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Killing and butchering. Ethics, methods

 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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I didn't seem much in they way of topics about this here.

I think it actually is a pretty important topic too.  It is not necessarily "easy" to do, especially for people who were not brought up on a farm doing it all their lives.

I also think it's important for people that do consume meat to understand what they owe to nature for their food.  Learning how to humanely kill an animal and properly process the products is a huge part of homesteading with livestock.

It is also a process we are working hard to learn ourselves.  Fish are actually really easy.  Chickens a bit harder (partly because the laying hens have been with us a while and we have gotten to know them.)  We are currently in the process of culling our flock since several of them have quit laying.

We are also looking at adding Muscovy Ducks to our flock and some of them would be for meat birds and hence we would need to get good at processing them.

Please share resources to help people learn good methods for making use of their livestock (for those that will eat them as well as for those who are keeping them as pets and may eventually need to put down an old or sick animal.)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Novella Carpenter seems to be a good resource on this one.

Her book, Farm City, talks about it a little bit. So does her blog.

She runs classes fairly frequently, in one of the worst neighborhoods in California. They're a little pricy, but I think she's hitting a similar market to Chez Panisse. I also saw her demonstrate butchering techniques during one of her open house events.

http://novellacarpenter.com/
 
Leah Sattler
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we butcher our own chickens and goats sometimes but by no means on a regular basis at this time. there were some things that surprised me a bit. for instance, when you shoot a goat it drops like a rock. I guess I was expecting a little staggering or something. nope. it crumples into a heap instantly. later of course there is a bit of kicking and auto neuro activity a few minutes/second later but they are definitly out cold instantly. we had a gentleman come to buy one of our wethers and he just slit the throat.

I didn't get to watch as I was inside with my dd but hubby said it was fast, as far as being aware goes. however watching from the window it did take much longer for all the kicking and spastic activity to stop. he wanted to eat the head. not my cup of tea and I would prefer shooting them for sure. there was also some stress involved in getting the goat down and held before they cut the throat. I prefer that when we shoot them they really have no clue or stress before hand, they just think they are getting an extra special treat of some grain.

I would like to get/make a killing cone for the chickens. so far I just use grandmas method of hold the feet down with one of my feet and give the neck a good wack. works but then I have to hold the chicken while it flops when I could be moving on to the next one.
 
                              
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I think a cone would be a good thing too.  We did one chicken by hanging her up and cutting the head off but then you gotta get the bucket around her to keep the mess down.

I came across this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63S3gLIeQCA
he explains how cutting the arteries without cutting off the head or windpipe makes for a cleaner kill with more blood removed quickly though the nerve action as they get to kicking/flapping is still disturbing no matter what.  There are some other good videos I found showing rather quick gutting of the birds.

But like they say, killing should never really be easy or pleasant.

I think we might really need a big cone though since the Muscovy drakes are fair huge birds.
 
                    
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Geeze, I'll never forget a friend of mine in Philly trying to talk me into killing his first chicken in the backyard of the place where myself and about six of my friends lived.  I couldn't tell him NO enough times....just imagining the mess at the hands of an inexperienced and overly gung-ho young male.  There are several stores that sell live chickens there...he thought it would be fun.  Sigh. 

Thanks for posting the Polyface videos.  Ended up watching a whole bunch of them and am much more enlightened about their "buying club" set up. 

Shooting definitely stops the auto-processes too quickly for proper bleeding.  Killing cones and a sharp knife look like the best option for poultry. 

I'm way more experienced with gutting larger mammals (goats and deer specifically) and for some reason the size of a bird is intimidating.  But again, you-tube is so great for the information.

TCLynx- we just saw a Julia Child cooking show episode where a french woman demonstrates fish cleaning techniques that are quite slick.  She pulled everything out through the gills, no belly cuts necessary.  Worth investigating!  (just tried to find it on youtube with no luck)

Also saw a french movie (Weekend, Godard's last noticeable film - weird but great) where one man hauled off and hit a hog really hard in the forehead with a sledge hammer, and another man was standing right there to slit the throat immediately.  They did it under a tree and strung it up as soon as the throat was cut through.  As long as the first man has good aim and the second a sharp knife, it seems like a workable system. 
 
Jami McBride
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I wish I had wisdom in this area, I hate the way killing is soooo hands-on.  Told my daughter I would buy a chicken auto guillotine - insert head, pull lever and poof off goes the head.... 

I believe cutting the vein and letting the chicken bleed out is best, I've heard of a couple that get up before the sun to quietly move their sleepy chickens into hanging position, where 'he' cuts their artery and lets them calmly bleed out (go back to sleep).  No flapped, no upset birds.  But I will need desensitization training before I can do this. 
 
