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Pigged out

July 21, 2000

Alex Coolman

FAIRGROUNDS--There must be something in the air at the Orange

County Fair.

Only a day after 11 piglets were born to one of the Centennial Farm

porkers, another sow gave birth to an identical number--22 pigs in about

24 hours.

Technically speaking, the births were spaced a little further apart

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than that, however.

The first batch came about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the second began to

arrive at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. It wasn't until 3 a.m. Thursday that the

last of the litter was finally brought into the world.

Lying exhausted in her pen Thursday, the unnamed mother sow was the

object of a great deal of attention.

Not only were fair visitors eager to get a glimpse of her brood, but

the piglets themselves were jockeying for position to suckle her breasts.

"They have 14 nipples" so 11 piglets can be fairly easily

accommodated, said fair docent Jeannine Marold.

The piglets, which already can walk and see, are about the size of

generous kielbasas. Their small bodies are either pink or, like their

mother's, black-and-white-striped. All of them are coated in a fine,

downy fuzz.

Though the closely timed births seem like an extraordinary

coincidence, Marold said there is a method behind the maternity.

The Centennial Farm staff actually times the pregnancies of its pigs

to coincide with the fair. The idea, Marold said, is to give visitors a

chance to see the miracle of pig birth, or births, up close.

The two litters are all that visitors can expect, however.

"Those were the only two sows that we had planned for delivery during

the fair," Marold said.

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