Five Guinea hog piglets were born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo on Saturday, April 9 after a 114-day gestation period. Piglets are born with their eyes open and can immediately get around, so guests can see the litter outside in the Scinto Family Pig Pen enjoying fresh air and sunshine when they’re not napping with mom. There are three males and two females, and all are healthy and active.
Proud parents are Harry Plopper, the Zoo’s elected animal mayor, and Ethel, one of Harry’s two female companions in the Farmyard. Ethel and Harry Plopper arrived in June 2021 from New York. Both were born in March 2021.The other Guinea hog sow, Doris, is expected to give birth soon as well. Harry has been moved to a new home next to the Dexter cows to give mom and babies space.
The New England Farmyard’s recent renovations feature significant upgrades to the area, including newly built barns, pastures, and enclosures for goats, cows, miniature horses, Guinea hogs, chickens, geese, and ducks. The Farmyard showcases heritage breed animals, domestic species that are in danger of disappearing from the landscape. Heritage breeds were originally bred for small family farms but are no longer commonly found. Rare farm animals represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity, just like their wild cousins, and offer variety that may be needed in the future: robust health, mothering instincts, foraging, and the ability to thrive in a changing climate.
The Zoo first welcomed Guinea hog piglets in 2008 with a litter of eight, an important contribution to this species.
“This is a great time of year to visit the zoo and witness the new life that this time of year brings — whether it’s the new baby animals or the beautiful flowers that are in bloom,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Piglets are some of the most recognizable animals to small children, so we invite everyone to enjoy spring in the Farmyard and help us welcome our adorable new members of the Zoo family.”
About Guinea Hogs
Guinea hogs are a threatened heritage livestock breed that, at one point, almost went completely extinct. The hogs were raised before industrial agriculture and were originally bred for small family farms. Also known as Pineywoods Guineas, Acorn eaters, Guinea Forest hogs, and Yard pigs, they grow to a height of 21-24 inches and weigh 150-300 lbs. They have an advanced sense of taste and can quickly identify objects by tasting them. They are quick learners and have a substantial memory.