The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: Convention Over-Reunion and Fair-Hog Lingo

Greetings ta ever one in western Illinois and all readers of "The Quill."


I'm a hope'n this column finds ever one gett'n along well and prepare'n fer the 49th Annual Western Illinois Threshers this come'n weekend in Hamilton, Illinois. There's plenty ta do there and it's a good way ta build good memories with the family.

The political conventions are both over now with all the whoop-da-la that goes with em. After all is said and done, as it pertains to the candidates, there is a say'n that might apply ta this situation: There is a time when the devil you know is so bad that you choose the devil you don't know.

Gladstone had their 88th annual Homecoming Reunion last week with fun for all. Rides, food, a parade and a lot of socialize'n nightly. Who could help but enjoy it.

Also there was the Henderson County Fair last week with it's free "family night" activities. With the dodgeball tournament, bounce houses, Stronghurst sponsored fireworks display, volleyball and baggo tournaments, figure 8 races, and a tractor pull, ever one could find plenty ta enjoy.

Appreciation goes to ever one fer the volunteer hard work and effort put into both the Gladstone and Stronghurst events.

Whilst visit'n with some of the folk at the fair last week I discovered many younger folk have not learned their pig lingo.

Swineophile or not, terminology is important. If you can't get a grip on hog lingo, Pig Latin might as well be Greek.

Pig: To be absolutely correct, this is a term for a very young pig, but is used conversationally and informally for animals that have a snout and a short, curly tail, and say "oink."

Piglet or Suckling Pig: An infant hog, from birth to around eight weeks, at which time he or she is weaned and weighs close to thirty pounds.

Hog: If you're a professional hog raiser, this term indicates a swine that weighs more than 120 pounds.

Swine: Same thing as a hog, just sounds more sophisticated.

Gilt: A female less than eighteen months of age that has not yet given birth and is probably still a virgin; akin to a heifer in bovine terms.

Sow: A female hog, and if she's "piggy," she's late in her pregnancy. A sow can be bred at eight months to farrow at the age of one year. A sow is usually more agreeable than a boar unless she imagines a threat to her piglets, at which time she can display extreme aggressiveness. Most sows are bred on a small farm for three or four years, less than that in large commercial pork operations.

Shoat: A recently weaned pig, also known as a "weaner," (but not yet a "wiener"); a pre-adolescent.

Young pig or Runner: Larger than a shoat, but not yet a regular hog.

Barrow: A castrated male who usually suffers that indignity before he reaches the age of one week.

Boar: A male pig with all his sexual organs intact. A he-boar is a country term for a good-breeding hog. Boars can be proud and aloof unless they become impotent, when they show symptoms of anxiety. A boar is of use on a small farm until he reaches thirty to thirty-six months of age. By then he frequently weighs more than 500 pounds and his daughters are coming into the herd. Boar can also refer to the wild boar of the sub-family, Sus.

Rig: A male pig with one testicle that has not descended. This may be overlooked at the time of castration, so the hog becomes a frustrated boar.

Stag: An older male pig ready for slaughter.

Farrow: To give birth to one's litter.

Butcher hog: A hog that weighs 220 to 260 pounds and is ready to sell for slaughter (five to seven months of age); may also be known as a market hog.

Feederpig: A small pig between eight and twelve weeks old and forty to seventy pounds, sold to a farmer/feeder to be brought up to market weight.

Governments: An old-fashioned term for hogs rejected by the government as unsound. Swine in America (1910) said these pigs, "...if found to be affected so as to make their flesh unfit for human food, are condemned, slaughtered, and tanked. The tank is a large, steam-tight receptacle, like a steam boiler, in which the lard is rendered under steam pressure. This high degree of heat destroys all disease germs with which the diseased carcass may have been affected. The product of the tank is converted into grease and fertilizer."

Descriptive Terms

Cob rollers: A term coined early in the 1900's, meaning a short, roly-poly, thickly built hog.

Race horses: Taller and flatter-muscled hogs.

Blown apart: A hog with good internal body dimension throughout.

Feed efficiency: How much feed it takes for growth to take place.

Daylight: If a pig has this, he or she has nice long legs because you can see daylight underneath.

Coon-footed: A coon-footed hog has flatter, more flexible foot that will tolerate concrete or hard surfaces.

Pig parlor: A large, aluminum-roofed barn divided into small stalls with sloping concrete floors, where sows are farrowed, piglets are kept in a nursery, and feeder pigs are raised in "finishing pens"-everything under one roof.

Herd: The size of a herd of swine is usually referred to by the number of breeding sows.

Well, there ya have it then-all prepared fer proper talk at the next fair ya attend.

Have a good rest of the week and remember, go see a friend or neighbor in need and give em a listen'n ear.

Hope'n ta see youn's in church this week.

Where ever ya are, whatever ya be a do'n "BE /A GOOD ONE!"

Keep on Smile'n

Catch ya later