TV Stars Visit John Betts House - August 1, 2013
On Saturday 27th July Antonia Pugh-Thomas visited John Betts House and was accompanied by TV stars Snout and Crackling, Kune Kune pigs. “Kune Kune” means “fat and round”in Maori. The breed originally came from Asia but the Maoris were the people who domesticated Kunes, keeping them to guard their houses and provide meat. Kunes do not make good bacon but are good for sausages. The breed nearly became extinct at the end of 20th century but in 1992 a British couple, seeing Kunes in New Zealand, decided to import some into the UK and have bred them successfully.
There is now a thriving British Kune Kune society and most people keep them as pets as they are small, amiable and enjoy interaction with humans. The Kune is the smallest domesticated pig in the world, growing to approximately 80cm high and weighing approximately 110-150kg when fully grown. The craze for “teacup” pigs in the UK has resulted in many uninformed people taking on pigs as pets, only to find that they grow. There is no such thing as a “micro” pig: they are a figment of media imagination. The Kune is as “micro” a pig as you will ever find.
Snout and Crackling were born on 14 July 2011 and were castrated at three weeks and weaned at eight. They left their breeder, a farmer called Simon Whiteley who lives in Yorkshire near Inglestone when they were two months old (and were the size of a Jack Russell) and came to live with us in London. Prior to their being conceived, my husband and I had spent time at the Whiteleys, meeting Shaun and Mandy (the parents of Snout and Crackling) so we could see how big they would grow and also assess their temperaments.
Shaun is white, Mandy is black and Snout and Crackling had four siblings who were brown and cream and orange. The breed is characterised by having two piri piris that hang down under their chins which are tassels or wattles and are essential to judging the beauty of your Kune if you enter it into a show!
Snout and Crackling are brilliant with my three children and very sweet-tempered when out and about in the neighbouring parks. As a breed, they can subsist solely on grass and do not tend to root or dig until all the grass has been eaten! Their diet is supplemented with pig nuts and fruit and vegetables that is buy from the North End Road market near where Antonia work.
Both pigs have done a bit of film and television work, and Crackling will be on both ITV and Channel 4 in the Autumn. They will always be happy to come and visit you again if you would wish.