The young farm in Böblingen got piglets. Kunicon pigs from New Zealand are particularly trusting and attentive to people. Ideal for working with children.
The socket nose sniffs the ground, and the curly tail dances in the air. Konikon’s pigs Gisela and Wilma wander around the youth farm’s yard, sniffing here and munching in the garden for a bit. When Iris Wiersich, the club’s first president and “mother” of the youth farm, serves milk-soaked pig bread rolls on the floor, the two immediately pounce on them.
The little pigs have been able to call the Böblingen Youth Farm their new home since the end of July. They come from a breeder in Franconia, where they spent their first weeks of life. “They keep the animals there really well, and they had a lot of space to roam,” says Iris Wiersich. The Mönig family, owners of Mönig Immobilien from Böblingen, donated the money. They cost only 700 euros. However, there was a small discount involved – normally you would have to pay €400 for one animal. Why are they so expensive? “They are used a lot in animal-assisted teaching methods,” says Iris Wiersich.
“Fat and round,” is what the name “Kunekune” stands for.
The animals are ideal for this – and therefore also for a youth farm – because they are less susceptible to stress than their colleagues of other breeds and are also very attentive to people. A veterinarian from Nagold, who had been researching it specifically for pigs, recommended the breed. Konekon pigs originally come from New Zealand. In the Maori language, Kunekune means “fat and round”. Shoulder height can reach 50 cm in adulthood. Pigs are still a long way from that. According to Iris Versic, there are fewer and fewer copies around the world, she has read 1,000 copies. It is good that some are now being bred again.
Gisela and Wilma are 16 weeks old and are clearly feeling very comfortable at the Youth Farm. Since the farm is currently closed, they can initially settle in without the children visiting. On hot days, you can relax in the paddling pool. “They love to swim,” says Iris Wercich. She practices commands with them like “Sit!” and “Get down!”, using small pieces of carrot as an incentive. Wilma even makes babies for them: “They listen carefully to their names.” Education is important for working with children who come to the farm. “When you work with children, everything has to be perfect,” she says.
The animals continue to approach her in a friendly manner, sniffing her feet and getting massages. Gisela’s stomach claws until she falls onto her side due to the complete relaxation. “You’re a really cute little pig,” Iris Wiersich repeats over and over again. The little pig has two limbs on its neck that sway with every movement. They are called “Piri-Piri”. It is also typical of Konekon pigs. The fact that Wilma doesn’t have one is strange, says Iris Wiersich.
Smart, smart and clean
The pigs lived on the youth farm before and were 14 years old. Their upbringing was more difficult because they were already older than Gisela and Wilma when they arrived at the youth farm. Through the animals, children should learn what Gisela, Wilma and their fellow animals are like: smart, for example, and clean. Wercich says they have a special corner in their stable that they use as a toilet, and they never go to the dock. The farm staff regularly go for walks with Gisela and Wilma, especially through the farm grounds. Much to the chagrin of the alpacas. “They’re screaming on the farm,” says Iris Wiersich, showing a cell phone video of piglets standing in front of a fence in an alpaca pasture, comfortingly eating their grass and being yelled at. Alpacas are not used to strange things and often react this way to unfamiliar dogs.
Vegetarians have a fondness for the occasional earthworm
The popular dog is the farm dog Tony, and the alpacas have no problems with him. He thinks pigs are cool. It also chews through the remains of wet wraps. In addition to the rolls, Gisela and Wilma receive homemade porridge made from garden vegetables in the morning and evening. From potatoes to pumpkin, it’s all there. In the fall they can also eat acorns. “It’s a delicacy for them,” says Iris Wiersich. “They break it and spit the peel back out.” Although pigs are omnivores, the two women are vegetarians. “If they find earthworms in the garden, they will eat them too.”
Pigs holed up in the shade among plants and decorative elements in the garden. “Girls, are you out of there?” Iris calls out to Wiersich. The two immediately jumped into the courtyard. Now it’s time for a nap. Using an apple, they can be lured to their stable without protest and lie down there. Of course, too much excitement is tiring. They’re still kids, too.
Pigs and young farm
Short legs, short torso and thick whiskers, as well as the piri-piri walking on the neck: these are the classic characteristics of Kunicon pigs. They can reach a height of 50 cm at the shoulder and 70 to 100 kg. Hence the name “Kunekune”: “fat and round” in the Maori language.
Children ages 7-17 can attend Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 2:30pm to 6pm. Youth Farm also provides visits to elementary schools and kindergartens as well as programs for children with disabilities.
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