Pig vocalisations convey information about their current state of health and welfare. Continuously monitoring these vocalisations can provide useful information for the farmer. For instance, pig screams can indicate stressful situations. When monitoring screams, other sounds can interfere with scream detection. Therefore, identifying screams from other sounds is essential. The objective of this study was to understand which sound features define a scream. Therefore, a method to detect screams based on sound features with physical meaning and explicit rules was developed. To achieve this, 7 hours of labelled data from 24 pigs was used. The developed detection method attained 72% sensitivity, 91% specificity and 83% precision. As a result, the detection method showed that screams contain the following features discerning them from other sounds: a formant structure, adequate power, high frequency content, sufficient variability and duration.