5 Signs Your Kunekune is in Heat

Not sure when to put your boar with your gilt or sow? Check out these 5 signs your kunekune is in heat for a successful pairing.

When it comes to breeding kunekunes, it is crucial to know when your gilts or sows are in heat. When you are new to breeding, this is something you hear about but can be challenging to pinpoint. Here are five signs your kunekune is in heat to help you know your gilts and sows cycles.

Vulva swelling

The most obvious sign of heat is vulva swelling. Depending on the gilt or sow, this can be dramatic or minimal. Their vulva will become pinker and swollen for 2-4 days of their heat cycle. 

Attitude Changes

Hormones do crazy things to pigs’ attitudes too. You may notice your pig is more sassy or nippy. She may become more food motivated. It is essential to know your pigs. Once you spend time with them daily, these attitude changes are very apparent.

Hanging out Near Boars

Another sign of heat is your gilt/sow hanging out as close to the boars as possible. They will parade the fence line and become more vocal because they are trying to get the males’ attention. These advances are why electric and strong fences are important for a controlled breeding program.

Mounting other Females

Some females are so hormonal that they may try to mount other females or even chase them. These odd behaviors are due to the increased hormones and urges. There is no harm in this behavior, just a sign of heat.

Standing Heat

The final sign your gilt/sow is in heat is something called Standing heat. While your pig’s hormones can be in “heat mode” for several days, there is an optimal breeding time. Your gilt/sow will stand still when pressure is placed on her rear half. Her allowing this means she is receptive to breeding and would stand still for a boar, which is why it is called standing heat. Most of the time, when you put pressure on your gilt/sow, they will move out of the way. This behavior change, along with some other signs, lets you know your pig is in heat.


Tracking Heat Cycles

Kunekune pigs are in heat about every 21 days. Watch for signs of heat and mark your calendar. Continue to track and monitor. If your pig misses a heat cycle, it is highly likely that they are bred, even if you didn’t see it.

What age do heats begin?

Heats begin at different ages for different gilts. The heat age depends on genetics, body condition, and more. Some can come into heat as early as 4-5 months, although closer to a year is more typical.

What is blind heat?

A blind heat is just as the name suggests. It is a heat cycle with fewer visible signs. It would help if you watched for more social cues of standing by the fence, vocalizations, and standing heat. Some gilts/sows do not swell much with heat, making it difficult to “see” what is happening. 

When to introduce the boar?

You can introduce the boar and gilt you have chosen to breed at the beginning of the heat cycle if you plan to combine them for several days. You can also just put them together briefly during standing heat. The final decision depends on your farm setup and how comfortable your pigs are with each other. Some may take longer to “get to know” each other.

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