Quiz about Porcine Phraseology and Nomenclature
Quiz about Porcine Phraseology and Nomenclature

Porcine Phraseology and Nomenclature Quiz

The pig is one of man's major achievements in the domestication of animals. However the nomenclature of pigs is numerous, at times duplicative and sometimes ambiguous. This quiz attempts to address this particular issue.

A matching quiz by 1nn1. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
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Quiz #
Oct 23 22
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Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. Mature male pig  
2. Pigs collectively or generally   
3. Domestic swine, fully-grown   
4. Castrated male swine  
5. Young pig, weaned  
6. Female pig (never been mated)  
7. Female pig (never been pregnant or first time pregnant)  
8. Mature female swine  
9. Collective noun for pigs  
Swine (can be singular or plural)
10. Litter of piglets  

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Mature male pig

Answer: Boar

The pig (Sus domesticus) is often called a swine or hog or even a domestic pig when distinguished from other members of the genus sus. The pig is often considered to be a subspecies of the wild or European boar (Sus scofa)., hence the scientific name for the pig was established by Carl Linnaeus as Sus scrofa domesticus. However, in 1777, Johann Erxleben classified the domestic pig as a separate species Sus domesticus. Both names exist today. It is considered a separate species by American Society of Mammalogists but not the Mammalogical Society of Japan.

A male pig is known as a boar when sexually mature.
2. Pigs collectively or generally

Answer: Swine (can be singular or plural)

Swine as a term comes from the old English "swin" via proto-Germanic "sweina" meaning pig , boar or hog. "Pig" is Middle English from the late 11th century but its etymology is unknown. However, strictly speaking the term refers to a small pig, what we, today, would call a piglet. Over time the "smallness" connotation has been lost and it now refers to any size of the domestic pig.

Swine is uncommonly used to describe pigs or hogs in contemporaneous times perhaps because of the pejorative connotations.

The pig's head and body length ranges from 1.0 to 1.8 m (3 to 6 ft), and adult pigs weigh between 50 and 350 kg (110 and 770 lb) though farmed animals bred for meat can weigh considerably more. The pig has a characteristic large head, with an elongated snout. This organ is fortified with a unique pre-nasal bone The snout is used to dig into the soil to find food and its sense of smell is very acute. Pigs have bristled sparsely-distributed hair covering their skin. Four hoofed toes are on each foot, with the two larger central toes bearing nearly all the weight, While they possess sweat glands, they are not used for cooling, nor do pigs pant. They achieve cooling by wallowing and subsequent evaporative cooling.

Rooting is instinctive in pigs and, as a behaviour, is similar to a cat kneading. Often pigs will forage by digging into the ground with their snout. Truffle hunting is best achieved with a pig who can forage.
3. Domestic swine, fully-grown

Answer: Hog

The word hog can trace its origin back to the 14th century where is meant "swine reared for slaughter" and a "young sheep before the first shearing" and for a "horse older than one year" . This is suggestive of the age of an animal not the animal itself that is connected to hog. However when the name was attributed to the wild boar in the 15th century, this was the start of it being attributed only to pigs, the attribution to other animals lost in posterity.

In contemporaneous times, in American English, hog is any type of domestic pig and is used as a synonym for pig. In British English, it is used much less frequently and usually refers to a hog as a castrated large pig.
4. Castrated male swine

Answer: Barrow

A barrow is a male pig that has been castrated before it reaches sexual maturity. A stag is a male pig that has been castrated after sexual maturity. The etymology of 'barrow' in this context is unknown as barrow comes the Old English "bearwe" meaning "basket" via "beran", meaning to bear.

If a male is to be used for meat production, it must be neutered before sexual maturity as stags and boar meat will contain "boar taint" which is due to two compounds produced by the older animal and stored in the animal's fat. These compounds are androsterone and skatole. The former is a steroid produced by the testes and converted into a pheromone in the salivary glands. Its purpose is to attract females for the purpose of reproduction. Skatole, or 3-methylindole, is a foul-smelling constituent of mammalian faeces produced by gut bacteria in the porcine digestive tract. It is absorbed from the intestine into the enteric blood stream, and may be excreted, or, more likely absorbed into adipose tissue fat where it is likely to cause boar taint .
5. Young pig, weaned

Answer: Shoat

A shoat is a weaned piglet, though its use appears more in the American lexicon than the British. The word however is a British term first used in the 15th century. Boneen is an Irish word that is equivalent to shoat.

In British and Antipodean animal husbandry, the term piglet appears to be used to describe small young pigs whether they are weaned or not. Piglets are 1-1.5kg / 2-3 lbs at birth.

After weaning, piglets are taken to a nursery and are housed with piglets from other non-related litters and are fed a corn/soybean meal diet, eating 1-2kg / 1.4 to 4 lbs. per day.

They live for up to 60 days in the nursery environment before being kept for a further42-56 days until they grow to 22-27kg /50 to 60 lbs.
6. Female pig (never been mated)

Answer: Queen

There are not many queens in a family group of pigs as female pigs reach sexual maturity in 3-9 months. They then come into oestrus every 18-24 days unless they are successfully bred. When breeding, it is important to take the female to the male as this is what occurs in the wild.
There is archaeological evidence that European pigs bore one litter per year in the 15th century. By the nineteenth century European pigs were routinely bearing two litters per year. When or how this change occurred is unclear.
7. Female pig (never been pregnant or first time pregnant)

Answer: Gilt

A gilt has not yet borne piglets though she can be pregnant for the first time and still be a gilt. Gilts are bred for the first time somewhere between 170 and 220 days of age. Gestation is about 114 days or 16 weeks.

A female pig will make a nest to give birth. She creates a depression in the ground and lines the hole with twigs and leaves. She then gives birth in a lying position, This is different from other artiodactyls (sheep, goats and cattle), These animals give birth in a standing position.
8. Mature female swine

Answer: Sow

Once a gilt has delivered her first piglets she is called a sow. On a dedicated pig farm, sows and pregnant gilts are moved to a specific barn where they give birth to 12 or 13 pigs per litter. They are nursed until weaned at 21 days. Nursing occurs roughly every 45-60 minutes. Piglets compete for teat position and tend to use the same teat when this hierarchy has been settled soon after the piglets are born.
9. Collective noun for pigs

Answer: Drove

Groups of pigs have many collective nouns, more than most animals.

A group of pigs can be a team, a drove, a drift, or a herd. Herd is probably the most popular term. Drove and drift are related to herding.

If pigs are described as swine, then the correct collective noun is sounder which is also used to describe a group of wild pigs. A group of boars is called a singular. A group of tame pigs is called a trip.
10. Litter of piglets

Answer: Farrow

A group of piglets is called a passel, a litter or a farrow. the latter perhaps because the process of birthing pigs is farrowing. Passel is defined as 'a large number or amount' though it is not clear what constitutes a large number and is not used very often A litter is the most common collective noun.

After a nursery piglets are moved to a finishing barn to accommodate their continued growth where they will remain until they are taken to the market. At this phase, pigs consume 3-5 kg /6 to 10 lbs. of feed daily. which consists of corn and soybean meal. At about 17-20 weeks the pigs weigh about 125 kg / 280 lbs. and are then market ready.
Source: Author 1nn1

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