Do Kunekunes Root?

This is a commonly asked question about Kune pigs, and the answer is somewhat paradoxical: kunes generally do not root, unless they actually do.

Kunes thrive on pasture, as long as there is ample greenery for them to graze on. To ensure they receive a well-rounded diet, a small quantity of pig grain is added to compensate for any mineral deficiencies commonly found in NC pastures, such as lysine, copper, and selenium. (A thorough examination will provide you with definitive answers.) Kunes stand out when it comes to grazing due to their distinct advantage - their shorter upturned noses. These noses are specifically designed for efficient grazing, unlike other pigs that tend to root up the soil. If you're seeking to enhance pasture quality while also preserving valuable topsoil, kunes are an unbeatable choice. This is especially true for those of us in the Sandhills of NC. If your aim is to achieve sustainable meat production, kunes are the most environmentally friendly source of pork available.

Despite what some may claim, it would be unwise to completely dismiss the possibility of kunes rooting. It's quite uncommon for them to root, so when they do, there's usually a compelling reason for their farmer to take notice. 

Based on my experience, kunes have a tendency to root when they are hungry and in need of minerals or roughage. This is particularly evident during the winter season when their bodies naturally crave more calories. I've discovered that incorporating soaked alfalfa pellets into their diet, at a ratio of roughly one third as much as the grain they receive, provides a satisfying boost to their meals and fills in the nutritional gaps left by the absence of fresh green grass. While some people have kunes that happily munch on hay and alfalfa hay, unfortunately, mine don't share the same enthusiasm, much to my disappointment. If you notice that your kunes are excessively hungry or not maintaining a healthy weight despite being fed properly, it might be necessary to consider using a broad spectrum wormer such as ivermectin.

2) They seem to be experiencing some issues with overheating. Every pig needs a wallow to maintain their body temperature when the temperature rises above 70°. Ensuring the well-being of the pigs is of utmost importance here. If a pool or a wallow is not provided, even a short snouted kune will take matters into their own hands, or rather, snouts, and instinctively dig down to find cooler dirt or mud.

3) They seem to be experiencing feelings of boredom or anxiety. Adult pigs require a minimum of a quarter acre of land per year. Kunes thrive in social environments, and solitary pigs are more prone to rooting compared to groups of two or more pigs. This behavior serves as a stress reliever for them. Kunes are highly intelligent and engaging in foraging activities helps keep their minds stimulated. It is recommended to rotate pigs to new pastures every month or so, using temporary fences to ensure their forage remains diverse and fresh. Another way to keep them entertained is by hiding small pieces of apple around the pasture for them to find, or using a plastic treat ball, as long as they are not in an electrified fence. 

Plastic treat balls are an excellent choice for keeping kunes entertained, especially the younger ones.

Plastic treat balls are an excellent choice for keeping kunes entertained, especially the younger ones.

4) They can be quite mischievous adolescents. During a certain stage of their development, around 4-8 months old, approximately half of my teenage pigs tend to exhibit a strong inclination towards rooting. Thankfully, these plants will eventually outgrow this phase and their roots don't penetrate very deep (around 2-4 inches). If you have a pristine area on your property that you want to keep undamaged, it's probably best not to place mischievous adolescent pigs there. As they mature, the rooting behavior will naturally diminish. However, in the meantime, you might want to consider establishing a fence in a location that could potentially be transformed into a beautiful wildflower meadow or a similar setting.

5) These kunes are not purebred. I've come to realize through personal experience that some people will mix Kunes with other breeds and still refer to them as Kunes. It's surprisingly widespread. Without a Kune pedigree, it's impossible to predict the behavior of pigs that don't root like this breed does. For this reason, we are shifting our focus towards raising all registered pigs. I highly recommend investing a little extra to ensure that you have complete confidence in your actions. Let me assure you, investing in pasture repairs will lead to significant long-term savings!

6) Perhaps they are simply an unruly individual. Kunes are incredibly endearing and charming creatures, making it difficult to fathom any of them exhibiting unpleasant behavior. However, occasionally, due to the intricate workings of their genetic makeup, a less than pleasant individual may emerge. And let me tell you, this is simply unacceptable for this particular breed. The Maori were intentional in their breeding efforts to create pigs that were known for their calm and friendly nature, making them ideal companions. The temperament of Kune is a crucial aspect of the breed standard. A reputable Kune breeder will treat this matter with utmost importance. If a Kune has been provided with all the necessary care and resources for its well-being, yet continues to engage in destructive behaviors such as rooting, pushing fences, or even nipping, it is advisable not to breed that pig. We must put an end to those genetics immediately. In my breeding program, I have developed a keen eye for identifying certain piglets by the time they reach four weeks old. I take it upon myself to find suitable buyers for these particular piglets, particularly those who are interested in raising pasture pork and have a suitable environment, such as wooded areas, where any mischievous behavior from these piglets won't cause much harm. I wouldn't recommend selling a jerk as a pet, as these animals are strong and potentially dangerous. Although it may be a sensitive topic for some, I believe it is crucial to ensure that livestock are given suitable job opportunities that align with their abilities. Occasionally, that role involves transforming into a nourishing meal for a family, following a life filled with joy and compassion. Thankfully, kunes rarely encounter this issue

