Tails Blog

Kunekune pigs for pets

Steve Coppell - Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kunekunes are small and friendly animals and for this reason they can become good pets.
Kunekune means plump in maori. They were first discovered in New Zealand, although genetic analysis indicates they are of Asian origin. There is considerable debate about how they came to arrive on New Zealand shores, but the most plausible theory is that whalers and sealers introduced them in the 19th century.

Actually by the late 1970s, this unique breed was on the brink of extinction, before a determined breeding program was set in place to re establish the breed. Today there are thousands of Kunekune pigs around the world.

One of the reasons Kunekunes make great pets is their colourful personalities. They are gentle, loving and affectionate animals that thrive on social interaction. They have personality plus. They adore tummy rubs. As well as human company, these little creatures love interaction with other animals. So it's a good idea to buy two at a time, even better if they are from the same litter. Don't be afraid to cross graze them with other species.

Unlike some breeds Kunekune boars are easy to handle and are good natured towards people, so both genders are pet possibilities. You should be aware that boars may act aggresively towards each other from time to time, and like all male pigs, will grow tusks as they mature.

You don't need huge paddocks to keep Kunekunes as long as there is sufficient grass available. They are grazing animals with higher fibre requirements than other pigs, so they need access to good quality pasture all year round.
Although not a substitute for grass, their diet can be supplemented with commercial pellots, fruits and vegetables if neccesary. This is especially important during the winter, as the grass loses some of its goodness and may be in shorter supply during this time. Regular feeding of scraps is also geat for bonding with your pigs. However don't feed them waste items such as fruit peel and corn cobs as they will not eat them, and avoid giving them celery and parsnips as these can cause blisters on their feet.

They might be small but you shouldn't underestimate their ability to escape. Sturdy fences are required to keep them in their paddocks and a waterproof, well ventilated shelter is essential to protect them from the elements. During winter, they love to stay warm and dry. In summer they tend to overheat easily so they like to wallow in mud to keep themselves cool. Alternatively, you could hose them down with water or provide a lined paddling area for them to cool off in. Unlike other pig breeds, Kunekunes don't usually root up the ground, but this is not always the case and some owners insist on having their pigs noses ringed. Most people believe pigs are dirty creatures, actually they are very clean animals that keep their toilet areas away from their feeding areas.

Before you comitt to owning Kunekune pigs do your homework. Check your local councils regulations.There are limitations on pig keeping in some areas.
When buying one look for the presence of tassels, a short snout, strong legs and feet.

Kunekunes are very intelligent animals and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks. Such as sitting on command, turning circles on the spot and lying down. Hand signals and voice commands are aboth effective training methods, make sure you have lots of tasty treats on hand to encourage and train because pigs are very motivated by food. Kunekune love apple, so these make ideal treats for training purposes.
Training to sit.
To begin, hold a treat in your hand above your pigs head and say "sit" while walking towards it.
This will encourage the pig to back up and sit down.
Praise your pig and reward with a treat when it sits.
Never push down on it back if it doesn't do as you have asked. Simply repeat the procedure until you get the desired results, and don't give it the treat until it has performed the task.
Kunekune pigs
Weight up to 90 kgs, although some boars may be larger and minitures are also available.
Their colours variey but are mostly black, black and white, brown, gold, tan, and cream.
They gestate for 116 days with litters of between 3 and 11 piglets.
Kunekune live to 15 years.

For more information you can contact New Zealand Kunekune Association at http://www.kunekune.co.nz/

Did you know? Pets and Feng Shui

Steve Coppell - Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feng Shui is about environments and people and originally pets would not have played any part in the design of homes at all. Animals were domesticated as long as 8000 years ago but until quite recent times they were mainly used to work for their owners, and regarded as property rather than as best friends to human beings.
Although we get pleasure from our pets and studies have shown that stroking animals can relieve signs of stress, we should not be blind to the fact that they can cause health risks in the home.

Just as human beings enjoy better health with good food and excercise, so pets will remain healthier if they are not imprisoned in confined spaces and fed on poor diets for the duration of their lives.

Fish symbolise success and wealth in China, and an aquarium by the entrance or in the sitting room is thought to encourage this. Eight  gold fish and one black one in a tank are believed to be an auspicious combination.
When fish die it is not regarded as a sad occasion since it is thought  that they are absorbing the bad luck of the family and the fish are replaced immediately.

The use of animals as luck symbols
 is widespread in China, and their symbolism lies deep within the culture of the country. In chinese lore the money frog, (or Chan Chu) carrying a coin in its mouth and placed inside the front door is thought to drive away evil, protect goods and money, and attracts wealth to the house.

Dog Disease and Faecal matter

Steve Coppell - Friday, July 23, 2010

Dogs smell it, roll in it, walk in it, even ingest it. Dog faecal matter is often where dogs pick up serious disease. The following diseases are examples of disease spread in this way.

Parvo Virus
is one of the deadliest diseases in the dog poulation, particularly amoung puppies. Gaining entry through the mouth, the virus attacks the digestive tract and kills cells that are critical in the absorption of nutrients. Severe fluid loss through diarrhea and vomiting can lead to death. Parvo also temporarily affects a dogs immune system, and can lead to heart failure in some young dogs.

are blood suckers, tunneling into the wall of the intestine for their blood meals. Vomiting, diarrhea, and wieght loss are common symptoms and in large numbers, these parasites can cause anemia. Difficult to diagnose they are even harder to eliminate because they are often present in very large numbers.

are blood suckers, attaching to the intestineal wall where they suck plugs of the intestinal tissue into their mouth structures. Anemia and or intense inflamation can result. Hookworm infections can be passed on to humans.

can affect the lungs and the digestive system, with typical signs being vomiting and diarrhea.Convulsions can occur with heavy infections and the disease can spread to humans.

are one celled parasites that can cause diarrhea in cats and dogs. Infection with giardia is often difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.

are also one celled parasites that can cause diarrhea, especially in puppies and kittens.

