I’ve mentioned before that it’s my curse to do a whole heap of research so I know exactly what I’m talking about for something that may just be an incidental prop.
It’s based on the whole ‘write what you know’ standard.
If I want to write about, for example, a pig farm, even if it’s only in one scene, I have to do some research to find out how to breed pigs, when piglets are born, how many in a litter, and then due to a character’s throwaway line I had to research why humans don’t typically consume pig’s milk.
I found out some fascinating stuff:
- Pig’s milk is higher in fat and more watery than cow’s milk, but much harder to milk.
- Cows get oxcytocin for about 4 minutes once they start being milked, which helps prolong the milking: pigs only get 15 seconds, enough to get the piglet suckling.
- Cows can also get pregnant while lactating, while pigs cannot.
I don’t mention those above facts in the story, but it sure answered my question of why don’t human consume pig’s milk, and helped my understanding of the subject. Now I can confidently write about why humans don’t consume pig milk!