So what is the difference in names? Like all species, there are specific names for specific points in an animal’s life. But, because many do not know the specific difference, we tend to use names interchangeably. For example, the basic difference between a pig and a hog is age and size. Personally, I tend to call my pigs…pigs, but that is not accurate for every stage of their life. The scientific family for swine is “Porcine”. You will see this term on medications intended for pigs.
Terminology in the Market Barn -
Swine – A generic term for all pigs, hogs, etc.
Pig – A young swine of either sex weighing less than 120 pounds
Hog – An older swine, usually over about 120 pounds live weight.
Gilt – A young female swine, generally under 12 months of age, who has not yet farrowed.
Barrow – A castrated male swine.
Feeder – A young swine usually between 40 and 70 pounds live weight that is being sold, bought, or held to be fed out to market weight.
Finisher/Shoat – An older swine, usually over 150 pounds live weight; one that is in the finishing stage of its growth, nearing market weight.
Terminology in the Breeding Barn -
Boar – An intact male swine.
Stag – A castrated adult male swine.
Sow – A mature female swine, generally 10+ months of age, who has farrowed at least one litter.
Bred – Pregnant. Used to describe a “Bred Gilt” or “Bred Sow”, depending on her age.
Open – Used to preface the appropriate term to refer to a female swine that is not currently bred.
Piglet – A baby pig age 14-21 days old and still nursing.
Weaner – A young swine at and during the point of weaning.
Farrow – As a noun it refers to a litter of newborn pigs, as a verb it is used to describe the act of giving birth.