People use different terms to call a female animal. For example, a female chicken is called a hen, female cattle is called a cow or a heifer, a female horse is a mare, and a female sheep is a ewe. So, what do you call a female pig?
This article is going to walk you through different terms that are used to call a female pig based on what life stage they are in.
What do you call a female pig?
As you may know, there are some common words to refer to all kinds of pig regardless of their genders, hence, with no hesitation, you can call a female pig using those terms: a swine, a hog, or a pig.
Also, when pigs are still nursing, and have not weaned yet (normally 14-21 days of life), they are all called piglets, whether they are male or female. And, when they grow bigger, we use specific words to classify them: gilt, sow, farrowing sows, and dry sows.
A young adult female pig is called a gilt if the pig is a virgin or has not farrowed (has never given birth).
A gilt is usually less than a year old because a young female pig is reproductively mature around the age of eight months and farmers will try to make them get pregnant as early as possible to maximize the number of litters which they can produce each year.
When the gilt grows up and it is not until an adult female pig that has farrowed one or more litters of piglets, it is called a sow.
For pig raisers, they divide sows into 2 categories: farrowing sows and dry sows as below:
After giving birth, the sows remain with her piglets to feed her babies with her milk until they are weaned. This period lasts about 2 to 4 weeks depending on the breeding program of each farm. Adult female pigs from farrowing until weaning is called a farrowing sow.
After that, adult female pigs will go through the weaning period. It is when they are separated from her piglets so that their udders can become normal and they will be ready for another reproduction period. And adult female pigs from weaning until farrowing are called a dry sow. Do you know why people call them ‘dry’? This is because they are not producing milk to suckle their piglets anymore.
And the circle repeats when the dry sow are returned for mating or artificial insemination (AI) to repeat the reproduction cycle or they are sent away for slaughter.
Now, you know how to call a female pig. Is it interesting when female pigs are called using different terms like humans and other animals? Next time, when you see a female pig, try to recognize what life stage they are in and call them with a correct term like a professional farmer, and people around you can see how knowledgeable you are.