my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of this

General chat about kunekune pigs
Jomarion
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my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of this

Post by Jomarion » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:51 pm

Hi, I recently purchased a castrated kunekune as a pet. He has been with me only a fortnight when I left him in an empty horse stable where unknowingly, a chicken must have been laying an egg. I threw some food for him to eat, and when I looked in a few minutes later, I saw he had killed the hen, having eaten her head, but then continuing to eat the food I had thrown. I had a visitor, and after I spoke to her, I returned to get the chicken's body, but found that he has eaten her, leaving only the feet. Does anyone have any experience of this? He is an only pig, as this is his choice, having been hand-reared as a runt, and not getting along with other pigs, I was told. He has also threatened to bite me a few times, but not actually doing so. I have has pigs before, and never had this happen. He is meant to be a pet pig, and seems friendly and enthusiastic otherwise, loving the scratches I give him with a stick. Any advice anyone? Thank you.

The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:49 pm

Pigs are omnivores and given the choice will eat meat quite readily and with enthusiasm much to our disgust :? They are also opportunists and so if the opportunity presents itself they won't turn away. I suspect the character of the pig will have an affect but many of mine are only too happy to find a rabbit that has died somewhere in their field/woodland and fight over it in front of visitors much to my utter embarrassment :oops:

I have kept many large breed pigs in woodland and free range in fields. I have seen them eating pheasants and three of my large sows also ate part of a deer that they found in my woodland before I had found it.

If you keep chickens you are generally recommended to ensure the chickens are not laying where your pigs are kept and can get away from the pigs easily (i.e. not confined with them unable to escape). I phoned defra regarding this and the line they take is that some things are natural and unavoidable but we should aim to minimise the risk. Pigs should not even be eating eggs from your free range chickens which is tricky if they are sharing some of the same space.

I hasten to add that under no circumstances should anyone reading this post think that I am suggesting it is okay to feed meat to your pigs......obviously that is illegal, as is feeding any food that has been in a catering environment including a domestic kitchen or pantry. There are other food regulations that must be strictly adhered to as well.

Please don't think ill of your kunekune, this is natural behaviour and is why they are successful at living in the wild.
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:32 pm

I forgot to mention I raised and orphan Middle White whom I was unable to introduce to other pigs/piglets, whilst very young, for a number of reasons. He was 8 weeks old before he met other pigs and despite repeated and prolonged efforts he did not engage with older pigs. Aged around 4 months he would accept a small 8 week old weaner. I would try this tactic. He has to learn to be a pig as he probably doesn't know how to so he will need you and a pig that will not simply fight with him and be intolerant to help him learn.

His behaviour with regard to biting needs to be corrected by you. His has not had a mother or siblings to tell him that is not acceptable. A tap to the nose and a firm no should put him off. I would discourage feeding him by hand at all, always putting his food on the ground.

Good luck and let us know how you get on
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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Jomarion
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by Jomarion » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:28 am

Thank you so much or your advice and experience. A friend without experience of pigs says I am housing a 'dangerous animal' who could next attack me or my child! Although I never experienced a pig kill a chicken before, I think circumstances played a part:probablythe hen laying an egg,or the hen trying to share food with the pig, pig defending food, something like that. He is an absolutely lovely pig, and I see he wants to learn and do was is 'right'. I did tap him on the nose after he tried to bite me, and he seemed quite shocked and upset I did that. I am feeding him only on the ground, never by hand, and using a clicker, like in dog-training to 'announce' the food. If he even opens his mouth near me I say 'no', I think he understands. He has quite big teeth,and I must admit I am a little afraid of being bitten by them!As he trusts me more is he less likely to try biting? he is in a new place and is a bit jumpy I notice. I only use my hand to scratch him by the ears and withers. With a long stick I scratch him all over, and he collapses on the floor, closes his eyes, and seems in second heaven. I assume this is a good sign he is beginning to trust me and I can start scratching him all over with my hands next? He is such a darling, I want to cuddle him, but I do not want to overwhelm him. All the chickens are scared o f him. Two of my horses are scared of him, but my other horse who has lived with pigs before is perfectly ok with him as a neighbour.
Did your pigs who eat the pheasants in the field kill the pheasants, or eat them after they had died of other causes?
My pig is 18 months old. You suggested getting a smaller non-threatening younger pig for him. The people I got him from said that he only got upset when with other pigs and preferred being on his own, even within a group, staying on the edge of it. Do you think he is just happier as a loner pig? He still has me and the other animals here, though I would be ok introducing him to another pig if I could guess he's be friendly. He is so cute, and gives me so much joy already, watching him run around the stableyard grunting enthusiastically. He is so funny!
Cheers,and thank you for your help,and for reassuring me my pig is behaving normally given his situation.

