• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • paul wheaton
garden masters:
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Mike Barkley

Our first pig processing and it was a suckling pig

 
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, this is going to be kind of horrible. As I've posted before. We have guinea hogs. They're cute little pigs with just the fattest faces. This is really something we should have taken into consideration when we decided to stick the pig. We'd sold one of the 3 month old piglets as a suckling pig. So we couldn't shoot it to kill it. Did a fair amount of research (and permies was the best source of no-gun pig killing information actually), I took some shots (of alcohol because I do get rather attached) and off we went to kill a pig. So I throw the food down, they all go at it. We weren't picky about which pig to kill so my husband just sneaks up on one of them and slits it's throat. Except, like I said, we didn't take into consideration how much fat they actually have in this area. This pig, it didn't even notice. It has this gaping slash on it's throat, it's barely bleeding and it's still eating like nothing even happened. We were shocked. So we catch it and I'm holding it so he can get the artery. It was not good. There really was a mass amount of fat here and it took way more cutting and effort than we ever imagined. It was really weird as well. This piglet didn't really scream or anything. It's honestly like it didn't notice. My husband actually had to go into the house and get a bigger knife. This killing took way too long. This is not how we do things. We are really humane about our butcherings. I got pretty emotional, I'm not going to lie. Just chasing this pig around with it's throat slit and then holding it while it's throat gets slit more. Then going inside to hold my baby, who weighed a lot less but was about the same general size. It was a lot. We are NEVER going to do that again. If we can't shoot it, we aren't killing it.

We hung it up to bleed out outside and I had more to drink because I was pretty darn emotional. Whiskey sours coming through for me!

So I did the scald and scrape thing (Husband's job is killing, I do the rest). It was much harder than I anticipated. I think guinea hogs being so hairy, and they seem extra hairy in the winter, was just a lot for scraping. I know people do it and it was always our plan, but we'll be skinning from here on out. The scraping was also hard because there was this massive cut where we slit it's throat. It was terrible.

So I scraped it. Took over an hour, which surprised me. Then I gutted it. I'd gutted poultry before but this was our very first mammal kill ever. I did a bit of reading beforehand and it seemed to me it was very similar to poultry gutting so I went at it with our two older kids watching in fascination. Lots of, "Mommy's cutting it's butt *giggle giggle giggle*" and showing them the different parts. The testicles and heart fascinated them.

I wasn't sure what was up with this but there was a massive amount of air in the stomach and large intestines. Just blown up like balloons. Is that because of our killing? I wasn't sure.

The gutting went well. I'm pretty good with knives, which is a creepy thing to say. I was happy with my gutting job though, particularly proud as I'd never done it before.

We weighed it after the processing and it was 23lbs. I'd estimated it would be 20 lbs. Probably getting a bit big for suckling pigs but they are still nursing. I really need to get them to stop. So 4 more piglets of that size left. We are selling them alive. Not killing another one of them.

7 of our pigs will be shot in the head next Saturday. Our neighbors are coming to help us. We'll skin them. Mostly doing the older piglets. They're around 7 months old and about 60lbs. I thought they were the perfect size for the smoker so we'll be cutting them in half and smoking them for meals. Should be delicious! Plus, we are very confident in our ability to kill things with the gun. No knife, ever again.

There are 3 pigs that I'm particularly fond of. Our oldest and largest pigs. The boar and two sows. We'll be paying a butcher to handle them. One, I don't think we can handle doing it on our own with an infant. It took me half the day to get her down to sleep so we could kill a single piglet. So, paying a butcher. By the end of the month I hope to not have a single pig left alive. I'm not doing animals again. This isn't the right area for this kind of thing. No one is going to pay extra for a specialty breed that takes way longer to grow. I slashed the price for them and still no one is buying. So, kill them all and stock the freezer and never do animals again. My focus will be trees from here on out.
 
gardener
Posts: 2633
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
441
cat pig rocket stoves
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Elle;
Yes, that sounds like a horrible first experience!   It could have been worse, she could have been screaming the whole time!
When you use a .22 to the forehead it does not kill them rite off , they drop to the ground and their heart is still beating.  Then you cut the throat,  just enough to open the artery.They bleed out in just a moment.   Very peaceful, well compared to chasing one around.
Any modern butcher would skin that pig. I did watch a video of a mobile butcher in N.Z. with a bathtub of heated water do amazing things in no time at all.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3379
Location: Toronto, Ontario
425
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah. I'm sorry you went through that, Elle. I want to do pigs myself, at least on the homestead scale, but have no experience with mammal kills. Yours is a hard decision, but borne of important self-knowledge, and a sound appraisal of the market.

Trees are easier. They may bleed, but it's slowly, and they apparently "scream" when injured, but we don't hear it.

