How To Trim KuneKune Tusks

Tusk Talk: How to Trim a Kunekune Boar's Tusks

Male pigs, both intact and castrated, have tooth-like projections called tusks that grow from both the top and bottom jaw. The thick, hard, armor-like skin that covers the shoulders of boars is due to their tusks, which are utilized for fighting other boars.

I strongly support routine tusk trimming even though it isn't one of my favorite KuneKune activities. Although boars can be housed together and kunekunes are a placid breed, a hierarchy must still be formed through sparring. It may get fairly rough, and having tusked boars makes it more dangerous.

In addition to animal injuries, I have witnessed far too many cases of human injuries, most of which were brought on by a careless, innocent turn of the head. Because pig mouths are filled with so many wonderful bacteria, the wounds can be rather serious and frequently become very infections. 

Tusks should be cut 1-2 times annually, depending on the individual growth of the boar. This is timed to occur right after the breeding season is through and before the boars are mixed with the gilts and sows for breeding. In addition, I'll deworm at the same time. They usually need their first trim between the ages of 18 months and two years, according to my experience.

To complete the task, you'll need the following tools:

A "snare," first. This is a large piece of rope that has a slip knot at one end so that when the boar pulls back, it tightens around the top jaw. The wire-and-cable snares with metal handles that are sold commercially are not something I advise. I like a rope better, and I frequently reuse the rope halter I use for my calves so I can tie it to a strong object.

Second, OB Wire and Handles (also known as dehorning wire, or gigli wire). If your neighborhood farm store doesn't have them, you can find them online.

Remember to use the handles!

Third, a stable tie-off location (such as a secure fence post) or a chute/weigh stall, as well as some food to keep them occupied

I lure the boars with food that is sitting on the ground, and then I slide the rope into their mouth such that it just wraps around their top jaw and NOT their tongue. I confine my smaller boars in the weigh stall, but the larger ones won't fit. I tie them off to a post once I have the rope in the proper position and is tightly pulled..

Remember that initially, their natural impulse is to fight it, so a few good head shakes are expected. As much as you can, try to elevate their head, make sure they are safe, and then wait till they are still.

Watch the video in the to see how a young boar was actually caught in a snare and sawed. Despite his cries, it doesn't hurt—just like how trimming our fingernails doesn't hurt us.

This entire process, including what was not captured on camera, took less than five minutes. It will take a little longer to saw through a larger boar with thicker tusks (and is a GREAT arm workout!).

When you're first starting out, it could seem frightening, but as you have some practice, it just takes a few minutes and significantly improves everyone's safety!