Sep 2010 - Piglets arrive at school

The patter of tiny trotters can be heard at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, as Aunt Vivian, one of the resident sows gave birth to nine healthy piglets on Tuesday. Aunt Vivian was one of three pigs that arrived at the School last year to be cared for by pupils studying BTEC Countryside and Environment and Animal Care courses.

The three pigs have thrived in the 260 acres of Gatton Park and pupils have benefited from the experience of caring for them. Whilst the first three pigs were earmarked for breeding, the piglets are eventually destined for the table.

Headmaster Paul Spencer Ellis comments “It is important for pupils to know where their food comes from and also to understand how animal husbandry can be a commercial operation. So as well as teaching pupils how to care for animals we are teaching them about the business and marketing side of farming. For the time being, pupils will enjoy looking after the piglets but they are well aware of their final destination.”

Aunt Vivian and her brood are housed in a special ‘maternity suite’ near the school buildings so that staff can keep an eye on them over the next few days. The piglets, who will not be named, will remain with their mother for 6 weeks before she rejoins the other two pigs in the Japanese Garden. The piglets will be moved to work in the grounds clearing undergrowth in the woods.

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