News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 6/24/2020 2:34pm by Lori Enright.

                             https://s3.amazonaws.com/sfc-dynamic-content/gallery/1736/w500/Kunekune_Pedigree_Pork_color_logo.jpg

When I first started with Kunekune Pigs, I was the ONLY SOURCE for obtaining breeding stock in North America!  This made it easy to sell seed stock and plant breeding programs all across the country.  As the years have progressed and those farming the Kunekune Pig breed have greatly increased, buyers now have many options.  I have kept my pricing very similar to what it has always been and that price point exceeds those of pretty much any other Registered Breeder out there.  In the "early years", my experience was limited and while I tried to well represent my breeding program by only selling what I believed to be excellent stock, I had only a reasonable suggestion of what the outcome would actually be based on what I had observed when visiting farms in New Zealand and later sourcing stock in England.

After 14 years since my first litter was farrowed, I have worked diligently to improve the breed in type and kind with a heavy emphasis on production and pork quality.  I have taken the breed to an extreme in some sense and mistakes have been made.  It can be uncomfortable to see farms following the path which I have forged and repeating those same mistakes.  Now, the pendulum is swinging back the other way while I continue to fine tune and create new optics for the "perfect" Kunekune Pig for pasture, pork, and profit.  As many have seen and some have lamented, the pigs I produce today are different from those of my initial pairings.  Why is that?  Well, several things, but first would be that my initial pairings were only between those that I had imported from the UK in 2005.  They were the product of a program who considered the breed to be their "pet breed".  For that reason, my initial imports were "quite lovely" with distinct conformation and type, but as I was to learn, they were also small and less robust than what was to come.

Today, I produce what I call "pork type" with years of experience to that end and offer only a very few to go on to become producers.  I sell very few pigs as seed stock anymore.  This is typical of pig farming....production is intended to create pigs for market and only on a very infrequent occasion one is selected to replace sows or inject new genetics or move on to impact another farm for production elsewhere.  The Kunekune Pig community is unusual in that regard.  Because the breed is thought of as suitable as a pet, breeders and farmers keep one foot on the market side of things and one foot on the pet side.  That doesn't work.  The idea that one can do both is folly as the two are intrinsically opposed one to the other.  One is breeding down in size and the other is breeding for increased size.  One considers anything less than meeting the Breed Standard as pork, the other floods the market with substandard pigs at reduced pricing which also negatively affects the optics on the breed by outsiders.

We sell pigs, we sell pork, we don't sell p*t$!

 

Posted 6/18/2020 5:41pm by Lori Enright.

It is interesting to observe that various established breeds have a history which includes development of color and, sometimes, a breed has been known as one thing and later becomes quite another.  For example, the Berkshire breed which is famously known for its flavorful and tenderest of pork was once a ginger pig with black spots and white points.  This kind of transformation has been traced by recordkeepers who report it as a result of crossing to improve hardiness, suitability, or size.  Color can also be preference in relation to environment, climate, or cultural differences among people groups.  Historically there have been times and places where black pigs are given over to white breeds or vice versa.

Valerie Porter explains in her book PIGS: A Handbook to the Breeds of the World....

"Quite apart from personal aesthetic preferences and the desire to use colour and pattern as the most obvious badge of a breed, there have been various colour prejudices over the ages.  For example, in the UK during the 19th century it was still possible to divide the country geographically by the colour of the pigs: those of the southern counties of England tended to be black, those of the midlands, especially the west, were coloured, and those of the north and east were usually white.  Sometimes there was a certain amount of logic in the preferences: it was said that white pigs suffered from sun scald in the warmer climate of south west England, for example, and it is still a fact that those who dress carcasses dislike coloured pigs in which the pigmented hair roots leave their mark.  Consumers often object to coloured skin in a product for which the rind is retained (for example, bacon), though in the past in many regions they prefered the coloured rind as an indication of better meat.  Colour has also been associated with fattiness, in that outdoor breeds are usually coloured and they need an extra lining of fat as protection against the climate.  But there is a lot more to a pig than its colour."

 

 

Posted 5/28/2020 10:33am by Lori Enright.

