So you might recall, we traded a goat for some pigs and suddenly we are pig farmers again. This time on purpose.
We have two Gilts and a Barrow. Now before you ask me the way to The Shire, I’ll explain a little further.
What in the World is a Gilt?
A gilt is a young female pig. Colloquially the word gilt is used to refer to a pig that has not had babies or been bred. This name is used whether it’s just a few months old getting close to its first birthday. Technically, however, the term gilt is defined as a female pig that is less than six months old who is capable of breeding and making babies. It’s heard of for a females organs to be surgically or chemically altered which would not make her a Gilt by definition.
What on Earth is a Barrow?
Barrows are boys that have been castrated or otherwise rendered incapable of procreating. This also carries for girls who may be surgically or chemically altered for whatever reason. But generally a barrow is a male pig that has been castrated or rendered incapable of reproducing before he reaches sexual maturity. Castration usually takes place while the pig is very young, at about two or three weeks of age. If a male pig is allowed to become sexually mature and then is castrated, he is called a stag. A barrow is less aggressive than a boar, or intact male pig, and can be kept with other barrows and gilts. He also easier is for humans to handle, and his meat retains a pleasing flavor and aroma, unlike boars, who produce a foul odor that permeates the meat even after butchering.
Ok, a Boar, I’ve Heard Of
Boars are the big boys. They are meant for reproduction and are usually the studs of the pig wallow.
A Glit, a Boar and a Barrow Walk into a Bar
Gilts are generally used for making babies. They eat, they sleep and they reproduce, generally between six and nine months old. Once they have babies they graduate to being sows. Gilts that don’t make the cut end up the same way as Barrows, on a plate. They both gain weight quickly and can be slaughtered as soon as four to six months of age for pork chops, or as late as 8 to 10 months old for bacon.
Yum, Bacon ….
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