And they don't run around with their trunks half-slashed like nothing's wrong.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 143
21
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Goodness gracious, this story made tears go down my cheeks. So sad - for you and your husband, and for the pig for such a prolonged death. Thank goodness it doesn't sound like there was much suffering. So glad to be vegetarian. :(
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Elle;
Yes, that sounds like a horrible first experience!   It could have been worse, she could have been screaming the whole time!
When you use a .22 to the forehead it does not kill them rite off , they drop to the ground and their heart is still beating.  Then you cut the throat,  just enough to open the artery.They bleed out in just a moment.   Very peaceful, well compared to chasing one around.
Any modern butcher would skin that pig. I did watch a video of a mobile butcher in N.Z. with a bathtub of heated water do amazing things in no time at all.



For a suckling pig it's head, tail and skin on so we had to scrape it. We used an enchilada pot to scald the piglet. It's the same pot we use to scald our turkeys. It fit in it nicely. We'd intended to use a bath tub for the bigger pigs but at this point we're just going with skinning.

Our neighbor is a really experienced hunter/butcher so we feel confident things will go well when we kill the 7. We're paying him with one of the pigs. It's working out there. Hopefully things will go much, much better.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:Yeah. I'm sorry you went through that, Elle. I want to do pigs myself, at least on the homestead scale, but have no experience with mammal kills. Yours is a hard decision, but borne of important self-knowledge, and a sound appraisal of the market.

Trees are easier. They may bleed, but it's slowly, and they apparently "scream" when injured, but we don't hear it.

And they don't run around with their trunks half-slashed like nothing's wrong.

-CK



Once we've eaten one of them I'll let you know if I think pigs are worth it. I enjoyed having them about. I free ranged them most of the year. It's just costly to keep them over winter and we have WAY too many now since none of them sold.
 
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Western central Illinois, Zone 6a
73
hunting trees solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Quite the ordeal. I'm sorry it went that way for you. I've seen the scald and scrape approach on video, as well as another that I have only seen once. It might be an easier approach for the next one. It starts at 1:58. This video insert is the whole video.  



Wish I lived closer. Pigs are one species I have not butchered yet and want to. I'd give you hand just for the opportunity if I could.

The gas in the GI system is not uncommon. I usually see that in deer that have been eating just prior to harvesting.

I hope the rest of it goes much more smoothly.
 
Posts: 338
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
why not fatten the hogs up they will get close to 300 pounds, I must be missing something, what is the benefit of a suckling pig? kind of like veal from baby cows?
 
Posts: 65
Location: Poland
18
purity dog forest garden tiny house urban books fiber arts writing sheep homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm sorry for you. Don't you use a captive bolt pistol on pigs? Then hang them and then cut the throat? That's how I understand the process.
I tried to learn about stunning and butchering of various animals just to know what I accept as a meat eater, but I decided that if I ever do it myself, I will first learn it from another person. Even if that person does it in a less humane way than I believe it should be done, I think it's just not something to be learned from books and videos alone... or online.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

bruce Fine wrote:why not fatten the hogs up they will get close to 300 pounds, I must be missing something, what is the benefit of a suckling pig? kind of like veal from baby cows?



We sold the suckling pig to a Chinese friend. They can't ever get them in the U.S. and he was REALLY excited to get one. If the killing didn't suck so much we could probably make money just breeding pigs and killing them young for the local Chinese community.

Otherwise I'm done with pigs. I go in to feed and 15 pigs try to knock me over to get the feed bucket.  It's costing a fortune to feed them through the winter. Can't seem to sell them to save my life.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Flora Eerschay wrote:I'm sorry for you. Don't you use a captive bolt pistol on pigs? Then hang them and then cut the throat? That's how I understand the process.
I tried to learn about stunning and butchering of various animals just to know what I accept as a meat eater, but I decided that if I ever do it myself, I will first learn it from another person. Even if that person does it in a less humane way than I believe it should be done, I think it's just not something to be learned from books and videos alone... or online.



Bolt guns cost an upwards of $300. Not worth buying one.

We'll be learning about skinning from a professional. Otherwise, I felt ok about doing a small pig ourselves. The killing turned out poorly but everything else was fine.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Caleb Mayfield wrote:Quite the ordeal. I'm sorry it went that way for you. I've seen the scald and scrape approach on video, as well as another that I have only seen once. It might be an easier approach for the next one. It starts at 1:58. This video insert is the whole video.  

Wish I lived closer. Pigs are one species I have not butchered yet and want to. I'd give you hand just for the opportunity if I could.

The gas in the GI system is not uncommon. I usually see that in deer that have been eating just prior to harvesting.

I hope the rest of it goes much more smoothly.



That was really interesting. My husband kept asking me if I thought a torch would work to help with the hair. I thought it might cook the skin. So that was really interesting.
 
Flora Eerschay
Posts: 65
Location: Poland
18
purity dog forest garden tiny house urban books fiber arts writing sheep homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:Bolt guns cost an upwards of $300.



