Life Cycle of a Market Pig - Pork Checkoff

Life Cycle of a Market Pig

The life cycle of a market pig lasts about 25 to 28 weeks or between six and seven months. They typically weigh 2 to 3 pounds at birth and are nurtured to their market weight of up to 280 pounds.

Gestation (pregnancy)

114 days — (3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)

• Gilts (female pigs) reach maturity and are bred at 170 to 220 days of age.

• After delivering their first litter of pigs, gilts are called sows.

• Gestation (pregnancy) is about 114 days, or 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.

• Piglets weigh 2 to 3 pounds at birth.

Farrowing (birth to weaning)

21 days — (3 weeks)

• Sows and gilts are moved to a farrowing barn when ready to give birth (farrow).

• Usually, a sow or gilt will have 12 to 13 pigs per litter.

• Sows nurse piglets until they are weaned at about 21 days of age.

• Piglets weigh 13 to 15 pounds at weaning.


42 to 56 days — (6 to 8 weeks)

• After weaning, piglets are moved to a nursery or to a wean-to finish barn and are housed with piglets from other litters.

• Specialized temperature controls and ventilation support the newly weaned piglets.

• Piglets are fed a corn/soybean meal diet, eating 1.4 to 4 lbs. per day.

• In this phase, pigs grow to 50 to 60 lbs.

Growing and Finishing

115 to 120 days — (16 to 17 weeks)

• Pigs are moved from the nursery to a finishing barn to accommodate their continued growth. If pigs are in a wean-to-finish barn, they remain there.

• In the grow/finish phase, pigs consume 6 to 10 lbs. of feed daily.

• A diet typically consists of corn and soybean meal, as well as vitamins and minerals to ensure proper health and growth of the pigs.

• As the pigs grow, they are monitored daily to ensure that they are healthy.

• At about six months of age, the pigs weigh about 280 lbs. and are then market ready.

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