Kunekune pigs for meatRSS feed

Posted: Wednesday 6 November, 2013

by Rosemary at 8:12pm in Pigs 18 comments Comments closed

This is a topic that crops up from time to time on the TAS forums so it might be helpful to relate our experience this year.

We have kept two or three weaners almost every year since 2003; until 2012, we’d always had Tamworths; last year, we had Hampshires. One pig is just about enough for us for a year – we don’t eat a lot of pork (partly because we have poultry, beef and lamb in the freezer already) so our pigs are mainly converted into bacon and sausage.

This year we decided to have a go with Kunekunes for the following reasons:

  1. Two Kunes should do us for a year, so we can keep two (which is correct for welfare reasons) without flooding us with pork and without us having to sell pork.
  2. We were seeking a low input:low output system (as we have for our sheep and cattle). The £ cost of bagged feed has risen but also there is the environmental cost of imported soya.
  3. Kunes don’t make as much mess of the ground as big pigs.

The main drawback for me is that we didn’t support a British rare breed.

We bought two Kunekune castrates from Yonderton Rare Breed Pigs for £90 each. Karen breeds Kunes for meat so thay do have good length – rather than being short and round bodied. Our two, Ant and Dec, were farrowed on 28th January 2013 and we picked them up on 25th April.

As instructed, we fed them 1 1/2lb of pig nuts each per day; we used Marriages Pot Bellied Pig Nuts. This was supplemented with grass (of which there was a lot this year), veggies and fruit from the garden and from the local greengrocer. We bought a bag of brock potatoes for £10 and they had boiled spuds for a while.

The date of slaughter was determined by in part by the time of year and in part by the conditions of abattoir and butcher. We didn’t want to run pigs through the winter and our abattoir and butcher like to get private kills done before November so the pigs were duly sent to slaughter on 22nd October.

We are very pleased and a bit surprised with deadweights of 49.5kg and 42kg. Looking back the invoices, we used eleven 20kg bags of feed, costing £95.59. I had to triple check this but it’s right enough.

The output is six joints of pork (leg and shoulder) totalling about 10kg – so one every other month, which is spot on. We have 61 500g packs of sausages – some plain, and some Cumberland and 12 packs of pork and apple burgers – so that’s Saturday brunches sorted for the next year, with some over for the odd BBQ. And I’m picking up 23.8kg of bacon in two weeks – again, Saturday brunch sorted J

The butchery cots were £295; £60 kill and transport; £100 to cut (£1.10/kg dw); £2 for waste disposal; £47.60 for the bacon processing (£2/kg) and £85.20 for the sausages and burgers (£1.20 / 500g pack for sausages, using natural casings).

The total cost is therefore £571 for just over 70kg of pork, bacon and sausages or £8.15 / kg. If I add in transport costs, it goes up to £10 / kg (I was in Lanark anyway when I picked up the weaners).

I’ve just compared this to a couple of websites selling free range pork and We’ve got ours for less that we’d pay on the open market for a similar product, which is fine.

Apart from the financial aspect, the Kunes were a joy to keep. They were very friendly and not at all intimidating. However, although they don’t root like a Tamworth, they do root especially as the grass went off a bit and they got bigger, so there is some grass restoration work to be done now.

On balance, we’ll be repeating the exercise next year. :-)



Monday 25 November, 2013 at 3:56pm

Hiya, very interesting to hear about your Kunes. I was always under the impression that they were like the Pot Bellies.....


Monday 25 November, 2013 at 4:41pm

I think there are KKs that are bred for the pet market, that are shorter and rounder, and KKs that are bred for meat, as ours were, and that are much longer. Ours looked like a traditional breed in terms of proportions - it's just that all the measurements are smaller :-)

Alana Schoffstall

Tuesday 26 November, 2013 at 2:14am

Just stumbled across your article. Very informative! We are working hard in the USA to promote the breed for meat. Love that you've taken the time to jot down the practicality of rearing your two pigs. Thank you!


