Virtual Pig Recess

According to the USDA, there are nearly 77.7 million head of pigs in the United States. A large portion of that number is made up of market hogs, which are pigs that ultimately become pork that you buy in the grocery store. Although not a major player in global pork production, Louisiana has roughly 8,000 pigs. Each year, hundreds of Louisiana 4-H youth raise pigs to be exhibited at the parish, district, and state livestock shows.

There are 8 major breeds of pigs that make a significant contribution to the United States Pork industry. Those breeds are Yorkshire, Landrace, Chester White, Hampshire, Berkshire, Duroc, Poland China, and Spot. There is a link from the Pork Checkoff with information about each of these breeds of pigs.

Watch the educational video posted to learn all about pigs! Use the information learned in the video to complete the crossword puzzle and ear notching activity!

Ear Notching Activity

All About Pigs Crossword



The second-most recorded breed of swine in the United States, the red pigs with the drooping ears are valued for their product quality, carcass yield, fast growth and lean-gain efficiency. They also add value through their prolificacy and longevity in the female line. Much of the U.S. breed improvement has occurred in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska.



The third-most recorded breed of swine in the United States, Berkshires are known for fast and efficient growth, reproductive efficiency, cleanness and meat flavor and value. The first U.S. meeting of Berkshire breeders and importers was held in 1875, with the American Berkshire Association formed shortly after – making it the oldest swine registry in the world.



The most-recorded breed of swine in North America, Yorkshires are white with erect ears. They are found in almost every state, with the highest populations being in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio. Yorkshires are known for their muscle, with a high proportion of lean meat and low backfat. Soundness and durability are additional strengths.



The Spotted swine breed is characterized by large, black-and white spots. Many breeders in central Indiana specialized in breeding Spotted hogs through the years. Today, Spots are known for their feed efficiency, rate of gain and carcass quality. In addition, commercial producers appreciate Spotted females for their productivity, docility and durability.



White hogs with droopy ears, Landrace are the fifth-most recorded breed of swine in the United States. Known as “America’s Sowherd,” Landrace females are heavy milkers and often farrow large pigs. Crossing well with other breeds, Landrace often possess length of body, a high percentage of carcass weight in the ham and loin and the ideal amount of finish.

Portland Chinajpg

Poland China

In the early 1800s, Poland China hogs originated in Ohio. Today, Poland China hogs are known for their large frame, length of body, leanness and muscle. They also are excellent feeders, gaining well under good care and management. They also are quiet in their disposition.

Chester Whitejpg

Chester White

Chester Whites originated in Chester County, Pa., from which their name was formed. These white hogs with droopy, medium-sized ears are known for their mothering ability, durability and soundness. Packers also tout their muscle quality.



The hogs with “the belt,” Hampshires are the fourth-most recorded breed in the United States. Most popular in the Corn Belt, Hampshires are known for producing lean muscle, high carcass quality, minimal backfat and large loin eyes. Females also are known for their mothering ability, with longevity in the sow herd.

4/21/2020 9:25:34 PM
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