Swine

There are about 3,000 pork farmers across the state. Like all livestock farmers, pork farmers care about the welfare of the animals they are raising. With the help of agriculture scientists, farmers are always working to improve their methods. Farmers want their animals to be well taken care of. This ensures that the meat we eat is safe and healthy.

  • Swine Vocabulary:

    • Barrow: neutered male pig that is not used for breeding.
    • Boar: a male pig used for breeding.
    • Farrow: to give birth to piglets.
    • Farrow-to-Finish: a building system that contains all production phases, from breeding to gestation to farrowing to nursery to grow-finishing to market.
    • Gilt: young female that has not given birth to piglets.
    • Litter: a group of piglets born at the same time. Litter sizes are usually 8-12 piglets.
    • Pig: term associated with young, immature swine.
    • Piglet: a baby pig.
    • Pork: the meat that comes from pigs. Pork chops, bacon, ham, sausage and pork roast are some examples of pork.
    • Sow: female that has produced at least one litter of piglets.
    • Wean: when a piglet is big enough to eat on its own and doesn’t nurse from the sow anymore.

    Source: Illinois AITC: Terra Nove Readers.

  • Swine Facts

    • Gestation period for hogs is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.
    • An average litter has between 8-12 piglets.
    • Pigs do not have sweat glands.
    • Most farmers keep their hogs indoors. Because pigs have hair and not fur or wool, pigs are unable to stay warm on their own. Pigs are also unable to cool themselves because they lack sweat glands.
    • Pork is the meat that comes from a pig.
    • Pigs also contribute products such as insulin, valves for human hearts, suede for clothing and shoes, gelatin, synthetic rubber, auto antifreeze, plastics, adhesives and fertilizer.
    • Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world.
    • Pigs are one of the few animals that won’t overeat. They eat to a calorie level and then stop eating.
  • Indiana Grown: Swine & Pork

    • Indiana Pork is led by its 3,000 pork farmers across the state.
    • Indiana ranks fifth in the United States for pork farming.
    • Indiana pork farmers raised 8.5 million pigs in 2013.
    • Indiana pork farmers contribute more than $3 billion each year to Indiana's economy.
    • Indiana pork farming employs more than 13,000 Hoosiers.
    • Indiana pork farmers spend more than $600 million in local, rural economies each year.
    • Indiana pigs are the leading consumer of Indiana grain - more than $300 million worth each year.
    • Indiana pork farmers deliver the annual pork needs of every man, woman and child in Indiana...plus enough for 20 million more people around the world!

    Source: Indiana Pork

  • Questions & Answers:

    Q: Are pigs pink?
    A: No, pigs are actually white, black, brown or red.

    Q: Why aren't the tails curly?
    A: The tails must be docked for safety reasons. Young pigs will bite each others tails.

    Source: National Swine Registry.

Common Breeds

Duroc

Duroc pig is an older breed of American domestic pig that forms the basis for many mixed-breed commercial hogs.

Hampshire

Hampshire pig is a domestic swine breed characterized by erect ears and a black body with a whitish band around the middle, covering the front legs.

Landrace

Landrace pig is a medium to large breed of domestic pig, white in colour, with long bodies, fine hair, long snouts, and heavy, drooping ears.

Yorshire

Yorshire pig is light pink in color, with erect ears, and the most recorded swine breed in the United States.

For more photos and info on the various breeds of swine: National Swine Registry