Lesson 2: Reproduction

Body condition scores (BCS) are useful for evaluation of nutrition provision for the sow and boar. BCS can also be used to evaluate things such as heating, ventilation and health. Animals with proper nutrition intake that exhibit low BCS are losing weight due to environmental or health reasons. The BCS scale ranges from 1-Emaciated to 5-Obese.

A sow is a female pig that has already had a litter and a gilt is a female pig that has not had a litter. Therefore, a gilt can be a pregnant animal (up until its first litter). Pigs are prolific and a sow can have many litters over the course of her lifetime.

Hog operations differ in their goals and markets. This helps to determine what type of breeding system the producer utilizes. In general, there are two different types of breeding systems, purebred and crossbred.

Farrowing is a term specific to swine that refers to the action of giving birth. Another general term for this is parturition. Farrowing management begins months before piglets are born.

After farrowing there are several procedures that you need to perform on baby pigs. These are navel cord care, castration of males, clipping needle teeth, injecting iron, and tail docking. Although any or all of these procedures could be skipped, there are sound reasons why these procedures are necessary and will benefit the long term welfare of the animal.