AI (Artificial Insemination) - The process of introducing semen into a sow or gilt's reproductive system using tools and techniques, rather than natural mating.
Automatic feeder - A mechanized piece of equipment that dispenses feed to pigs at predetermined intervals or in response to the animals' consumption, ensuring a consistent supply of fresh feed.
Backfat - The layer of fat located on the back of a pig, used as an indicator of the animal's overall body fat content and carcass quality.
Barrow - A young male pig that has been castrated.
Biosecurity - A set of practices and protocols designed to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases within a pig farm.
Boar - An uncastrated adult male pig, used for breeding purposes.
Boar effect - The phenomenon of exposure to mature male pigs causing early puberty in female pigs.
Breeding herd - A group of pigs, including sows, gilts, and boars, maintained for producing piglets.
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.
Castration - The surgical removal of the testicles from a male pig, typically performed to reduce aggressive behavior and improve meat quality.
Cervix - Part of a female pig's reproductive organs, located near the uterus.
Colostrum - The first milk produced by a sow after farrowing, rich in antibodies and essential nutrients for newborn piglets.
Confinement system - An intensive pig farming method where pigs are raised in enclosed structures, such as barns or pens, to improve environmental control and production efficiency.
Continuous farrowing - Producing litters of pigs on a continual basis so new litters are constantly being produced.
Creep feeding - Providing supplemental feed to piglets while they are still nursing from their mother.
Crossbreeding - The mating of pigs from different breeds or genetic lines to produce offspring with desired traits or improved performance.
Culling: - The process of removing underperforming, sick, or older animals from the breeding herd to maintain overall herd health and productivity.
Drinkers - Equipment designed to provide clean water to pigs, including nipple drinkers, bowl drinkers, and troughs.
Dry sow - A non-lactating sow that is not currently nursing piglets.
Dystocia - The abnormal birth of a piglet, or a difficult labor for a female pig.
Ear notching - A method of identification in which small notches are made in a pig's ear, according to a specific numbering system.
Electronic sow feeder (ESF) - A feeding equipment that uses electronic identification and portion control to provide individualized feed rations to each sow in a group housing setting.
Estrus - The period when a female pig is sexually receptive and ready to be bred, also known as "heat."
Enzootic pneumonia - A common respiratory disease in pigs caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, which can impact growth and feed efficiency.
Farrowing - The process of a sow giving birth to piglets.
Farrowing crate - A specialized pen designed to protect piglets during the first few weeks of life by minimizing the risk of being crushed by the sow.
Farrow to finish operation - A business that breeds pigs, raises them until they are ready to be slaughtered, and then sells them for profit.
Feeder pig - A weaned piglet that has reached a certain weight (usually around 40-60 pounds) and is ready to be placed in a finishing barn to be raised for meat production.
Feed bin - A large piece of equipment used to store bulk feed on the farm, often featuring an auger system for easy distribution.
Feed cart - A wheeled piece of equipment used to transport and dispense feed to pigs in their pens.
Feed conversion ratio (FCR) - A measurement of feed efficiency, calculated as the amount of feed consumed by an animal divided by the weight gained.
Feed intake - The total amount of feed consumed by a pig during a specific period of time, usually measured in pounds or kilograms.
Feed mill - An equipment or facility that produces custom feed blends for pigs, grinding, mixing, and pelleting ingredients according to specific nutritional requirements.
Feedstuff - Any material used as an ingredient in animal feed, such as grains, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, to meet the nutritional requirements of pigs at various stages of production.
Floor feeding - A method of providing feed to pigs by spreading it directly on the floor or ground, as opposed to using feeders or troughs.
Finishing - The phase of pig production where pigs are fed to reach market weight, typically around 240-280 pounds.
Finishing barn - A specialized barn where feeder pigs are raised until they reach market weight.
Genetic selection - The process of choosing animals with specific traits or performance characteristics for breeding, in order to improve the overall quality and productivity of the herd.
Gestation - The period of pregnancy in a sow, lasting approximately 114 days.
Gilt - A young female pig that has not yet given birth to a litter of piglets.
Group housing - A housing system where pigs are kept together in larger groups, allowing for social interactions and more natural behaviors, compared to individual stalls or pens.
Grower - A pig that is in the phase between weaning and finishing, typically weighing between 40 and 120 pounds.
Gilt pool - A group of gilts that are raised together to be used as replacement sows in the breeding herd.
Hand mating - A method of identification in which small notches are made in a pig's ear, according to a specific numbering system.
Heat stress - A condition that occurs when pigs are exposed to high temperatures and humidity, which can lead to reduced feed intake, growth rates, and reproductive performance.
Hog - A growing or aging pig.
Herd health plan - A comprehensive strategy for maintaining and improving the overall health and welfare of pigs on a farm, including vaccination schedules, biosecurity measures, and disease monitoring.
Immunocastration - A non-surgical alternative to castration, involving the use of a vaccine to suppress testicular function and reduce aggressive behavior and boar taint in male pigs.
Induced farrowing - The use of hormonal treatments to induce labor in sows at a specific time, allowing for better management and scheduling of farrowing.
Jowl - The lower part of a pig's cheek, often used as a source of fat in processed pork products.
Kune Kune - A small breed of domestic pig originating from New Zealand, known for its friendly and docile nature, making it a popular choice for small-scale farms and hobby breeders.
Lactation - The period during which a sow produces milk to feed her piglets, typically lasting 3-4 weeks after farrowing.
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.
Litter - A group of piglets born from the same sow during a single farrowing.
Lagoon - A large, outdoor manure storage structure, which allows for natural decomposition and treatment of pig waste before it is applied to fields as fertilizer.
Market weight - An acceptable weight at which a pig can be sold.