 

Since the mid to late 90's, I have been studying swine and the development of breeds with the use of antique books on livestock and most especially pigs and also utilizing the first herd books I've obtained from older breed registries.  My interest was piqued long ago regarding characteristics peculiar to each breed.  Identifiable traits such as color, ear set, length of snout, size and other conformational factors are recorded as particular to breeds whose names were given in reference to place.  This idea of breeds developed with their locale in mind, gave way to the phrase I've coined as "terrior breeding".

Breeds such as the Iberian Pig are protected by government regulation regarding the claims by breeders.  Historically, these pigs have been and are still required to be purebred and raised only in their home country of Spain in a particular region under very strict guidlelines for rearing being finished on acorns during a spcific time of year.  Recently, the breed has been established in the United States where the land and climate mimicks that of their home land and region....both in Texas and in Florida.  It was my honor to be sought out by both importers and my privilege to act as a consultant in the creation of their own breed registry(s) here in the U.S.  I was careful to speak with emphasis regarding the value of beginning with the establishment of DNA records on all imported stock.

The identifiable breed characteristics selected for suitability to the environment in which they are placed, can well-establish the pig (breed) whose ability to thrive and produce both progeny and pork is most sucessful.  In my breeding program, I've begun with the cream colored Kunekune Pig.

Kunekune Pigs are unusually varied in many ways, but one of the most noteable is their variety of color.  For this reason, desireable characteristics of the breed along with a specific color can be utilized to a production program suitable to your own environment and climate...all within this one breed.  There are many things to consider when working on terrior breeding which I will touch on in my following blogs, but I've begun with cream coloration for suitablility to the very constant warm Southern California weather and intense sunshine we often experience throughout the year.

I've been asked if the cream color can result in sunburn on the pigs and I can say that my experience and selection has to do with pigs whose hair is white/cream and whose skin is dark/black.  I have seen little evidence of sunburn on my cream colored pigs, however, any colored pig can get overexposure to the sun.  Pink skinned pigs will get sunburned.

Currently, I am working with a wide selection of bloodlines....all cream.  There are Jenny, Tapeka, Rebecca Gina, Trish, Sally, Awakino, Rona, Tarutaru, and three boar lines....Ru, BH Tutaki, and Tutanekai.  It can be tricky, but results like anything else will come with the selection of the best stock bred together....over and over until consistency is established and suitability is acheived.  Observe, consider, decide.

Posted 5/25/2020 9:13pm by Lori Enright.

Do you know who Chef Fergus Henderson is?  If not, look him up.  Probably the first time that I had ever heard of him was on one of the shows that Anthony Bourdain was host to.....maybe No Reservations.  He is credited with leading the trend for "nose to tail eating" and wrote a book of the same title.  Lots of years ago...I don't know how many, I named a boar pig after him...and then another.  Fergus Henderson II went to reside at a nearby farm and has sired some really incredible offspring.  One of them was my gift sow, Tea Cozy.  She produced Supreme Champion Tea Kettle.  Recently, my friends, Brian and Teresa Lozano of Lozano Farm, offered me a Fergus son.  I call him St. John paying homage to Chef Fergus and his famous London restaurant located on St. John Street in Smithfield.  I love names...and their reference or meaning.  As I've watched this boar, St. John, I have become completely enamored with him.  He's a thing of beauty...a masculine, beefy boy, with incredible good looks.  Today, I realized something....he's not yet one year old, but he is as large as most my two year olds.  I wish all of my pigs looked like him.  I think I'll breed him to everyone!  Cheers Chef!

Posted 5/22/2020 10:32am by Lori Enright.

 

This current COVID19 pandemic has been cause for a lot of change in our lives...quarantine, social distancing, the wearing of masks, virtual meetings on every level....online classes, zoom conferencing...people on television talking over each other...even AKPR is hosting a virtual hog show. As I mentioned in a previous post, I pray for a change of heart.  My hope is that change will come to us all as a blessing.

One thing that has occurred to me is the new awareness of our food system.  A system that farmers and advocates have known for a long time now needs change.  The COVID19 situation has caused a great deal of fear...the hoarding of all sorts of things....toilet paper, hand-sanitizer, and meat.  I see a blessing in the fact that lots of people have now become aware that there is a crazy system of how and by whose hands we are provided food in this country....and most other places throughout the world.