Kunes thrive on pasture, benefiting from the abundance of greenery and supplementing their nutrition with a small amount of pig grain. This ensures they receive the necessary minerals like lysine, copper, and selenium, which are often insufficient in NC pastures. (A reliable test will provide you with accurate results.) Kunes are exceptionally well-suited for grazing due to their distinctively shorter upturned noses. Unlike other pigs, their noses are perfectly angled for grazing rather than rooting up the soil. If you want to enhance your pasture and protect valuable topsoil, kunes are the ultimate solution. We, in the Sandhills of NC, have found nothing better. If your aim is sustainable meat production, kunes are the most environmentally friendly pork you can produce.

Despite what some may claim, it would be unwise to completely dismiss the possibility of kunes rooting. It's quite uncommon for them to root, so when they do, there's usually a compelling reason for their farmer to take notice. 

Based on my experience, kunes have a tendency to root when they are feeling hungry and are in need of minerals or roughage. This is particularly evident during the winter season when their bodies naturally crave more calories. Incorporating soaked alfalfa pellets into their diet can effectively enhance their food and provide the necessary nutrients that they may be lacking from fresh grass. While some people have kunes that happily munch on hay and alfalfa hay, mine unfortunately do not share the same enthusiasm, much to my disappointment. If you notice that your kunes are excessively hungry or underweight, even though they are receiving the appropriate amount of food, it might be necessary to consider using a broad spectrum wormer such as ivermectin to address this issue.

2) They're experiencing excessive heat. Every pig needs a wallow to help them stay cool when the temperature rises above 70°. Ensuring the well-being of the pigs is of utmost importance here. Without a pool or a wallow, even a short snouted kune will instinctively find a way to cool themselves by digging down to cooler dirt or mud.

3) They seem to be experiencing feelings of boredom or anxiety. Adult pigs require a minimum of a quarter acre per year in order to thrive. Kunes thrive in social environments, and solitary pigs are more prone to rooting compared to groups of two or more pigs. This behavior serves as a way to alleviate stress. Kunes possess remarkable intelligence, and engaging in foraging activities helps keep their minds stimulated and active. In an ideal scenario, pigs should be regularly moved to fresh pastures every month or so. This practice ensures that they have access to a diverse range of forage that remains fresh. Another way to keep them entertained is by strategically placing small pieces of apple around the pasture for them to find. Alternatively, you can use a plastic treat ball to engage them, just make sure they are not near an electrified fence. 

Plastic treat balls are a fantastic option for keeping kunes entertained, especially the younger ones.

Plastic treat balls are an excellent choice for keeping kunes entertained, especially the younger ones.

4) They can be quite mischievous, those teenagers. During a certain stage of their development, around 4-8 months old, approximately half of my teenage pigs tend to exhibit a strong inclination towards rooting. Luckily, these plants will eventually outgrow this phase and their roots don't penetrate very deep (around 2-4 inches). However, if you have a pristine area on your property that you want to keep intact, it's probably best not to place mischievous adolescent pigs there. As they mature, the rooting behavior will naturally diminish. In the meantime, you might want to consider setting up a fence in an area where you envision a beautiful wildflower meadow or any other landscaping idea you have in mind.


5) These are not purebred kunes. I've come to realize through personal experience that some people will mix Kunes with other breeds and still refer to them as Kunes. It's surprisingly prevalent. Without a Kune pedigree, it's difficult to predict the behavior of pigs since most other breeds root. That's why we're shifting towards raising all registered pigs. I highly suggest investing a little extra to ensure you know exactly what you're doing. Let me explain how you can save money in the long run on pasture repairs.

6) Perhaps they are simply an unruly individual. Kunes are incredibly endearing and charming creatures, making it difficult to fathom one exhibiting unpleasant behavior. However, occasionally, due to the intricacies of their genetic makeup, a less-than-pleasant individual may emerge. And let me tell you, this is simply unacceptable for this particular breed. The Maori were intentional in their breeding efforts to cultivate pigs that were known for their calm and friendly nature, making them a pleasure to coexist with. The temperament of Kune is a crucial aspect of the breed standard. A reputable Kune breeder will treat this matter with utmost importance. If a Kune has been provided with all the necessary care and attention to ensure its happiness and well-being, yet it continues to engage in destructive behaviors such as rooting, pushing fences, or even nipping, it is advisable not to breed that pig. It's crucial to put an end to those genetics. In my breeding program, I have developed the ability to identify certain piglets with less desirable traits at just four weeks old. I take the initiative to sell these piglets to individuals who are interested in raising pasture pork, particularly if they have wooded areas where the mischievous pig won't cause much harm. I wouldn't feel comfortable promoting a jerk as a pet, considering their strength and potential danger. While it may be a topic that some find uncomfortable, I believe it is crucial to ensure that livestock are given suitable job opportunities that align with their unique skills. Occasionally, that role involves transforming into a nourishing meal for a family after a joyful and compassionate existence. Thankfully, when it comes to kunes, this issue rarely arises.

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