After three weeks of pacing the floors, keeping night watches and generally living on the nerve edges – Pat Mulcahy of Ballinwillin Farmhouse in Mtichelstown, Co. Cork, can relax today. The farm’s three year old wild boar sow Lulu gave birth yesterday to a dozen baby wild boar piglets. Lulu kept everyone on tenterhooks as she went three weeks over her due date before giving birth to her mega litter. But the big day finally arrived yesterday at 3am in the morn, when the seasoned mother went into labour. By 6am she had produced ten little babies. At 9.30am another one arrived, rocking the total up to eleven. Pat thought it was all over. This number is far and above the litter size –  generally sows will have an average of eight piglets.  (In the old days, as Pat explains, piglets were called bonhams – pronounced bonavs – as in the old Irish way. But these days the word is rarely used.)  When he went to attend to Lulu again around noon, she was in the process of giving birth to a twelfth piglet. As Pat says, ‘after that she reliably informed me that was it!’ This is Lulu’s third litter, with her production gradually increasing from eight the first time, to ten in her second brood,  then this latest round dozen for good measure! Good girl herself! Pat is still blown away at how smoothly it all went. ‘Lulu did it all herself – she is a natural mother. To watch her yesterday, making sure they were all suckling properly and gathering them up with her nose was just amazing. Nature is a wonderful thing.’, says Pat today.  Lulu gave birth in a comfortable deep straw bedded pen with no farrowing crates used in intensive farming to be seen. Ballinwillin’s free range herd happily roam the grassy paddocks outside the farmhouse.  Pat expects Lulu’s piglets to be able to go outdoors at about ten days old, providing the weather picks up. ‘If the temperature would rise to about 15 degrees and stay constant for a week I would be happy to let them out into the sunshine.’, he tells us.  Dad Biffo, the Wild Boar stud at Ballinwillin,  was strutting his stuff as proud as punch today. Farmhands were all set to give him his organic breakfast cereal this morning, with a little champagne added to help him celebrate! In fathering these twelve healthy newborns, Biffo has contributed hugely to the major history of Wild Boar at Ballinwillin.  Wild Boar was extinct in Ireland since the late 1600’s, until Pat Mulcahy re-introduced the animals again at Ballinwillin Farm in the 1990’s. Lucy’s new babies will certainly keep the gene pool  going for some while yet.  Read more about Ballinwillin House their Farm shop and their Ballinwillin produce