FARMERS will have their hands full this winter after 17 piglets were born.
The births were a late present for the team at Butser Ancient Farm, in Chalton Lane, over the festive period.
Delivered by Butser’s three sows, Buffy, Sugar and Rainbow, the Iron Age farm’s tiny new additions have already proved a hit with visitors.
But the mischievous members of the three litters are turning into a real handful, with staff now needing to build new security fences to make sure the young pigs don’t escape.
Tiffany Francis, creative developer at the farm, said this was the first time pigs had ever been born at the site, as they are normally brought in from elsewhere.
‘This is a really exciting time for us,’ she told The News yesterday as the first band of children visited the archeological heritage hub.
We were expecting a fair few piglets. But it was definitely a surprise to have that manyTiffany Francis
‘We were expecting a fair few piglets. But it was definitely a surprise to have that many.
‘We’re definitely a bit overrun but it’s lovely to go to the “Pigs’ Palace” and see them running around.’
The piglets’ mothers are now set to receive the VIP treatment at their palatial pen.
The staff are bulking up the feed of the three sows – who all arrived last summer – to make sure they can tend to their young.
‘This has all been a real learning experience for us,’ added Tiffany.
‘With the milder weather, the piglets have started tip-toeing outside and running around, stepping in the mud.
‘But we have not secured the paddock yet. So we have got a bit more work to still to do.’
Butser’s piglets are all a mixture of saddlebacks and Oxford sandy and black.
As a result, some have spots while others have stripes.
The farm aims to sell a number of the piglets at the end of February.
Until then, they will be the star attraction to many children visiting the site on school trips.
‘Baby animals are always incredibly popular with the children,’ added Tiffany.
Butser offers educational tours of its grounds, which provides an insight into ancient British farming techniques. For more, see butserancientfarm.co.uk.