The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:16 pm

Very occasionally you do get pigs that are aggressive but it is particularly unusual in kunekune and I would say, in my own experience, even less likely in a castrate. What do you mean when you say he threatened to bite you? Is he holding his head up with his mouth open, does he chew your wellies or tops of your wellies or has he done a strange growling grunt and come at you? This will help us understand what he is actually doing if we can narrow it down......

I wonder if this piggy has just had a bit of a challenging start and needs educating and caring for by someone like yourself. You seem to be doing all the right things and I do think that soon you will be able to rub his tummy with your hand :lol:

I don't know if my pigs took pheasants alive or dead as I only saw the remains or caught them eating . A friend with large breed pigs caught her girls taking live chickens and eggs from the hen house.....they never touch the chickens when out together in the field but when they were in the house she says it was a different matter :(
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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wendy scu
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by wendy scu » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:02 pm

I have a friend who keeps pigs and chickens together (outside in the fields) and she had the same unfortunate experience as you - she saw it happen and it was simply that the chicken was pecking at the pig food and the pig just chomped the chicken - as he would have done another pig if it were challenging his food. As sam says, don't think ill of him, i'm sure it was not an act of aggression , just naturally defending his food.

I wonder if he was always the outsider/underdog in his previous pig group? that may be why he kept himself to himself. i would think he would take to another younger pig who did not threaten his territory but was submissive to him.
best of luck
Wendy

Jomarion
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by Jomarion » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:11 pm

My pig has nibbled my wellies, and sometimes looks at me with his mouth open, but both seem friendly gestures. But what he did which I call a biting attempt happened twice. The first time I had thrown some food on the straw his first evening here at his new home, and as he was rummaging in the straw I was enthusiastically scratching his back with my hand when he turned and sort of swung at me sideways with his mouth once or twice, though not actually touching me with it, and then continued to search for the food. He did not know me, so I wonder if he was afraid I would steal his food ? I cannot remember if he made any grunting noise, though I think he did. I since have been scratching him all over, including his face, with the long stick as he eats, and he seems ok with that, wagging his tail. Another time I was scratching his face with my hand before his bedtime and he swung at me again, grunting, and then abruptly turned and trotted to his bed to sleep, leaving me standing there alone. I got the feeling he may not be used to being touched a lot and I may be overwhelming him ? If these are actual threats to bite, is it likely he might actually bite for real? he's got big teeth! I have only had three pigs before him many years ago , but I got them all as piglets, and I used to hug them even as they ate, and play with them a lot,they only seemed to love the attention,and certainly never bit me! Are there places pigs do not like to be touched that I should avoid? He is such a lovely boy, I so much want to be friends with him, and he seems to want to do what is right.

wendy scu
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by wendy scu » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:08 am

i think you've answered all your questions yourself there :)
i am sure his reactions to your affections are simply because he is a bit overwhelmed and has maybe not had this kind of attention before. Maybe he has had negative attention before? maybe he has had to challenge someone or something for his food in the past?
keep doing what you're doing - softly, softly , catchee monkey :)

The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:56 pm

Agree with all Wendy has said, given time I am sure you will win his confidence and he will love you forever in return :lol:

I would absolutely agree he might have thought you were stealing his food especially if he has always been an underdog/outsider. Occasionally mine do that when, in the middle of the hub bub at feeding time, they mistake me for another pig!

