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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Gianna Lodice '24 and Layla Coppola '24 February 15, 2024

New Berkshire Piglets Provide Multiple Benefits at Nonnewaug

Brianna Johnson
Sophomores, from left, Nasir Stevenson and Nico Alonza interact with new piglets, Sophia and Rose. Students are involved in making the piglets feel at home in Nonnewaug’s large animal lab.

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug’s large animal lab has been bustling with surprises this fall. Not one, but two new Berkshire piglets, Sophia and Rose, were introduced to Woodbury’s agriculture program.  

“The new pigs are really cute,” said sophomore ag production student Nasir Stevenson. “It’s really cool to be able to work with a bunch of different animals.”

Agriculture production instructor Kathleen Gorman has been spending countless hours in preparation for the six-week-old piglets. Bringing new animals into the program is not as easy as it seems. Gorman spent time researching to find the breed of pig that she thought best fit the community.

“Berkshire pigs are known for their excellent meat quality,” Gorman said. “They are also more common in the small farms close to us. We specifically chose pigs that fit what our community was seeking so we could support the industries local to us.”

While the program is mindful of the industry benefits of pigs, Gorman also has reasons why she felt pigs are necessary for the educational parts of the program.

Senior Caroline Kyryschenko, an ag production student, cuddles with the pigs, exercising the pigs brain’s and social skills. She does this in hope that the program raises more friendly livestock for the NHS ag animal lab. (Kathleen Gorman)

“The engagement that you can have with pigs is unlike other livestock animals,” said Gorman. “I like working with pigs because you have the task of working with an animal with such a high intelligence level.  They have only been here for three days and have gone from being antisocial to rolling over for belly rubs.”  

Gorman also points out differences in typical animal behavior and the science behind why working with swine is a whole different experience than working with cattle or other livestock animals.

“They are craftier and have other problem-solving skills that other livestock do not have,” said Gorman. “It is really good for teaching students how to outthink an animal, and it keeps them on their toes.”

“I’m really excited because getting to work with pigs will spread my knowledge of livestock, and I think it’s a great opportunity for our class to have,” said junior ag production student Haley Sarandrea. “After we sold Papaya, we lost some of the variety in some of the animals we work with, so it’s great to have them again. They are also young, so it’s a great opportunity for our class to be able to train them.”

Gorman also agrees with the value within the opportunity for students to raise the Berkshire piglets.

“Since our class is getting the piglets so young, [students] have the opportunity to raise the pigs they want to have in this program,” Gorman said. “How the pigs react and engage with people is all up to [ag production students]. I think it’s a responsibility that is so important for students to have in their academic careers.”

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About the Contributor
Brianna Johnson is a junior in her first year of being a reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is an ag student who's interested in agricultural production. When she is not reporting on the latest news, she enjoys riding quads, working with cows, and socializing with her friends. She hopes to become a women's health nurse practitioner. Brianna is excited to be involved in sharing the details of the latest local news.
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