Our Pigs - Charlotte
Charlotte, who is not yet two, is one well traveled pig. The registered, pure bred, black and white curly haired Jenny KuneKune gilt was born at Rocky Mountain Kunekunes on 8/19/09. She was purchased by a woman in Tennessee who, like us, had read about this wonderful breed in Hobby Farms magazine, and been smitten. Charlotte briefly moved to Tennessee, and lived with a dog as her companion. Her owner was unexpectedly deployed to Afghanistan, and needed to quickly find new homes for all of her animals. We just happened to be searching for our first kunes, and contacted Shelly Farris at Rocky Mountain Kunekunes. She put us in touch with Charlotte’s owner. We were able to acquire the fine gilt for a song.
However, we weren’t yet prepared to house her, and she had to move immediately. Southern Maryland was enduring an atypically cold, snowy winter. The ground was too frozen to dig post holes for fencing; the lumber for our new pig barn couldn’t be delivered to the Amish builder due to the high snow.
Around the same time we had also purchased Alvin and Simon, our Borris barrow brothers, from Kunekune Preserve USA. Their breeder, Cyndi Berry, is located in North Carolina. She was holding them until our facility was ready. She very kindly agreed to meet Charlotte’s owner at a half way point to do a highway pig hand off. She then would board Charlotte at her farm until we were ready to have all three pigs delivered. Cyndi made two dizzying trips through the Smoky Mountains, and she and Charlotte arrived home late but safe and sound. Initially Charlotte lived on the porch. She was placed on a strict detox diet. Her owner had been feeding her standard swine food, designed to fatten market hogs. She was obese. The weight eventually came off once she was placed on small amounts of Mazuri Active Adult Mini Pig food and hay.
After her quarantine period was up, she was moved in with the sows. She was very happy to be back amongst her own kind. She had been lonely. April 5th rolled around, and our fence and barn were finally completed. Once again, Cyndi loaded her van up with Charlotte, along with Simon and Alvin whom Charlotte had never met, and they headed north. Upon their arrival they all ambled out of their crates, and settled in together with a minimum of pushing and shoving, usually only around meal time. Charlotte, who is a lot smaller than the boys, was the lowest pig in their hierarchy. However, she didn’t seem to mind.
A year rolled by. Charlotte matured, and slowly the spark of an idea was kindled. Perhaps we might like to have one or two more Kunes. They are such easy keepers, and so pleasant. We could have Charlotte bred, and then sell the piglets that we did not want. We began to research Kune breeders that might be interested in offering their boars’ stud services. I happened upon the excellent website and Facebook page that Black Valley Farm in Pennsylvania had recently stood up. We contacted the owners Alana and Brian Schoffstall, and began to coordinate a breeding, as well as formed a very nice friendship. She patiently passed on her breeding knowledge and experience, happy to educate us newbies just as she had recently been mentored by the more seasoned breeders before her. Terms were agreed to, and we delivered Charlotte on April 14th. She and Wendell, Black Valley Farm’s ginger Tonganui boar got right down to business. On June 14th a vet confirmed via ultrasound that Charlotte was, indeed, in pig. We brought her home the following weekend.
So now we are in waiting mode until her due date of ~8/12-8/16. Let’s hope for lots of picture perfect piggies!