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COUNTYWIDE : Prize Pig Delivers in a Big Way

Shortcake, the Orange County Fair’s mascot pig, failed the public relations test and gave birth to 12 piglets Thursday morning.

Although excited by the births, fair officials had hoped Shortcake would time the blessed event a little closer to the July 11 opening day of this year’s fair.

“This year we are saluting pigs,” said fair spokeswoman Lynda Conway. “A pig’s gestation period is three months, three weeks and three days, and we thought she was due July 1.”

A normal litter is between eight and 10 piglets, although pigs can have up to 15 in a litter, Conway said.

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Shortcake, a 450-pound, 16-month-old Yorkshire-Hampshire, was a prize winner at last year’s fair and was named this year’s mascot, Conway said.

Shortcake gave birth to six piglets in January. Those pigs, which now weigh between 180 and 200 pounds, have been adopted by members of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America and will be shown at this year’s fair.

Fair-goers may view the newest piglets, as well as other animals, at Centennial Farm on the fairgrounds. The one-acre farm is a replica of an actual working farm with crops and animals, a windmill, a henhouse and an aviary, Conway said.

It has been a permanent exhibit at the fairgrounds since October.

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“City dwellers in Orange County who don’t know an awful lot about farm animals and agriculture can visit the farm,” she said. “We’ve got goats, dairy cattle, sheep, rabbits, a turkey and different kinds of pigs.”

One of the more unusual animals is a pot-bellied pig named Oliver whose underside almost touches the ground. Oliver, Conway insists, likes to watch CBS news anchorman Dan Rather every night.

Fair officials were busy finding names for Shortcake’s piglets (boars and gilts in farm lingo). Meanwhile, mother was reportedly doing fine.

The fair runs July 11-22.

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