Kiawah River Farm’s Kunekune Pigs, Donkeys and the Science of Refugia

Say hello to Kiawah River Farm’s new animals! Two donkeys and a passel of Kunekune pigs are joining us this summer, and they are bringing more than just playfulness to our pasture. These additions will join the herd at The Goatery to play their roles in the practice of refugia, a scientific approach to creating a holistic habitat.

“Refugia” is diversification to balance the interrelationships between animal and plant species, creating a healthy and self-sustaining ecosystem. This diversification eliminates the need for harsh pesticides and grows stronger herds of animals.

By welcoming donkeys and pigs, Kiawah River Farm is building a wonderful environment for the animals to live in.

The goats, cows, donkeys, and pigs help protect each other by naturally offering unique talents to benefit the biodome. They are also rotated around the pasture to help work with each other to control pests and forage the land.

Our new farm animals will be an amazing contribution to our environment. The donkeys help protect the farm from outside predators and control certain organisms that could be life-threatening to the other livestock.   

The pigs have the dirty job. They will help by eating feces, cleaning the land of defecation. Of course, it sounds silly, but the pigs considerably impact the reduction of horn flies and other insects, which could harm our livestock.   

“It is like a choreographed symphony where many instruments make up the beautiful sounds of a single song,” said Missy Farkouh, co-owner of The Goatery at Kiawah River Farm. “Each animal represents the instruments and the farm is the song. It is so important to keep the land healthy and viable.”     

Donkeys Priscilla and her four-week-old baby, Hephaestus (aka Hefe), are miniature donkeys, commonly called Donks. The donkeys will play their natural purpose on the farm while also educating Kiawah River’s families and visitors who want to learn more about our farm animals. Beyond their tiny unique appearance, they also are known for their particularly loyal and friendly personalities.   

The Kunekune pigs – pronounced “cooney cooney” – are a small breed of domesticated pigs originally from New Zealand. Their name translates to “fat and round” in the Maori language (Reference: These pigs are exceptionally fun to play with and will grow in size to around 200 pounds! We look forward to their arrival soon. 

Help us welcome these new additions to the Kiawah River Farm and stay up-to-date with our animals by following @KiawahRiverCHS on Instagram and Facebook as well as The Goatery at Kiawah River Farm @The_Goatery