My sincere hope is that this awareness will be cause for change and that it will be one that sinks in and stays put.  All of us who raise some or all of our food have been singing the praises of good clean local food ofttimes to deaf ears.  Grow your own where you can...and everyone can grow something!  Share with your neighbor, trade with other farms, give excess to the needy, and buy from your local small farm or farmer's market.

Interestingly, our co-op farm has begun to raise our Kunekune Pigs for the farmstand which was something that they had been very wary that the community would not embrace due to pricing.  It is expensive to grow food!  We have been spoiled by cheap, poor quality, but good looking and abundant food in our grocery stores!  I am so pleased to say that the farm is having no trouble selling out of Kunekune Pedigree Pork and their organic beef.  The hardest part is keeping the freezer stocked!  Now, that's a change for good!

Posted 5/21/2020 8:18am by Lori Enright.

 

How do we identify the various breeds of animals?  What comes to mind when you hear the word "Holstein"?  How about "Berkshire"?  And "Rhode Island Red"?  Should a horned breed not have horns?  Or a polled lack them?  Often breed names give insight or even immediate recognition of a particular color or trait.  Breed description matters because the breed has been selected to possess/lack those traits which make it unique and identifiable within its species whether to suit a purpose or preference.  Breeders who value the Breed Standard will cull animals that do not meet that standard utilizing them for food while selecting only those who meet the Standard for breeding.  The Red Wattle Hog clearly is a wattled breed which is understood by everyone without question.  The Kunekune Pig is a wattled breed whose description is documented by historic record and well-established by the various breed registries around the globe.  Whether you call them wattles, pire pire, or tassels, they are an identifiable and unique characteristic of the breed.  A wattled breed should have wattles.  Breed description matters.  

 

Posted 5/20/2020 12:08pm by Lori Enright.

 

I have pretty much had the mindset that if a gilt is old enough to cycle, she is old enough to be bred.  That seems true enough, but recently I was reminded of some advice I was given by one of the "big swine guys", Ohio State Swine Extension Specialist, Professor Steven Moeller.  He told me early on that a gilt should be approximately 65% of her full size before breeding her.  That has always translated in my mind to the age where my gilts seemed to settle (get in pig).  I discovered that my gilts often were bred on the first cycle and then didn't settle until the next.  This ended up putting them at just over 1 year of age at the time of first parity.  In the beginning, I really didn't have a good handle on what was the true size of a fully grown Kunekune Pig having only owned one that was full grown when I got her.  I didn't know if she was typical one way or the other.

In my career as a Kunekune Pig breeder, I have had a couple of instances where the young gilt was in need of assistance at time of farrowing and, I believe, it was due to her lack of size.  Sometimes, problems have come about due to the structure of the gilt as in the case of what we call "cobby-bodied" gilts.  These girls are short in the back and deep in the girth.  They do not represent ease of farrowing lacking the long bodied "straight shot" that larger, longer gilts and sows are prized for.

Recently, I was presented with a very problematic farrowing by a gilt I anticipated would be a larger female.  I do believe that she will ultimately grow to be on the larger side of what most gilts/sows grow to be.  However, the breed is known for slow growth and sometimes this fact means that it is safer to wait for that growth to avoid any problems with dystocia.  Keep in mind that a gilt that is over conditioned and on the far side of 2 years old can also result in infertility so breeders need to be methodical in their timing of mating and be aware of the kind of condition that they put on their replacement gilts.

 

Posted 5/19/2020 1:18pm by Lori Enright.

How are you holding up?  It's a strange time, but I hope that you have received some blessing during this time of social distancing.  If it were not for the social medias, we would have trouble keeping in touch with one another, but social media can also become a real distraction to what is truly important.  In light of those facts, I have decided to distance myself as much as possible from Facebook and Instagram, but be present here where we used to make known our farm and farming practices and share a little about our lives.  It's how we used to do and it was, as I recall, a kinder time where people who truly wished to learn something of what their peers were about seemed sincere.  I hope that your time during the COVID 19 stay at home order has helped you refocus and find what really matters.

  God bless you ~ from our farm to yours.

Royal Pork

We breed pigs.  We cook pigs.  We sell pigs.  Deep roots and new found friendships go back to royal lands whether it be the UK, New Zealand, or Canada.  The British have made a mark on our farm.  We are artisan farmers crafting the perfect pigs for your table.  Order a whole pig, select cuts, or reserve a boucherie pig for your own tasty event.  Feast like a King!