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Lifestyle Collection spring top tip - kunekune pigs

November 2019

The kunekune pig is a popular New Zealand pet with its sociable and placid nature making it an ideal family pet on your lifestyle block. A kunekune loves human contact, so don’t be afraid to give them a good scratch!

Unique to New Zealand the kunekune, with its Māori name translated to mean ‘fat and round’, has characteristics that fit that description with short legs and a short snout. A kunekune’s colouring varies greatly though the most common colours are black, black and white, brown, gold, tan and cream. A pig’s coat and its texture varies throughout the year with summer often resulting in extensive hair loss.

Buying a kunekune

The New Zealand Kunekune Association recommends buying registered stock from a respected breeder. Look for a short snout, tassels present, sound legs and feet along with a good temperament.

If it fits in with your lifestyle consider buying two pigs so they are company for each other. When bringing your new
addition home keep your pig in a secure pen or small paddock for the first few days until the kunekune recognises you as its food source. Once settled in, you can let your kunekune roam free. Note though your pig will look for escape routes!

Summer care

Pigs are very prone to heat stress as, unlike humans, they don’t have sweat glands to keep themselves cool. Rather pigs need to cool themselves down using water or mud.

Mud layers are helpful too in fending off flies and other biting insects. So make sure your kunekune has access to clean drinking water, shade and a wallow or swimming area to cool down in.

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Kunekunes are a grass grazing pig with an adult pig being able to maintain body condition on good quality pasture alone. As pasture quality varies it is common to supplement a diet. If not using commercial rations, be careful that the
supplement or scraps are of sufficient quality for your pig’s requirements. For example, cheese is an excellent
supplement, but like milk, can cause diarrhoea because of its fat content.

The New Zealand Kunekune Association recommends pregnant and lactating sows be fed at a higher rate as their
nutritional needs are greater, while young pigs should be given a good quality supplement up to nine months of age.
Pigs should be fed twice a day when their diet is being supplemented and ensure your pigs have plenty of water. A lactating sow, for example, can drink up to five litres of water a day.

The New Zealand Kunekune Association suggests these feeding rates when using commercial pellets along with some pasture to feed your pigs:

  • Adult boar or sow - 1 to 1.5kg per day
  • Lactating sow - 1 to 1.5kg + 0.2kg/piglet/day
  • Piglets 2-4 months - 0.5kg per day
  • Pigs 4-9 months - 0.75kg per day


To read more of the Lifestyle Collection magazine by click here

The New Zealand Kunekune Association is a non-profit making organisation for people interested in breeding
and owning these unique and wonderful pigs. Please visit our website: for more information.

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