Manure scraper - A mechanical piece of equipment used to remove solid manure from pig pens or alleyways, helping to maintain cleanliness and reduce disease risk.
Manure spreader - A piece of equipment used to distribute pig manure evenly over fields as fertilizer, improving soil fertility and crop production.
Meat breeds - Types or breeds of pigs designed specifically for meat or human consumption.
Mist cooling system - A piece of equipment used to cool pigs in hot climates by spraying a fine mist of water into the air, reducing ambient temperatures and improving animal comfort.
Mortality rate - The percentage of pigs that die within a specific period, often used as an indicator of overall herd health and management practices.
Mycoplasma - A group of bacteria that can cause respiratory and reproductive issues in pigs.
Nutrient management plan - A strategy for the responsible and efficient use of manure and other fertilizers on a farm, aimed at minimizing nutrient runoff and protecting water quality.
Neonatal mortality - The death of piglets within the first few days of life, often due to factors such as low birth weight, crushing by the sow, or insufficient colostrum intake.
Non-productive sow days - Any period of time when a mature female pig is not either carrying a litter or suckling piglets.
Nursery - A specialized barn for housing weaned piglets, providing a controlled environment for optimal growth and health.
Offal - The internal organs and other non-meat byproducts of a slaughtered pig, such as the liver, heart, and intestines, which can be processed into various food items or animal feed ingredients.
Parity - The number of litters a sow has produced in her lifetime, with higher parity sows often being more productive and experienced mothers.
Parturition - The act of giving birth in pigs, also known as farrowing.
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.
Piglet - A young pig, typically from birth until weaning.
Pigs per litter - The average number of piglets born alive in a single farrowing.
Porcine - Relating to or resembling pigs.
Pork producer - A farmer or breeder who sells pigs for pork production.
Power washer - A high-pressure water spray equipment used for cleaning pig housing and equipment, ensuring a hygienic environment and reducing disease risk.
Pig flow - The movement and organization of pigs through various stages of production, including breeding, gestation, farrowing, nursery, growing, and finishing.
Quarantine - The practice of isolating new or sick pigs from the rest of the herd for a specified period of time to prevent the spread of diseases or infections.
Ration - A specific combination of feed ingredients designed to meet the nutritional needs of pigs at various stages of production.
Replacement gilt - A young female pig selected to join the breeding herd, replacing older or less productive sows.
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.
Slaughter weight - The weight at which pigs are typically harvested for meat production, usually around 240-280 pounds.
Snout - The projecting nose and mouth of a pig.
Sow - A female pig that has given birth to at least one litter of piglets.
Sorting gate - A mechanical or electronic piece of equipment used to separate pigs based on specific criteria, such as weight or gender, for targeted management and marketing.
Swine - A term used to refer to pigs in general.
Sow stall (gestation stall) - An individual enclosure for housing pregnant sows, designed to minimize aggression and competition for resources, while providing a controlled environment for monitoring and managing their health and nutrition.
Tail docking - The practice of shortening a pig's tail, typically to prevent tail biting and promote overall herd health.
Temperature controller - A piece of equipment that monitors and regulates the ambient temperature within pig housing, ensuring optimal comfort and growth conditions for the animals.
Tusk - A long, sharp tooth found in boars, used for defense and rooting.
Toxoplasmosis - A parasitic infection that can be transmitted from pigs to humans, caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.
Vaccination - The administration of a vaccine to pigs to stimulate immunity against specific diseases.
Ventilation system - A system of fans, inlets, and outlets, which are pieces of equipment used to control the flow of air within pig housing, maintaining fresh air, and removing harmful gases, dust, and excess moisture.
Vertical integration - A business model in which a single company controls multiple stages of production, from breeding and raising pigs to processing and marketing the meat products.
Weaner pig - A pig between the age of weaning and when it reaches about 40 pounds in weight.
Weaning - The process of separating piglets from their mother's milk, transitioning them to solid feed.
Weigh scale - A piece of equipment used to accurately measure the weight of pigs, helping to monitor growth, feed efficiency, and market readiness.
Withdrawal period - The required length of time between the administration of a medication to a pig and the slaughter of the animal for human consumption, ensuring that drug residues have cleared from the animal's system.
Yorkshire pig - A popular breed of domestic pig originating from England, known for its large size, white color, and good maternal abilities, making it a common choice for commercial pig production.
Zoonosis - A disease or infection that can be transmitted from animals to humans, sometimes associated with pig farming, such as swine influenza.
For more information:

  • United States Department of Agriculture - Hogs & Pork
  • About U.S. Pig Farms | We Care
  • Penn State Extension | Swine Production and Management

  • This Comprehensive Pig Farming Glossary serves as an essential guide to pig farming terminology and concepts. Staying informed about the latest advancements in technology, management practices, and research is crucial for navigating the dynamic world of pig farming. We encourage you to utilize this glossary as a reference tool to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the industry. By committing to ongoing education, you can help ensure the success of your pig farming ventures and promote sustainable, humane, and efficient practices within the industry.

    About The Author

    About the Author

    Written by Chris Fletcher (aka the Lease Guy). Chris is a senior account executive at Crest Capital, where he manages vendor finance programs for manufacturers and dealers of equipment, vehicles, and software. With a keen interest in the farming and agricultural industry, Chris shares his knowledge through active engagement on Twitter, covering financial topics and current events related to the world of agriculture and finance.

    Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Crest Capital or any other organization. This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional financial, tax, or legal advice. Always consult your tax and legal adviser before making any financial decisions.