THE DOMESTIC PIG

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

The Domestic Pig is bred from the wild pig, specifically to improve certain qualities such as size and temperament. It is considerably larger than its wild relatives and much slower. There are several variants of Domestic Pig, due to crossbreeding with the woolly boar, but this is the most typical.

A domestic pig

View picture in full size  Picture description. The Domestic Pig, a common sight throughout most of Southern Sarvonia. Picture by Quellion.

Appearance. The Domestic Pig is very much like the wild pig in appearance, with shaggy, coarse brown or black fur, which is heaviest over the back and shoulders, and scant on the belly. In general, this fur tends to be somewhat sparser than that of the wild pig, (except in the woolly boar crossbreeds). The hide is thick, dark brown, and leathery. Both genders have two large sharp yellowish tusks, but these are usually cut short or filed down to minimize their danger. If the tusks are left uncut, they can grow to be nearly two palmspans long. Since this Pig is much less active than its wild cousin, the hooves often need to be filed down as well. This pig is comparatively much bigger than the wild one, with some of the bigger boars achieving a body length of nearly 1 ½ peds and a height of 2 fores from cloven hooves to shoulders. It has a thin, short tail, hanging just to the hocks, with a wispy tuft of black hair at the end. The shoulders are heavier than the hindquarters. The snout is the most sensitive part of the Pig. It is long and turned up at the end, with large nostrils which tend to be wet and sticky most of the time. The ears are large and pointed, though some pigs may have "lop" ears, which fold over and hang down. The Pig’s deep-set, small dark brown or black eyes are somewhat nearsighted - pigs tend to rely far more on their hearing and sense of smell than on vision. The Pig’s head is large and thick, and comes straight out of the heavy shoulders with almost no discernable neck. It weighs about 3-4 hebs and is quite wide-- nearly 3 palmspans - across the forehead. The Pig’s legs are short and stubby and quite thick.

The domesticated pig is usually extremely fat - with no need to forage or compete with other Pigs for food, it spends a great deal of time eating and growing. Some Domestic Pigs can achieve nearly twice the weight of a comparable wild pig. A good-sized sow usually weighs around 1 ½ -2 pygges, while the boars are normally about 2 pygges but can weigh as much as 2 pygges, 4 hebs. Scholars suggest that the term “Pygge” originally comes from the average weight of a wild pig, many, many years ago, before farmers began to breed the domestic variety.
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Special Abilities. Like most pigs, the Domestic Pig has an amazing sense of smell. A rural legend says that a farmer once used a Domestic Pig to find his lost child, but this is unsubstantiated. The mild tempered ones can sometimes be trained to dig up tuberroots or hunt for certain types of edible mushrooms such as the squilla since a Pig can almost always find food. Usually the runts of a litter will be selected to be trained for this purpose, since they will not be worth much as a meat animal.

The Pig is an unusually intelligent animal and is sensitive to climatic changes. Farmers swear that they can tell when bad weather is on the way before a weather mage can. Two days before a major storm, Pigs will start behaving very agitatedly, digging up great piles of dirt or hay. Just before the storm hits, they will burrow into the piles and hide there until the worst of it is over. This instinct is so deeply rooted in them that they will do this even if kept indoors. Sows with litters will often carefully bury their babies around their bodies so they can still feed, heaping the straw about them.
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Territory. Domestic Pigs may be found almost anywhere there are people (pork is not usually as popular with other races as with humans). Although they thrive best in temperate climates, occasionally northern peoples will crossbreed Domestic Pgs with the
woolly boar for a hardier breed of animal, usually with good results. The Domestic Pig was originally bred in southern Sarvonia, but has since spread across most of the continent. There are domestic pigs on other continents as well, notably Nybelmar and Yamalquain. Most farmers keep their Pigs in a pig barn with access to a large outdoor yard. Sows with litters are kept inside in a special stall with extra straw or wood shavings to keep them warm. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. The Domestic Pig is a pack animal and they are usually kept in groups of about ten pigs, five mated pairs. Larger groups tend to fight more, as Domestic Pigs are still somewhat aggressive. Biting and rough shoving (especially for food) is fairly common. The sows are much more dangerous when they have young litters (see Mating) and need to be housed separately then. Generally, however, the Pigs are rather indolent and greedy. A common rural expression is “living the life of a pig”, often in reference to spoiled children or very rich people. In spite of their reputations, Pigs are very clean, fastidious animals. Some have been trained as house pets (again, usually the runts because they don’t get so big) and they can get very attached to their owners, just as a dog might.
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Diet. The Domestic Pig will eat nearly anything; household scraps, most plants and non-poisonous fungi, roots, grains, berries and even fish. It is not a finicky eater. Some farmers like to supplement their pigs’ diet with weeprouts or fermented fruit mash, claiming that this adds a delectable flavour to the hams. Pompion is also popular, since it is cheap and easy to produce. Corn, wheat and different kinds of grains are used to bulk the Pigs up quickly. Farmers keep large blocks of sea salt in the pens for salt licks as well. 
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Mating. Like its cousin the
wild pig, the Domestic Pig mates for life. During the mating season (twice yearly in winter and summer) the amorous boar courts his mate in a charmingly clumsy way, bringing her choice tidbits of food, nuzzling her tenderly, using his tusks to scratch her back gently, and so on. The actual act of mating is quick, aggressive - and noisy! Sows usually have litters of 6-8 piglets, though if food is plentiful and living conditions optimal, sows have been known to produce up to 12 piglets in one litter. The sow is a savagely protective mother, and it is wise to stay out of reach when bringing food to her pen. Post-partum sows have been known to bite and trample people, though they are normally relatively placid. The piglets grow very fast and mature within four or five months. The average pig, if not sold for meat, lives approximately 9-12 years. Return to the top

Usages. The Domesticated Pig is very popular with people, as it is bigger, slower and less aggressive than the
wild pig. The meat tends to be tenderer and considerably higher in fat. Thus it is both easier and more profitable to sell domestic pork, hams and other cuts of meat. Back bacon is currently fashionable among the richer classes as a luncheon meat. The lower classes enjoy the cheap pickled pigs feet.

But the other parts of the Pig are useful too: Pigskin is commonly used for inexpensive shoes, belts and gloves, as it is tougher and cheaper than leather. The intestines are used to make sausage casings. Artists prize the coarse bristly hair for use in making paintbrushes. Pighair brushes are popular with Bardavos students as they make inexpensive and good quality writing/painting implements. The cut-off tusk pieces may be carved into intricate jewelry or decorative knickknacks. Altogether the Domestic Pig is a very useful animal.
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Myth/Lore. Because of the pig’s strong sensitivity to weather changes, it is said that they are sacred to Grothar the Weather God, and any farmer hoping to have good weather is sure to treat his Pigs very well! Sarvonian peasants tell the legend of how Grothar created the
wild pigs in answer to the prayers of many devout farmers who were struggling through a particularly difficult spring, with rain, sudden frosts, and terrible storms. However, the capricious god chose not to make things too easy for his subjects, and the wild pigs were fierce, ill-tempered beasts. Only those farmers who were particularly determined (and lucky) could catch, tame, and successfully breed them. Return to the top

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