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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Sow’s that for a big family? Cumbrian home's pig gives birth to 17 piglets

The pitter-patter of tiny trotters can be heard at Muncaster Castle after resident sow Bridget gave birth to an eye-watering litter of piglets.

Muncaster pigs photo
Bridget with some of her 17 piglets

Sadly, three of the 17 youngsters died and two have been “fostered”, but the other 12 are thriving and already making a name for themselves at the historic castle.

Muncaster’s Peter Frost-Pennington said that he was shocked when three-year-old Bridget gave birth to the staggering litter.

“Seventeen is very big. Unfortunately we did lose three of them so have only 14 left.

“Bridget is very friendly and a good mum but 14 piglets is a huge number and she only has 12 teats, so two of them have been fostered.”

And the new “foster mum” is castle volunteer Annie Wallen, who has been hand-rearing little Jet and Peggy at her home nearby until they are old enough to join their brothers and sisters back in the castle’s orchard.

Although the new additions to the castle are not officially on public display, visitors who have a wander down towards the castle’s orchard might hear the squealing of piglets and catch a glimpse of the youngsters as they happily play with each other.

“The piglets are at a lovely age now,” said Mr Frost-Pennington.

“They are all scampering around.”

And the little piggies are all different in appearance as they are from a mixed-breed litter. For mum Bridget is an Oxford sandy and black, and the father, Little John, is a British Saddleback. A typical litter of is between eight and 12 and according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest contained a whopping 37 piglets.

Three-year-old Bridget has had two previous litters, the first at 12 with the second just seven.

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