn’t root up the ground like the mini pigs, so I could keep her with the goats. 

Which worked out fine. 

Until it wasn’t.

Why I Sold My Kune Kune Pig - Our Experience & Lessons Learned

Here are a few facts about Kunekunes that make this a lot harder. 

They are slow-growing. Many livestock not raised for meat take a good couple of years to reach their full weight. This is why you see a lot of mini pigs for sale around the 2-3 year old age, even though mini pigs do not stop growing until they are 5 years old. 

  • KuneKune pigs originated from New Zealand and were originally bred by the Maori people for their meat.
  • They are known for being docile, friendly, and easy to handle, which makes them great pets.
  • These pigs have a unique appearance: short legs, stocky bodies, and long, curly hair.
  • They are considered a rare breed and require specific care and attention.
  • KuneKune pigs are known for their grazing abilities, making them great for pasture-based farming.
  • They generally have a calm temperament and get along well with other animals.
  • These pigs can live up to 20 years if well cared for.

Something about Darla was just NOT what I was expecting when it came to keeping her in the house. I felt like with the potbellies; they caught on to a training word in a day or two. Darla just didn’t seem like she wanted anything to do with anything. 

She’s a lover but wasn’t keen on being told where to go or when. 

As a kid, I raised pigs in 4H, so she seemed a lot more like a farm pig. She got along with the goats mainly because she grew up with them. One day, I tried putting her in with our buck goats, and she was biting at their legs. I was shocked but thought she isn’t used to them. 

Our potbellied pigs are separate from the other animals, but occasionally, I let the pigs into the goat pasture to clean up what the goats don’t eat. They have never tried to bite or lunge at the animals. 

Then, when we first brought home some pregnant ewes, I tried putting Darla with them. Nope, she was not having it and showed a lot of aggression. 

Then we brought in the Kune Kune Boar from a friend.

Why I Sold My Kune Kune Pig - Our Experience & Lessons Learned

This boar stayed with us for a month, and Darla didn’t want anything to do with him. At this point, she was about ten months old and a lot smaller than the boar.

I started feeding her more convinced or just hopeful that she was pregnant. She was growing, and for a while, we really thought it was because she was pregnant. I ended up buying the pig pregnancy tests on Amazon! Yep, chasing her with a bucket to test her urine. These were the ones recommended the most on YouTube.

When her due date month of July came, nothing happened for days. 

We realized she wasn’t pregnant. Another downside is that they may not be fertile or ready to be bred until after one, and when you start researching, this seems to be more common. Breeders will wait until after a year old.  

Now, I had a very large pig on my hands. She was taking up half the goat pen, and then with the sheep, it was all a little too much. 

I tried putting her in with the potbellies—well, if you have potbellies, you know they are brutal to other pigs and WILL fight until the order is established. Kunes are very laid-back and typically do not fight like crazy when introduced. 

This was another plus. Well, Bently, our top pig, who does have smaller tusks but is still sharp enough, attacked Darla, and she did not fight back. I had to intervene because his tusk scraped her eye. It was all too much for this pig mama. She returned with the goats, where she was outgrowing her space by the day. 

My options were limited. My daughter wanted to continue showing sheep, and the rest of the family wanted to continue raising and butchering our own lambs.

So I had to give her to friends who hoped to get into KuneKunes. 

I don’t think the market for these pigs is the same as a few years ago. If you want to get into pigs, you’ll have better luck selling them for meat than breeding them. It could be the area you are in, too. We are in Western NY. 

If your kids want to show them in fairs, that’s one thing, but to start a Kune Kune business, maybe try dwarf-size goats instead. I don’t know; maybe I’m just not feeling it. I’m sure you can sell them for cheaper; it must be a passion and worth the time.

Our friends who took Darla had a hard time selling her four piglets. It was also a stressful time for them, with one of the piglets having spins and needing medication, which led to a vet visit. Darla also attacked the pigs, which took some course correction in her behavior. That is very common, but it’s still all the little things to consider if you want to start raising Kunekunes. 

There are always so many risks in farm life, and we all know that, but it’s not a bad idea to examine them more closely and see if they outweigh the benefits. 

Do your research and see if there is a demand for pigs in your area. Are there other pig breeders? 

Let me know if you have any other questions. I want to hear your thoughts or stories. Have you raised a Kunekune pig? If I had to choose for a pet, I’d select potbellied all the way. They are a lot smaller and easier to manage. 

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