The Breeding Barn

Helping Pigs Breed

Nowadays, most farmers breed female pigs by artificial insemination (A.I.), a technique that does not require direct contact with a boar (male pig). This helps to produce healthier litters and prevent injury.

Boars can be quite hostile and need to be penned individually, but they are kept on the farm to help stimulate and detect estrus (or heat) in female pigs.

Until they have their first litter, young female pigs are called gilts. Once they give birth, gilts are called sows. Gilts are ready for breeding at 6-7 months of age. Signs of heat, which usually last 1-3 days, indicate a readiness for breeding. If they are not bred during this time, gilts and sows will come back into heat after about 21 days, the length of their estrus cycle.

During the first trimester, pregnant pigs are especially susceptible to miscarriage. To provide them with privacy and protection, farmers usually keep gilts and sows in individual pens within the breeding barn for 4-5 weeks. During this time, farmers perform pregnancy tests using ultrasound equipment. If the female pigs are not pregnant, they stay in the breeding barn. If they are pregnant, they are moved to the gestation barn.

Watch this short video to see what happens in a breeding barn!


Code of Practice for the care and managing of pigs Document

Did you know?

Farmers follow several standards of animal care related to handling, feeding, air quality, transportation and more. The quality of care is essential to pigs’ health and well-being.


Following high standards of care:

Manitoba Pork represents 624 Manitoba hog farms

Manitoba Pork

Manitoba Pork’s office at 28 Terracon Place is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, closed from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lunch. As much as possible, please contact by emailing or phoning in requests for information, ear tags, and other resources. Contact us by phone, fax, email or regular mail.

Tel: 204-237-7447
Fax: 204-237-9831
24-hour Emergency Contact Line: 1-833-310-0108

28 Terracon Place
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R2J 4G7