Pigs may not stand out in a crowd but they are one of the most social and intelligent animals on the farm. Like other animals, pigs also have their own lexicon and terminology. Depending on their ages, pig groups’ names are different. Hence, naturally, the question arises: “What is a group of pigs called?” This article will help you figure out the most commonly used words and phrases.
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Different names of domestic pigs
Archaeological evidence suggests that pigs were some of the first animals domesticated in China and Turkey up to 9000 years ago. The size and weight of pigs normally depend on their breed. Pigs often weigh from 300 to 700 lbs, but domestic pigs are usually bred to be heavier. There are numerous types of pigs around the world, and all of them enjoy wallowing in mud to balance body temperature and deter parasites.
In general, you can use boar, hog, swine, or simply pig to call domestic pigs when there is no need to distinguish it from other pigs. However, these names have small distinctions.
- Boar: an uncastrated male domestic pig, also related to a male or female wild pig.
- Hog: a fully-grown domestic specimen, about or over 120 lbs live weight. A hog in New York called “Big Worm” achieved a record of the world’s biggest pig. He reached prodigious proportions, resulting in the 1,600 lbs estimate when he died in 2009.
- Swine: another name for a pig
Below are different terms about pigs that are most commonly seen:
- A boneen (Ireland), a piglet: a very young pig
- A far: a litter of piglets
- A weaner, a shoat: a pig that has just been weaned (weaning can take place when piglets are between 5 and 10 weeks of age)
- A queen: a female pig that has never been mated
- A cow or sow: a mature female swine that has had its first litter
- A gilt: a female pig that has never been pregnant or is pregnant for the first time
- A barrow: a castrated male swine
Pigs are reared principally for food. People often base on the pig’s weight or age to determine what meat they want (pork, bacon, etc.). According to this classification, here come other names of pigs.
- A porker: a pig being fattened for pork chop, will be slaughtered at about 50 – 55 kg (110 – 121 lbs), usually from 4 to 6 months of age depending on breed.
- A cutter: a pig weighs between pork and bacon, i.e from 56 – 65kg (123 – 143 Ibs), usually raised from 6 to 8 months to produce larger joints.
- A baconer: a pig being raised for bacon rather than pork, weight 66 – 85kg (146 – 187 Ibs), at about 8 – 10 months of age.
What is a group of pigs called?
Normally, a group of pigs is called a passel, a team, or a sounder. However, different age groups have different names.
- A group of young pigs is called a drove or a drift.
- A group of hogs is called a passel or team.
- A group of swine is called a sounder.
- A group of boars is called a singular.
Other unique terms of pigs
This is a list of other terms of pigs that you may or may not have heard of:
- Parcel/ sounder: the collective noun for pigs
- Savaging: the behavior that gilts or sows attack their piglets after birth. It is shown that 0.3% of piglets were killed in farrowing sows and gilts.
- Swineherd: a person who raises pigs as livestock
Read our related article, What is a Flock of Quail Called? Here are the common names for groups of quail, along with a video showing a peek into the life of wild quail!
The life cycle of a commercial pig
Pigs are a great source of meat. On average, it takes about 6 months for a hog to reach a market weight of 280 lbs. The pace of pork production is very fast and always changing rapidly, including 4 stages:
- Gestation: the pregnancy phase, often happens in 120 days.
- Farrowing: the period of a sow or a gilt giving birth, one sow or gilt usually has around 36 piglets per year.
- Nursery: after three weeks, the piglets will be weaned and placed in a nursery, about 14lbs weight. The piglets are fed a soybean or cornmeal diet until they grow to 50-60 lbs weight.
- Growing and finishing: the pigs will spend around 115-120 days in the finishing barn. After reaching a final weight of 280 lbs, they are ready to be marketed.
Pigs are noticeable in animal group names because there are a great number of terms to call them. After reading this article, I hope you will not get frustrated with what a group of pigs called anymore.