Sophie McCook

BBC Scriptwriter & Author of New Book Thinkless

Ten Things I know about Pigs I didn’t know Before.

When we got a walled garden with hogweed, we thought we’d get hogs. After a kindof townie ignorant shopping trip, we came back with two lady hogs. I thought they were lovely. Then our pig-keeping friend told us stories about missing pig farmers, which usually ended with …’and all they found of him were his false teeth…’

So then I was more cautious, and was counting the days til bacon. I didn’t know both the pigs were knocked up. One day five piglets twinkled  out of the pig house. 4 weeks later seven more. I pig-poop you not, they looked like twelve tea-cups with teeny legs. Going from two to fourteen in the space of a few weeks taught me ten laws of the pig.

1. They smell a bit….musky. No really, they do. There’s a strange perfumey thing going on, 1/4  roses 3/4 hormone. I’d imagine Parisian singers from the 1930s wearing Eau de Porcine.

2. If you scratch a pig’s back, it sits down. Or falls over. Away, hopefully.

3a. They plan things openly. The only reason they’re not scratching their chins and drawing up blueprints is down to their badly designed trotters. If pigs got into partnership with Nike, they would all have middle management positions by now.

b. You can only fool a pig one  time. If you want to catch three pigs, have three completely separate ingenious plans.

4. Pigs show affection by gurgling, much in the same way I imagine Boris Johnston would.

5. Pigs scream a polyphonic yodel that they must have practised in a sound chamber in CERN.

6. Pigs only like the grass that grows on the far side of a busy road. The faster the road the better.

7. Neighbours become unlikely herders. They don’t do it willingly but always seem to enjoy the endorphin rush afterwards.

8. The only way to pick a piglet up is by the back feet. And about a mile away from its mother, behind a steal barricade. For the 10 seconds you’re holding her baby, the mother turns into a HellTankTeethAngerMachine – but as soon as you put the piglet away (in someone else’s trailer, usually) the mother forgets her role as HTTAM and gets back on task (‘all the eats’).

The way to pick up an adult pig is with a forklift.

9.a You become servant to the pig, as well as fretting mother. They’re fed three times a day, and each feed takes an hour. It would be cheaper, more time efficient (and more vegan) to have a baby.

b. If you are, or have ever aspired to be, a feeder – maybe you’re a Jewish matriarch or an Italian Mama – there’s nothing more satisfying. The chomping sounds are obscene, their appetite never ends (and, just to make sure there’s room they’re not against a bit of bulimia).  They just love eating so much, they love you, they love God in all forms. When they eat, their ears flap and their tails bounce around like little bacon slinky toys.  And it’s easy to forget that they’ll be feeding you one day…

10. They’re very very hard to kill. They have long blond eyelashes, they love cuddles. If they’re scared they hide behind you, shivering. They snuffle for scratches and lean on your foot to prevent you from leaving. The idea of eating one brings you out in horrors. No way are they going in a truck. No, they’re going to have the biggest bucket of pig nuts while a hired assassin tiptoes up from behind. Actually, forget that – let’s go vegan.


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