I know! And it's not even the most expensive thing. I'm one of those owners who tend to spend a fortune on their pets, at the vets or for accessories etc (but I'm trying to find a reasonable balance somewhere in between the crazy pet owner and the practical farmer), so I'd probably buy. But first I would borrow one from the person whom I'd ask to show me how it's done, and then I'd buy if I decided that I'm going to do butchering myself.
But I'm only killing snails and mosquitos... maybe I also vacummed some spiders and drowned some mice ;) (they tend to jump into beer traps for snails, who knew).
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Flora Eerschay wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:Bolt guns cost an upwards of $300.



I know! And it's not even the most expensive thing. I'm one of those owners who tend to spend a fortune on their pets, at the vets or for accessories etc (but I'm trying to find a reasonable balance somewhere in between the crazy pet owner and the practical farmer), so I'd probably buy. But first I would borrow one from the person whom I'd ask to show me how it's done, and then I'd buy if I decided that I'm going to do butchering myself.
But I'm only killing snails and mosquitos... maybe I also vacummed some spiders and drowned some mice ;) (they tend to jump into beer traps for snails, who knew).



We are never doing this again. I won't buy any more animals to raise. So spending the money on a bolt gun would be a really bad investment. Plus, this is the only pig that we couldn't shoot to kill it. We'll shoot the rest and it'll go a lot better. Sticking an American Guinea Hog just turns out to be super different and yeah, lesson learned there!
 
Posts: 185
Location: New Zealand
15
hugelkultur purity forest garden books cooking woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sticking and cutting the throat are two different things.
To stick a tame pig I either tip it over or shoot it in the forehead with a .22 if it's too big and then stick the knife at the base of the throat straight  down into the heart.
I have a dedicated 6in blade for this.
It only leaves a small hole that way and is easy to work around whilst scalding.

Muela Scorpion.
Known as a pig sticker in NZ.
Also excellent for removing throats and back ends when gutting deer.
15789611061285323895137394518988.jpg
[Thumbnail for 15789611061285323895137394518988.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 134
Location: Ontario - zone 6b!
80
forest garden foraging tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aw Elle, I'm sorry!!! That sounds terrible. I'm too much of a chicken to kill anything, I couldn't even make myself shoot a squirrel or a racoon. I'd need whiskey after that too.

I'm the daughter of an old school butcher, who learned to cut meat in the 50s. Based on conversations with Dad (A 20 min story about a similar experience to yours when his drunken 90 year old grandfather tried to kill a pig, let it stumble around a bunc was dinner conversation recently). I'd agree with Drew - if you ever have to do this again - stick the pig rather than slit the throat, as that's the traditional way to kill a pig.   See this site for info about humane killing methods.  https://www.hsa.org.uk/bleeding-and-pithing/bleeding. Notice how they say you need to cut clear to the spine if you are trying to kill by slitting the throat. That's half chopping off the head, and it's not like pig necks are thin! Also - you don't actually stick into the heart, you try and aim above it at the arteries.
 
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
91
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elle, it sounds like it was far more stressful for you than for the pig.  To me, there are far worse ways and places to die, and your pig had an easier death than most--in a familiar place, enjoying its last meal, not been shipped to an abbatoir surrounded by hundreds of other panicked animals as is the fate of almost every other pig on the planet.

And I'm sure everyone here who has ever killed an animal has regrets about the first time;  it takes practice like any other skill and as beginners we just don't have it yet.  I know our first slaughtered chicken took about five minutes to die and I was horrified.  We learned though, and can now kill them pretty much instantly, and we forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't think there's anything to feel guilty about.  Piglet had a good life, you learned, and you got good food.  You don't ever have to do it again but if you did, you now know what to do.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3379
Location: Toronto, Ontario
425
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Drew Moffatt wrote:Sticking and cutting the throat are two different things.
To stick a tame pig I either tip it over or shoot it in the forehead with a .22 if it's too big and then stick the knife at the base of the throat straight  down into the heart.
I have a dedicated 6in blade for this.
It only leaves a small hole that way and is easy to work around whilst scalding.

Muela Scorpion.
Known as a pig sticker in NZ.
Also excellent for removing throats and back ends when gutting deer.



I own that knife! Until I upgraded to one of Cold Steel's pricier models (the moroha-ish style ones), it was one of my favourites. Still keep it sharp as a standby. You never know when you're going to need an extra good knife.

-CK
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2094
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
211
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Drew Moffatt wrote:Sticking and cutting the throat are two different things.
To stick a tame pig I either tip it over or shoot it in the forehead with a .22 if it's too big and then stick the knife at the base of the throat straight  down into the heart.
I have a dedicated 6in blade for this.
It only leaves a small hole that way and is easy to work around whilst scalding.

Muela Scorpion.
Known as a pig sticker in NZ.
Also excellent for removing throats and back ends when gutting deer.



Well sticking was the goal but we couldn't get the artery which resulted in cutting and yeah. Went badly. We'd read that sticking the heart was super painful so we were going for the neck.
 
We're all out of roofs. But we still have tiny ads:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!