Wednesday 1 January, 2014 at 8:30pm

We breed kune kunes for breeding and meat and have reached deadweights of 63 kgs without the need to trim fat.The demand for the sausages outstrips supply.Their diet is grass,waste carrots and apples,when in season and 600 grams of rolled Barley a day.They are a joy to keep and would recommend them.

Kelly K

Monday 31 March, 2014 at 5:45pm

Great read. Can I ask if they tasted any different?? I have spoke to a few people and they say they taste awful. Which is why I am still pondering what to get!!!


Monday 31 March, 2014 at 8:30pm

Kelly K, the meat from KKs is wonderful - tender, sweet and tasty. We had the butcher do some gammon this year and it's the best I've ever had, bar none. We're not great pork eaters, so most of our pigs go into bacon, sausage and gammon, with a few Sunday pork roasts - and it's all very, very good.

I find it bizzare that anyone would say it tastes awful. Very strang indeed.

Kelly K

Monday 31 March, 2014 at 8:51pm

That's great Rosemary thanks for your post. I was put off by several people as they all said they tasted awful.

Think I best start planning my first KK purchase.



Wednesday 9 July, 2014 at 12:32pm

We are currently rearing some kk cross Berkshire which are some of the prettiest pigs ever; Though not so good if you are prone to getting too attached! This cross makes a perfect mix and the meat is some of the sweetest we have ever produced.

I must say however that I would question your costings.

£90 for a weaner is particularly high especially for something that is going to be meat. The going rate should be around £35.

Also feed costs should be supplementary, KKs do fantastically well on rough ground and grazing , finishing off on apples is always best. By utilising "natural" food will greatly reduce your feed bills.

Finally your butchery costs look quite high. Worth investing in your own mincer, sausage maker and burger press.

We usually end up with a cost of around £4.50 per kg.

Whatever the cost though, it is worth the effort as the meat is divine.

sammy morton

Sunday 8 March, 2015 at 12:58am

how much did you sell the meat for?


Sunday 8 March, 2015 at 9:20am

We only raise pig meat for ourselves; we don't sell any.

Andy M

Sunday 24 May, 2015 at 11:59am

hya, contemplating starting small scale pig production, your article was very helpful, Thanks

Edgar Luhanga

Thursday 28 July, 2016 at 10:30am

Hey th@'s wonderful , just started raising some pigs but I don't know whether it's meat pig or not . How do I classify it ?..looks like belongs to the large white breed though

David nungu

Monday 5 September, 2016 at 10:11pm

Hi i don't have any idea to grow pig but i like this business for pig


Friday 27 January, 2017 at 8:16am

Hi I keep Kune Kune as pets now as they are so friendly got a bit attached. Anyhow I have never had a problem with ground damage apart from them using the same tracks continuously. We move an electric fence over the field which means they get onto long grass regularly. But other than investigating Mole hills they have never impacted on the ground at all. Let loose to tidy the orchard up an hour a day is a great way to gain weight and tidy the place up. Can't leave any longer as they carry on eating..


Tuesday 28 March, 2017 at 3:05pm

Hi i'v been breeding kune kune for the table at least 4 years now, the meat, sausage, burgers tastes beautiful. We make are own produce nowadays keeps the cost down.there a joy to keep and because of there size don't take up too much room ether. Got two boar's and two gilt's (same litter) on now 12 weeks old if anyone's interested email me.

Guttorm F.

Sunday 7 July, 2019 at 8:05am

Hi. I'm interested in the yield of the Kunekunes. When you write "deadweight" do you mean "dressed weight"? That is, basically weight after head and intestines have been removed?


Monday 8 July, 2019 at 11:11am

@Guttorm F - pig deadweight includes the head, according to the EU specification abattoirs in the UK follow: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reporting-deadweight-pig-prices-guidance-for-abattoirs

philip griffiths

Saturday 17 July, 2021 at 11:44am

very useful information.thanks

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