Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom logo AgMag logo

Agriculture Helping you every day

Growing Pork

Pigs grow really fast. They are born weighing about 3 pounds. When they reach 21 days old, they are weaned off of mother’s milk and weigh about 15 pounds. Six months later, they weigh approximately 280 pounds.

Most pigs in Minnesota are raised in barns. This is to keep them safe from the weather and predators. To grow properly, pigs need a clean place to sleep, fresh water, and a healthy diet that consists of corn, soybeans, and vitamin and minerals.  If you have read about beef and dairy cattle, you learned that a cow’s stomach has four compartments, which allows it to digest things humans cannot. But a pig’s digestive system is more like a human’s. Like humans, pigs cannot eat hay and grass because they cannot digest it. Veterinarians (animal doctors) work with pig farmers to make sure their pigs are healthy and receive proper care.  

We talk about pigs, but pigs have different names for different stages of life:

Piglet: Baby pig

Gilt: Young female pig  

Sow: Female pig that has given birth

Boar: Male pig that can impregnate a female pig

Barrow: Male pig used only for meat