August 26th, 2010

haiku impossible

Poisoning pigs in 1458

Setting: England, 1458.

This is actually for an on-line RPG, but I'd still like to get things right in so far as I can.
My character keeps pigs. A new arrival in town also keeps pigs, but so far knows very little about how to do so. My character sees her as a rival, and while apparently staying friendly and helpful, wants to give her some advice on pig-keeping that will actually be to the detriment of her rival's swine - not out-right killing them, but making them less likely to thrive.

My original thought was advising her to feed them something mildly toxic, but a bit of research suggests that pigs are quite difficult to poison - they refuse to eat most things that are bad for them. Ragwort (too well-known), bracken (they won't eat it), hemlock (ditto). There was mention of potatoes and tomatoes, but this is 1458.

Googled: pigs, poison, herbs, toxic, feed, food, "what can pigs eat", "-guinea" (so as not to be flooded with advice on a very different animal), many combinations of the above.
Checked tags in this community for poisoning advice, found nothing relating to pigs.

Good plot would be for the advice to be taken, the pigs to sicken slightly as a result, and then the poor victim of my nasty character to find the original notes on pig-keeping being referred to, and notice that the word "not" had been missed out of a transcription. No, this villain will not get away with it.

So, what can I do to those pigs? Is poisoning the right way to go, or should I be looking for something else?

Thanks, everyone, there's some great ideas and links there. I'll see what the other players involved think looks like most fun.