THE PIG PEN

The Pig:  stout, versatile and hardy.  Many homesteads would not have known what to do
without the meat provided by this humble and much-maligned animal. "Hog and hominy"
were the basic foods in many farmers' lives.

In spite of some of their negative traits (and yes, they do have them), pigs are intelligent and
will eat almost anything.  They are immune to rattlesnake bites due to the layer of fat under
their skins, and they can quickly adapt to a wild lifestyle, eating roots, acorns and even small
animals. That is why we have the wild hog problem that we have today in some states!


Swine Vocabulary

The male is a boar.
The female is a sow who pigs or farrows.  
The babies are piglets.  
A shoat is a weanling pig.
A young female is a gilt.  
A neutered male is a barrow or stag.  
A large pig is a hog.

The Swine produced:

Meat (hams, sidemeat, bacon, loin, etc.)
Fat/Lard useful for cooking and soapmaking. When rendered, the lard produced
"cracklings" that were eaten or cooked with cornbread.

Pig's feet were sometimes pickled
The entire pig's head might be cooked and eaten
Pigskin, which could be used as leather or fried.
Chitlins, the cleaned and cooked hog's intestines, are a Southern specialty, although
when they are cooking the smell will clear a room.



The Swine Received:

If penned, the swine received household scraps called slop or swill. If being fattened,
they might be fed corn. Of course, if they were penned they had a certain amount of
shelter and safety.

Feral pigs neither needed nor wanted human care.
For more information about 19th
Century meat processing, click HERE.