Pig farming has been a human practice for centuries. Breeding pigs and raising them on a farm can be a very profitable business, if you understand the proper terminology, as well as the new technology used to breed them. Because of the strict regulations that govern selling pigs today, knowledge of pig-farming vocabulary is an essential ingredient to success in breeding and raising pigs. Understanding how pigs mate, how to feed them properly, and how to take care of them is a must when breeding them and getting them prepped for market resale.
Barrow: A young male pig that has been castrated.
Boar: An uncastrated male pig. Also, a wild pig that shares ancestors with the domesticated hog.
Boar effect: The phenomenon of exposure to mature male pigs causing early puberty in female pigs.
Breeding herd: A herd or group of pigs used solely for breeding.
Breeding soundness evaluation: A number of tests or an evaluation used to determine a male pig's ability to breed.
Bulbourethral glands: Small glands found in the reproductive organs of male pigs.
Cervix: Part of a female pig's reproductive organs, located near the uterus.
Continuous farrowing: Producing litters of pigs on a continual basis so new litters are constantly being produced.
Ductus deferens: A duct in a male pig's reproductive organs that transports sperm through the penis and into the female pig's vagina.
Dystocia: The abnormal birth of a piglet, or a difficult labor for a female pig.
Epididymis: Part of a male pig's reproductive system that is a tube attached to the testicle.
Estrus: The state of being in heat, in a female pig.
Evaporative cooling: The use of water and evaporation reduce the heat in a livestock building or structure.
Farrowing: The process of giving birth to piglets.
Farrowing operation: A business that breeds pigs and then sells them to another business, which will raise them to market size.
Farrow to finish operation: A business that breeds pigs, raises them until they are ready to be slaughtered, and then sells them for profit.
Feed conversion efficiency: A measurement of the efficiency of a pig's ability to convert feed into muscle or body mass.
Feeder pig operation: See "Farrowing operation."
Finisher pig: The phase between a pig's birth and the time when it is ready to go to market.
Finishing operation: A business that purchases larger pigs at auction or at market and feeds them to bring them to a greater weight for resale.
Flushing: The process of cleaning a pig, or flushing its nasal cavities with pressurized water.
Foster: An individual pig that is available for adoption or sale.
Gilt: A small female pig no older than 6 months.
Grower pig: A pig that is between the young stage and the market stage.
Hand mating: The process of exposing one female pig to a boar in a small enclosed space for the purpose of breeding.
Hog: A growing or aging pig.
Labia: An external part of a female pig's genitalia.
Limit feeding: The practice of feeding pigs a set amount of feed at certain times of the day, rather than allowing them to feed at will.
Lochia: A discharge from a female pig after it gives birth.
Market weight: An acceptable weight at which a pig can be sold.
Mating: The process of copulation for reproduction.
Meat breeds: Types or breeds of pigs designed specifically for meat or human consumption.
Mother breeds: Breeds of female pigs intended to mother several litters of pigs throughout their lifespan.
Non-productive sow days: Any period of time when a mature female pig is not either carrying a litter or suckling piglets.
Ovaries: The eggs- or ovum-producing organ of a female pig.
Parturition: The process of a female pig delivering piglets, from the first stage of labor until birth.
Penis: One of a male pig's reproductive organs.
Pen mating: The process of exposing several female pigs to a boar inside an enclosed area, usually a pig pen, for the purpose of breeding.
Periodic farrowing: The process of producing piglets on a smaller scale, usually twice per year.
Pig: A hog, a boar, swine; a mammal. Especially, immature swine.
Pig constipation: A situation in which a pig has a difficult time eliminating waste, or is unable to eliminate waste.
Polyestrous: Description of the condition in female mammals (such as pigs) of having several estrus cycles per year.
Pork producer: A farmer or breeder who sells pigs for pork production.
Prepuce: A piece of skin that surrounds a pig's genitalia.
Prostate: A gland within a male pig's reproductive system.
Puberty: The period of a pig's life during which it reaches sexual maturity.
Segregated early weaning: The removal of piglets from their mother between the ages of 4 and 10 days, to help prevent the spread of disease.
Service: The deposit of sperm into a female pig's cervix.
Shoat: A growing pig (archaic term).
Sow: An adult female pig.
Standing heat: The stance a female pig assumes when it is ready for service or breeding.
Teats: The milk-excreting nipples of a female sow, used to feed piglets.
Testes: One of a male pig's reproductive organs or glands.
Uterus: Part of a female pig's reproductive system, where sperm enters for pregnancy.
Vagina: One of a female pig's reproductive organs.
Vesicular glands: Glands located in a male pig's reproductive system that occupy a large area inside the pelvis.
Weaner pig: A pig between the age of weaning and when it reaches about 40 pounds in weight.