Barrows and Gilts

Barrows and Gilts

Thus far I have not referred to my pigs with proper pig terminology.  Female pigs who have not yet had piglets are called gilts.  Once they become mothers, they are sows.  Male pigs are boars, but castrated males are barrows.  When Nathan delivered my pigs a few months ago, I believe he told me that they were all gilts.  Being something less than familiar with barrow anatomy, it never occurred to me to question the subtle difference between three of my pigs and the remainder.  Once Trout and Truffle were safely in the trailer, I introduced Nathan to the rest of pigs he’d last seen at the end of May.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: This is Mona.

Nathan: Mona is a boy.

Me: What?

Nathan, pointing to the middle of the belly I was rubbing: That’s where a pig’s penis is.

Me:  I’ve been rubbing Mona’s penis all summer.

Well, it’s more like I was rubbing the small protrusion of flesh that conceals a pig’s penis.  I’ve never actually seen one, and, what’s more, I never noticed that three of my pigs were not urinating from the same place as the others.  I’ll have to pay closer attention from now on.  Michelle, upon learning of this remarkable discovery, was not impressed with my embarrassingly small foundation of pig knowledge.  So three of my pigs are barrows, so what?  Mona’s still the sweetest little barrow in Sedgwick, and his belly still needs rubbing.

Just in from interlibrary loan:  Pigs and Humans: 10,000 Years of Interaction.   I’ll be taking notes.



4 Replies to “Barrows and Gilts”

  1. I, um, am not sure what to say. Although we once had a kitten we called Sally, who turned out to be Salvatore, so who am I to talk? Like Mona, Sally was just as sweet and lovable after we learned the truth. It was all the same to him.

  2. Barrows and gilts, indeed. What a treat to meet Mona, and the rest of the Boys and Girls….12, to be exact. The jury is still out, Michael. Just saying…

  3. Michael, as usual you make us all proud. The rest of us can only aspire to be so post-gender in such an uncomplicated way.

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