Pigs in blankets
Friday 17 May 2013
Wild boar piglets hand reared at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Three wild boar piglets are being hand reared by keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – with the help of a cuddly toy sheep.
Four week old sisters, Dotty, Hettie and Gertie, were taken into the care of keepers when they were just a few days old after their mum had an extra large litter and was unable to give them the attention they needed.
Keeper Jo Shirley, who has taken on the role of mummy pig, looks after the tiny triplets day and night, feeding them around the clock. At first she gave them milk every two hours to build up their strength, but has now reduced this to every four hours – and the youngsters are thriving.
She said: “Like typical sisters they are very different; Dotty is the most laid back out of the three, whereas Hettie is very mischievous and Gertie just wants to play all the time.
“We’ve built them a special enclosure from straw bales, complete with heat lamps, blankets, and a toy sheep which is left for them to snuggle up to whenever I’m not around. Usually the piglets would cuddle up to their mum, so the sheep is very comforting for them - although they’re so cute, one of us is always popping in to say hello to them.”
Dotty, Hettie and Gertie will be looked after by Jo for the next few weeks before going to live on the Zoo’s Children’s Farm, home to hand reared wallabies, llamas, silky chickens, goats and donkeys.