I really hope this all works out as well as I think you have given an unhappy pig a happy home :D
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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Jomarion
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by Jomarion » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:54 am

Thank you so much for your advice, Sam and Wendy. I am greatly reassured, and will go slowly with my attempts at friendship. He is so cute (except for those teeth!),and I am happy if I have given an outsider pig a safe home. Have you ever been bitten by a pig- how terrible is it ?Do most just nip like a toy poodle to say 'get away', or grab and hold on? I just want to prepare myself if I take a wrong turn. Given my descriptions, does it seem as if he would bite, or are they just threats? I had a lab whom I rescued at about 9 years old, and he was possessive and would growl if we passed him when he had food. But with time he grew to trust us, and eventually I could even take the food bowl from him (somewhat nervously though!). He never bit me. I also had a feral cat who would go into 'wild cat' mode when I went up to his face to say hello. Really scary, but within a few months you'd never have known he had once been a Mr Mini Tiger! I will let you know how I get on. If he nips me, I will let you know! My goal is to let him collapse in ecstasy while I scratch his tummy with my hands. Thank you for all your help.

wendy scu
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by wendy scu » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:02 pm

i think (an i hope i'm right!) that he will not bite you but will bump you with his snout .
i have only been bitten once - by a sow who was blind and was trying to grab food from me - she got my leg by mistake and hung on a bit because she was thinking it was the food. it hurt :(

The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:05 pm

Agree with Wendy about him bumping you with his snout!

I have not been bitten by a pig but I am always cautious with full boars and sows with litters. It is rare to find a pet pig that would carry out the apparent toothy threat on a human being, but you are right to be cautious in the early stages.

Please do keep us posted on progress :D
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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Jomarion
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by Jomarion » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:39 am

Hi everybody, it has been awhile, but I wanted to update you all on my lovely kunekune pig who ate the chicken. He is a delight, and comes running when I call him! I can pet him with my hand now, even though his teeth are scary as ever. He has gotten a bit fat and roly poly, as he loves treats. No more chickens! He sometimes has even collapsed onto his belly when I scratch him. He makes my visitors and friends laugh, even my hardened farmer friends who think all animals should be raised for meat or have a utilitarian 'role' and cannot understand why I have a pet pig. He shows no interest in chicken eating, they can come into his area and he basically ignores them. YIPPI!!!

He cracks me up, he is so cute. I have four horses who all but one get along with him, my youngest horse is terrified of him. When my pig got out, he ran after my horse in play, and the horse ended up crashing through a fence and jumping a huge brush and stone wall into the road. Luckily he escaped with only 13 stitches. Poor little piggy had no idea all the fuss he had caused. My horse is fine though, but still terrified of the pig.

And my little kunekune can sure run! He is like a lambourgini when he gets out and goes at full throttle down the drive. My Gosh, I had no idea how a pig could run! And for the pure joy of running. Much much faster than me.

A further question, do they need their feet trimmed?

Thank you all for your help. My kunekune is a real joy and member of the family. I am sure my horse will get used to him in time, all the others take no notice of him.

The Rushbury Pig
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:05 pm

Excellent news and so pleased to hear you are enjoying him now :lol:

Feet can often need trimming, not all require it, especially if they are walking on an abrasive floor sometimes such as concrete/slabs which wears them down.

It however vitally important that they are trimmed if needed because poor feet lead to the pig walking low on their pasterns and there are then obvious long term consequences if that is allowed to happen.

I have posted two links to Hoof Trimming Part One and Part Two which I always give as recommended viewing to people who buy pigs from me. Take a look and if you have any other questions then ask away :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03H23Zyitz4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GCGaQfh1iQ
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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Himleyku
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Re: my kunekune killed and ate a chicken,any experience of t

Post by Himleyku » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:32 pm

I lost a sow 2 days after I found her with half a rabbit (had obviously been dead a couple of days - the rabbit not the sow!). She had a litter of piglets which used to run in and out of the pig area onto the better grass, going under the electric fence, and one day she came running up to my truck with this half rabbit in her mouth instead of waiting for me in her paddock. Not wanting escaping and scaring horses to become routine I moved her into our hay barn with her piglets. She was housed in sheep hurdles with a thick bed, given her normal food and had her babies with her so shouldn't have been stressed. The next day she was fine in the afternoon (had a visitor cuddling her and admiring her babies), a couple of hours later was running a temperature. It was reduced with subcutaneous antibiotics, but then she relapsed and died, leaving her six weeks old piglets. All of them were, and still are fine a month later, as are all my other pigs, could she have caught something from the rabbit (unlikely as pigs would eat carrion in the wild), or did she maybe swallow a sharp bit of bone and get infected gut? She certainly wasn't choking or anything like that. Fever would indicate infection, but babies being fine suggests not contagious, any ideas or just very bad luck?

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