Kunekunes Unique Traits

Unique & Interesting Traits

Details about the kunekune pig’s various purposes and traits can be found in books, websites, personal experiences, and from the informative AKKPR newsletter. The Primer below condenses many of the most important kunekune traits, pros and cons. Please give LonesomeStar.com credit and use this list and links to further promote this special breed.


Homestead Pig Attributes

  • The only pig that can fatten on good quality  grass alone. Lonesome Star Farm (LSF) uses little grain.  Some kunekunes do not care much for hay.  Alfalfa has shown some success in my experience.  Most thin bladed grass will do like coastal.  They normally just eat the grass blade’s top, not the root.
  • Since they are relatively easy to care for, they should be considered for livestock novices.
  • Their snout is very short and turned up which is why kunekune’s among other heritage breeds are known as “grazing pigs.”  Other pigs are able to root deeper with the lower and longer nose.
  • A majority of kunekunes are easy on fencing, rarely challenge them and domesticated. Their night vision can be poor so they stay close to home.
  • On average, kune’s grow to a manageable 150 pounds and 2 feet tall and can farrow (birth piglets) twice a year if desired.
  • An acre of grass can sustain around 5 pigs. although this will vary depending on the quality of grass and the climate.
  • Kunekunes love to clean up dropped food from nut and fruit orchards all day, end of season garden leftovers too.
  • They do not eat bramble or trees. Interesting enough, kunekune’s cannot lift their head up to eat the tree leaves anyway.  They make a good and docile companion for goats that does eat bramble.
  • As a heritage breed of livestock, they are naturally hearty to the cold & heat, disease resistant, and are usually good mothers to their piglets.
  • Does need a mud pond (wallow) but only during the hot summer months. Therefore, most months they will not need the mud pond nor do they want it. They cannot sweat so mud helps to cool them off, although their wet noses do sweat.  In my experience, you can almost tell how hot it is outside by how high up the cool mud goes on their body!
  • Their temperament is exceptional. Same goes for a majority of the boars too.
  • An interesting trait. If you rub them on their jowl for a bit they will typically fall over and stop moving, as if in a trance.
  • They’ll never doubt that your leftover fruits & vegetables are delicacies.
  • The unique “wattles” (piri piri) some kune’s have hanging by their jowl is of unknown use, similar looking to LaMancha goats. Our current boar has wattles, a desirable trait for the show ring.
  • LSF never uses painful nose rings. Those are best left for today’s youth…
  • Their hair can come in many colors, textures, and patterns. The skin can be smooth, rough, long, or short. Just like their uses are varied, they have a varied look to them too showing their genetic diversity.
  • More possibilities: Breeding stock, zoos, petting zoos, birthday parties, carnivals, church fairs, or sanctioned shows. Maybe a select few would be worthy of competitive kunekune shows. The AKBA’s show is coming up next Autumn.
  • Unlike large commercial-sized swine, kunekunes don’t work against you by damaging fencing, land, and maybe even you!
  • As herd livestock, most kunekunes need social time with humans, a fellow kunekune(s), or both. This is one reason I lowered prices on the 2nd and 3rd piglets.
  • Their main downside is that these docile creatures can still shrill like the lady showering in Psycho. You’ll figure out ways to decrease that as you get to know their personalities. For example, before they work themselves up for a good whine, I put my hand on their head and they calm down after that. Goes to show they really do enjoy human touch.
  • Some kunekunes are better for processing than others. LSF is cultivating a more muscular, pure bred kunekune for homestead farms and home use.
  • Many believe that heritage livestock like many pig breeds grows “too slow.”  I suggest that an animal that grows naturally and strong is not growing too slow,it is the biologically manipulated commercial livestock that is forced to grow too fast.
  • Kunes are classified as a lard pig and fatten in around 11-12 months on grass and ideally finishes on grass/acorns/pecans.
  • Studies show that pork fat/lard can increase your “good cholesterol“.
  • Suckling pigs, weaned pigs, etc. to butcher for ethnic celebrations or special occasions. (If available)
  • A sweeter meat, darker in color than the bland white pork product without marbled fat from the grocery store. Fine restaurants are ordering the pork. It is recommended to slow cook the pork like most heritage livestock.
  • Quality charcuterie (dry curing & salting salami, prosciutto, etc) for your family using the whole hog philosophy.
  • For your special event parties like a luau, tiki, bachelor party, and Philippine style.
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