What could be more enjoyable and thrilling than seeing a group of KuneKune piglets romp across the summer's warm, green grass? Do you, on the other hand, shudder at the prospect of wintering pigs on pasture and providing cold-weather care?
Actually, caring for KuneKune pigs in the winter doesn't have to be difficult, and it shouldn't cause you to second-guess your decision. What we will cover applies to other pasture pig breeds as well.
Having appropriate shelter for pigs and protection from the weather and cold is perhaps the most critical component of wintering pigs on pasture. We use Port-a-huts, but you can construct A-frame homes using two plywood sheets on the sides and a triangular piece for the rear. In the summer, you can utilize the same shelters with no flooring so the pigs can keep cool on the dry ground. Fill the shelters with straw or hay bedding to keep them warm during the winter months.
Five or six fully grow KuneKune Pigs can fit easily in the A-frame shelters and remain toasty warm.
Watering their pigs is the "scary" part of winter maintenance for most folks. Where do they obtain their water? Is it true that they are receiving enough? How will they manage to stay alive? All of these are frequently asked questions. It isn't a problem if you have power and can use heated waters. However, the majority of us do not have access to power in any or all of our pastures. This difficulty was remedied by purchasing a rubber feed dish for each pen (like the rubber feed dishes made for horses).
Each day, just use these dishes to fill each pen with water. Take them out when they're done or they will play with them. Snow may also be eaten by pigs.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that their shelter must be dry and warm, allowing them to escape the wind and rain while being comfortable. It is preferable to provide them with enough roughage to consume
throughout the day, as well as the necessary protein and minerals. Each day, provide water to keep them hydrated and allow their digestive systems to work correctly.
If you let it be, wintering KuneKune pigs on pasture may be both enjoyable and rewarding. Enjoy the season, and if you remember your pasture pigs' vital requirements, they will as well!