One of the most popular attractions at the annual Iowa State Fair is the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s farrowing display.
IPPA works with a pig farmer in the state to bring in eight sows or gilts that are close to giving birth to a litter of piglets during the eleven-day event in Des Moines. The thousands of fairgoers who visit the Animal Learning Center during the fair can watch piglets being born and learn more about pork production. The births also are captured on video and shown on monitors in the building.
Much care and preparation is taken by the farmer to ready the sows for the trip to the fair and to ensure a successful birthing process, as Derrick and Butch Sleezer explain:
The Sleezers have supplied the sows for the Iowa State Fair farrowing display for a number of years and Derrick says the sows receive the same care at the fair as they do on every hog farm in the state:
IPPA partners with a local FFA chapter to provide daily feed, water and care for the animals and veterinarians are on-site to help ensure the well-being of the sows and their piglets throughout the event.
The 2016 state fair will be held Aug. 11-21 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.