Many different terms are used to identify pigs, this is usually done to identify the age, sex, and their final days.
For example, some of the terms used are, board, sucker, sow, piglet, waner, porker, baconer, stag and chopper. When a pig is sold, the most common terms used to describe them are gilt or barrow.
What is a gilt pig? A gilt pig is a young female pig. This term is used for female pigs who have not yet given birth to piglets. The term can be used for pigs as old as a year old (as long as that pig has not yet given birth), but “gilt” is most often used for pigs below the age of six months. A gilt is physically able to give birth; her reproductive organs have not been chemically or surgically altered.
Gilts are raised and kept healthy for them to give birth to piglets. Their caretakers take special care to be sure they will be able to give birth.
Pig caretakers know that gilts are an investment in the herd’s future. A gilt will usually give birth for the first time at six to nine months old, even though her body is physically capable of giving birth before that age.
If a gilt is not selected to give birth, she will be sold for her meat.
When pig caretakers are deciding which gilts will be used for breeding, they use several factors:
Body Structure, a gilt’s body is checked to be sure all her structures are typical in size and function. Pigs’ caretakers who want to ensure future pig herds will be as healthy as possible should not allow their gilts to breed unless their body structures are suitable.
A gilt’s legs should be straight, and her feet and legs should be able to support her while she stands and not fold and tuck under her back end. When the caretaker examines her back, the back should be level.
When the gilt walks, her hips shouldn’t sway. If her hips sway, the back of her body is poorly formed. Since she might pass that deformity to her piglets, a gilt with this problem should not be bred.
A gilt’s muscles should have a good definition. In other words, when you look at the gilt, you should be able to tell where each of her muscles is located quickly, just by looking at her body. The most important areas to check are the shoulder, the loins, and the “hams.” (” Hams” refers to the rear legs of a pig. ) Muscles are the parts of the pig that will become meat. So, if the gilt’s muscles are not good, she will not be able to produce piglets whose meat will be tasty.
Reproductive parts, If a gilt is going to give birth, she has to have functional reproductive parts. The caretaker will want to be sure a gilt has seven good teats on each side of her belly. Be sure the teats are not inverted. Be sure each teat has a functional nipple. (If the teats are not functional, the gilt will not be able to feed her piglets.)
A gilt’s vulva should be shaped like an ice cream cone. The point of “the cone” should point straight to the ground. If the tip of the gilt’s vulva points upward, the gilt has a complication with her reproductive system and is not a good choice for breeding. Femininity and body structure
A gilt should have a “feminine appearance.” If you are unfamiliar with pig breeding, you may wonder what a “feminine pig” will look like. But boars (male pigs) have faces shaped differently than the faces of female pigs.
Therefore, a gilt should not have a face that looks like a boar’s. Her head and neck should not have excess fat. A gilt who will be a good breeder should also have a long and wide body; she needs to look capable of holding and birthing a litter of piglets.
What Is a Maiden Gilt Pig?
A maiden gilt is a gilt that has been transferred into the group of pigs that will be used as breeding pigs. However, the gilt has not yet been mated with a male pig.
And if you ask yourself, when a maiden gilt begins living in the breeding herd, what steps does the pigs’ caretaker take; to be sure the gilt is adequately prepared to be a mother? Here is what is done.
1. The gilts should be vaccinated. The pigs’ veterinarian will know which vaccinations are essential, but vaccination will protect the gilt’s health and her future piglets.
2. Nutrition and Body Development – Special “gestation” feeds provide extra vitamins and minerals to prepare the gilts’ bodies for mating, pregnancy, and birth. Her weight should also be at its ideal level or slightly below the expected level for her age.
What Is a Barrow Pig?
A barrow is a male pig that is castrated before it reaches the age of puberty. Barrows are raised and sold for their meat.
They gain weight quite fast and are usually butchered when they are six months old for pork and eight to ten months for bacon.
What Is the Difference Between a Sow and a Gilt?
A sow is a name given to a gilt; after the first time that she gives birth.
Conclusion: What Is a Gilt Pig?
“Gilt” is a term used to describe a female pig who is physically capable of giving birth but has not yet had a litter of piglets. A maiden gilt is a gilt who lives with other pigs ready to breed but has not yet been mated with a boar.
Gilts should be examined carefully to determine whether they will be used as breeding pigs. Gilts who are not selected for breeding are sold for their meat.
After a gilt gives birth, she is called a sow.