The best way to treat these, and the many bacterial infections dogs can acquire from stools is to remove faeces from your yard at least weekly, but more often if possible, and keep current on your pets vaccinations, and deworming.Try to pick up waste before a rain which breaks up or scatters the faeces and allows the worms or germs to spread into the environment.

Unrestrained pets in cars in NZ

Steve Coppell - Monday, July 05, 2010

We are often reminded about how important it is to buckle up. Social engineering, common sense, and hefty fines mean most of us now belt up in our cars without really even thinking about it. But how many of us consider the hazards unrestrained pets become when they roam free in the back seat.

Link to stuff.co.nz blog. Tails can offer you cost effective solutions so you can restrain your pets in the car.  Car booster seats, and Dog car harnesses, or Vehicle pet barriers are all good options for improved safety for your pet and for you in your car.

How to control litter box odor

Steve Coppell - Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There are a number of ways you can control litter box odour.

Clean the litter box regularly.
Cleaning your pets litter box is nobodys idea of a good time. But it is important if you want to keep those nasty odours under control.
Clear the box of debris daily, and change the litter at least once a week, depending on the material you use and the number of pets who use the box.

Ventilate the area
Make sure you park the box in a well ventilated area, preferabley close to an open window.

More litter boxes
Be sure to have enough litter boxes for the number of pets in your home.

Good Quality Litter
Buy a good quality litter like Silica litter crystals which is anti bacterial, absorbent, and has a deodouriser.

Teach your pet a new trick

Flea control and prevention

Steve Coppell - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Attempting to control fleas on our pets is a multi step process. Adult fleas spend most their time on an animal, but the flea eggs, (larvae) and (pupae) are found in abundance in the environment such as in carpeting, rugs, bedding, and grass. For every flea you see on your pet there are likely to be hundreds of eggs and larve in your home and yard. Therefore a truley effective flea control program always includes treating the environment as well as treating your pet. These are the essential steps for a successful flea control program.

1/ Remove fleas from the indoor environment.
2/ Remove fleas from the outdoor environment.
3/ Remove fleas from your pets.
4/ Keep immature forms of fleas from developing.

Flea control in the indoor environment

1/ Start by vacuming thoroughly, especially below drapes, under furniture edges, and where your pet sleeps. It is estimated that vacuming can remove up to 50% of flea eggs. Vacum daily in high traffic areas, weekly in others. Each time seal your vacume bag in a plastic bag and discard it immediately. Do not place moth balls or flea collars in the vacum, since toxic fumes could result.

2/ Use a product that will kill any remaining adult fleas and also stop the development of eggs and larvae. You will need a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as Nylar (pyriproxyfen) or methoprene. This can be in the form of carpet powders, foggers, or sprays.

3/  Wash your pets bedding weekly and treat the bed and surrounding area with a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.

Flea control in the out door environment

Flea control in the out door environment generally involves eliminating the habitat in the yard and kennel areas where fleas are most likely to occur. Fleas tend to like it where it is warm , moist, shady, and where there is organic debris. they tend to be where pets spend more of their outdoor time. So be sure to concentrate on areas such as under patios, under porches, dog houses etc.

Flea control on your pet.

Now that fleas in your home and in hot spots in your yard have been treated, it is time to eliminate the fleas that are on your pet.There are a number of flea control products for use on pets, including once a month topical products, sprays, dips, shampoos, collars, powders, oral and injectable products. With any product applied directly to pet, please remember that you may see some live fleas on your pet for a short time after spraying, shampooing, dipping, etc. In order for the fleas to die, they must come into contact with insectiside, and absorb it.
Keep in mind that until all of the fleas in your home have died, you will probebly still see some fleas, even on a treated pet, since some imature forms may continue to develope. This is especially true if you had a big flea problem to start with. Persistance is the key here. It is essencial to keep following an effective flea control program for a long enough time to get rid of all the fleas, in all life stages. This may take several weeks.

Pets and their impact on our health

Steve Coppell - Saturday, February 20, 2010

Click on the picture above and it will link you to an interesting episode of "HEALTH MATTERS"
Where the topic of pets and their impact on our health.
This works better for those of you who have broadband.

Have your say

Emma Coppell - Thursday, April 30, 2009




Hi there,
Welcome to the Tails blog.

It has taken us long enough but here we are.For the benefit of those who might like to know a little bit more about us. Emma and I started out in the Pet industry as pet feeders. We did this in the Wellington region for twelve years. After this we started retailing from out of a small shop in Lower Hutt - Ems Creature Comforts. That was five years ago. The shop is a bit bigger now and we offer some grooming services as well.

We are grateful to the people who have supported us over the years and we have made some good friends along the way.

Tails is an extension of Ems Creature Comforts, and an effort to grow on the community of like minded, pet loving, people out there.

We welcome your input!

Post us a comment if you have any queries, or you think we might be able to help find a solution to your Pet related problems we want to help.