Gilt crates and their importance

Have you heard of Gilt crates?… sit tight as we take you through a knowledgeable journey?

What is a Gilt? 

A gilt is a young female pig, it is used to refer to a pig that has not had babies or been bred. Technically the word ‘gilt’ is defined as a female pig that is less than six months old and is capable of breeding and making babies.

Gilt is generally used for making babies. They sleep, eat and reproduce generally between six and nine months old, once they give birth they become Sows.

A gilt that doesn’t reproduce or isn’t selected for reproduction ends up on a plate being spiced and ready to be eaten. They gain weight quickly just like the barrows and could be slaughtered for pork as young as four to six months or late as eight to ten months old for bacon.

what is a Barrow?

A barrow is a male pig castrated before puberty. The castration usually takes place while the pig is very young, at about two or three weeks of age. Barrows are kept primarily for meat production.

A Gilt crate

A Gilt crate is also known as a gestation crate. A gilt crate is metal crates within a pen where young female pigs are placed prior to the time they will be giving birth. The gilt/gestation crates prevent the gilt from turning around and only allow them to move a little forward and backward. The gilts might not have the right amount of food they need daily when placed in groups

Once a gilt gives birth it graduates to being a sow, a sow weighs about 200-250kg and a piglet weighs about 2-3kilos. The sow could accidentally step on the piglet killing it or causing injury to it, so the bars of the crate allows the sow to stand up and laydown reducing the risk of harming the piglets.

The Gilt crate comprises:

  1. Piglet fence
  2. Gilt locating stall
  3. Feeder through for gilts

Importance of gilt/gestation crate

  1. The gilt/gestation crate helps reduce the death rate/mortality.
  2. It makes it possible for farmers to help gilts while they are attaining maturity.
  3. It protects the gilts from external dangers.
  4. It makes it easier for farmers to give the type of feed and the amount of feed each gilt needs.

What is the purpose of a gilt crate?

  1. It helps to ensure the free movement of the gilts.
  2. It ensures gilt comfort, maintenance, and freedom from injury.
  3. Reduction in mortality rate.

We learned from the article that a gilt crate is also called a gestation crate. A gilt becomes a sow after giving birth and a gilt crate is important for both the sow and piglets because it reduces mortality of the piglets and gives the sow a more comfortable environment to practice natural behavioral patterns.

We’re sure you’ve learned a lot, stay glued to our blog for more educative articles. Take care