Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is experiencing a baby bonanza with the May birth of two Nigerian dwarf goats and six Guinea hog piglets. Two other Nigerian dwarfs goats had been born in April.
The miniature kids and pint-sized piglets are already a huge hit with the public, according to zoo officials. Visitors will find them in the zoo’s New England Farmyard.
“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 gorgeous flowers that are in bloom,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “It doesn’t matter your age — everyone loves baby animals.”
The zoo’s Nigerian goats
Peaches, a 3-year-old Nigerian dwarf goat, gave birth on May 4. The father, Rodney, will celebrate his first birthday in June. Rodney also sired the kids born in April to their mother, Cupcake.
The baby goats, known as kids, are both healthy and happy and welcome additions to the goat yard, said officials at the Bridgeport-based zoo.
The Beardsley Zoo’s six Gineau hog piglets
The Guinea hog piglets range in weight from 1 to 2 pounds. Mom is named Olivia and the father is Hampton. Both are 6 years old.
Hampton and Olivia last produced a litter of eight in June 2011, rivaling then-famous reality star Jon Goselin. The zoo’s one male and two female Guinea hogs came from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., and Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Va.
About Guinea hogs
When fully grown, Guinea hogs may reach 100 to 300 pounds. They also are known as pineywoods Guinea, acorn eater, Guinea forest hog, and yard pig.
They are called the “yard pig” because their small size and easy maintenance makes them the ideal pig for a family raise in a small yard.
According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), the hogs once were the most numerous pig breed found on farms in the Southeast but today there are fewer than 200. Guinea hogs are classified as critical (vs. endangered) by ALBC and are unique to the United States.
About Nigerian dwarf goats
Nigerian Dwarf goats are miniature dairy goats. The milk produced by these goats has higher butterfat content than their larger counterparts and tastes much sweeter.
A doe (a grown female) can produce up to two quarts of sweet milk a day. Most females will grow to around 18 inches, while males can reach 23 inches. They weigh about 75 pounds when fully grown and can be a full spectrum of colors, from black, brown and white to spotted or striped.
Bucklings (young males) may be fertile as soon as 7 weeks of age, while mature females can breed as early as 8 months of age.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. This includes Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelot, red wolves, and golden lion tamarins.
Other highlights at the facility are the South American rainforest and free-flight aviary; prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas; New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters; hoofstock trail with bison, pronghorn and deer; indoor carousel, and outdoor picnic grove.
Find out more at www.beardsleyzoo.org.