I spent an hour or so thinking about this in the middle of the night last night, how, how, how! In just over 3 weeks we plan on butchering 2 of the pigs. With the chickens it was easy enough to get the logistics done as one guy with no experience can kill and process a chicken pretty easily. Pigs are bigger, much BIGGER. Here is my list of things to get done:
1: Determine how the pigs get stunned/killed. Unfortunately the gun laws require a safety course and month-plus waiting time to get a license to buy a gun or ammunition and I’ve been too busy so the “easy” option of shooting the pig myself is out. Other options are using a sledgehammer to the head, but this is more risky and less humane. Also, we could find someone who lives nearby to do it but we haven’t gotten any commitments yet. Why couldn’t more of my friends be avid hunters?
2: Figure out where the kill is done. Once stunned you should hoist the pig and slice the vessels in the neck/chest to bleed it out. This should be done within minutes of the stunning while the heart is still beating. To hoist the animal I need to get a gambrel and affix it to an overhead beam of some sort. This could be by the kids’ swingset, the barn, the garage or the pumphouse. Indoors might be better if the weather is not cooperating, but in any way the pigs will need to be moved to the location alive which means we will need to coax it into the dog kennel so it can be moved out, or just tied and push/pull/dragged in place.
3: I’ve watched a butchering video (God bless YouTube) and it looks like skinning is the way to go, much easier than dipping/scalding the pig to get the hair off. I don’t plan on eating the skin anyways, so why go to all the trouble of getting it hair-free? Probably the skinning would be done in the same place as the killing and bleeding on a big plastic folding table… sure.. that sounds like a plan.
4: After hanging out overnight and gutted I figure the carcass will be moved into the kitchen to be cut into ribs and roasts and whatnot. It’ll be nice to have the sinks and clean counter space handy even if it does seem out of place to have a 100+ lb piece of meat in the middle of the room.
5: I hate black pig. The pink ones are friendly, when I feed them they are happy to let me pat their back and sides while they munch away and I can take their measurements (length and circumference) to calculate their weight. Black pig runs away and will try to go to the other side of the pink ones from me, or just stay away until I leave. This is going to make getting her in position to be porkchops a little more difficult. I might need to put some rope slipknots on the ground around the food and then try to snare her while she eats. Also, there was the whole debacle when Elijah was in the pen helping me fix their waterer and black pig bit him in the ass and yanked his pants down around his ankles. This was hilarious to see him pantsed by a pig until he started crying because he did actually get pinched by the bite.
So there you have it, planning and thinking and plotting the demise of 2 pigs. I am sure that next year will be so much easier but for now this is a lot to think about.
One thing is for sure, those pigs had better be tasty.
I realized the other day that a farm is more like an ecosystem than city life. Having farm animals has some give and take, you give food and you get food and this is something that becomes more efficient than grocery store shopping. Something I am loving is the amount of garbage we make is less and the amount of food we toss into the trash has pretty much reduced to nothing.
Kids waste a lot of food, from the bits that get put onto their plate that they mess with and you’d rather not keep to the stuff they just won’t eat like bread crusts from their sandwiches or apple peels. Depending on who you get your stats from a typical family of 4 wastes something between $500 and $1500 worth of food every year. From the stuff I’ve talked about, to leftovers that get a little suspicious, or fruits and vegetables that get a little squishy or fuzzy, food waste comes from lots of places. When we first got the chickens I was thrilled that Natalia’s bread crusts would now be made into eggs. I told Erron it was like being Jesus, but instead of water to wine it was crusts to eggs. She wasn’t quite amused. Some of our food waste we just didn’t feel was “chicken food”, but now with the pigs there is almost nothing I won’t toss into their bucket. Chicken bones, banana peels, egg shells, apple cores, plate scrapings from the kids, that bit of milk and mushy cereal at the bottom of their bowl from breakfast, it all goes into the slop bucket for the pigs. The pigs think it’s great, they eat it all up and push each other around trying to get the best bits. If turning crusts to eggs was like being Jesus then I am sure that turning apple cores into bacon makes me The Beatles.