                              
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I doubt the pre dawn method completely gets rid of the flapping/kicking since that is actually due to nerve impulses after the bird is actually dead so being sleepy isn't going to stop that from happening.  However, I suspect that selecting the birds before they are off the roost is a handy way to catch them easily without alot of the flapping pre-kill.

As noted, it should never be easy.  The point is to make it as humane as possible.  I expect it takes practice.
 
Jami McBride
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I meant flapping before the cut, however I watched the video and their chickens didn't flap after either.  If the couple moved to fast a bird would startle they said, but nothing like that happened on the demonstration I watched. 

I'm not saying there is a way around a twitching chicken, just saying they had their technique well practiced, and it went off without any fuss.  They made it all look easy, which it isn't..... The guy came behind the bird, and the bird didn't even know it had been cut.

My first attempt failed honorably, I went to chop the head off with an axe, but I didn't whack hard enough, the axe bounced.  So with flapping, bleeding and screeching, while my daughter held the chicken, I then had to cut the head off with a knife.  After which we put the body upside down in a bucket and had no movement, no flapping.  We went in the house to recover from our PTS!  Actually, truth be told we still haven't recovered.

A funny city-girl story:
A few years before I got into raising chickens, I called a local livestock butcher to find out the pricing for butchering small animals like chickens and rabbits.  I got his wife on the phone, she said he was busy and asked if she could help me.  I asked her about butchering my chickens/rabbits - to which she began laughing out of control, and yelled my request at her husband I assume - I heard more loud laughing in the background.  After several minutes, when she finally recovered her composure, she told me they only butcher large animals.  Apparently I made their day..... 

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I guess in some ways I had an advantage, because of growing up on a homestead in Alaska.  We weren't butchering animals that we'd raised (although we did have cattle), but fish we'd caught, moose and caribou we'd hunted.  However, even with that background, I really dislike killing the animal.  Once it's dead, it's not too bad.  It gets to be a job that needs to be done, even though it's not particularly pleasant.  Chickens are easier than rabbits or goats.  It really doesn't bother me too much to chop the heads off chickens, although I do put the dead bird in a bucket so it isn't flopping all over the place.  I have two sixteen penny nails pounded into a piece of wood just far enough apart that I can stick a chicken's neck between the two nails and it will hold the head.  Then I stretch it out a bit by holding the feet, and chop the neck with a sharp hatchet.  It's dead with the first blow, although the skin isn't always cut clear through (the feathers offer some resistance even to a sharp blade).

Before I start doing chickens, I put a big kettle of water on to heat.  It shouldn't be boiling, but close to a simmer.  Dunk the bird (after it's bled out for a few minutes) and swish it around a bit to get water under the feathers.  It helps to add a couple of drops of dish soap to the water -- makes the water penetrate the feathers better.  Lift it out -- into the sink is good -- and test to see if the feathers come off easily.  If not, put it back in a little longer.  You don't want to leave it in the hot water too long, though, or the skin will cook and start tearing off when you pull feathers.  You get the hang of it after a while.  (And I'm sure it's possible to find precise directions on temperature and timing somewhere on the 'net!)  When you get the scalding part right, the feathers come off quickly and easily, except for the big pinions on the wings, and some on the tail.  You may need pliers to grasp those (I'm talking about a mature bird here, but if you are doing eight-week-old Cornish Cross, you may be able to pull those feathers by hand).  Then you need either kitchen shears or a sharp knife; cut around the vent, quickly rinsing off any fecal matter before it can contaminate the carcass.  Cut open the abdomen and reach in and remove all the innards, salvaging the heart, liver, and gizzard.  Put those aside -- the gall bladder will need to be removed from the liver, and the gizzard needs to be cleaned, but that can wait a minute (unless the gall bladder is broken, in which case, cut it off the liver right away along with anything that has been contaminated by it).  Now reach back into the carcass and dig at the ribs -- the lungs are stuck to the ribs and will have to be scraped out.  Then you need to get the windpipe out, and clean up the carcass -- I trim anything that's bloody or bruised, remove any pinfeathers that remain, and rinse it in cold water.  Put it in the frig to cool, and deal with the gizzard -- clean the outside, then slit it open, rinse the contents out, and peel off the thick, tough lining.  I know a lot of people don't eat the giblets, but cooked properly they are very good.  The heart and gizzard should be simmered for a long time, until tender; the liver should be fried quickly in a little bit of butter.  Yum.

For rabbits, I hold them at arms length by the hind legs and whack them hard at the base of the skull with something heavy.  I've used a piece of metal pipe; lately I've been using a big heavy wrench.  It's easy to hold onto.  Then slit the throat to let them bleed out.  It's easiest to skin them hanging, so have some way to hang them up upside down.  I have a heavy wire fastened to the back side of our pump house that I also hang the chickens from to bleed out.  The wire is horizontal, and I can fasten three chickens or two rabbits up there at a time -- I use short pieces of electric fence wire to fasten the animals to the heavy wire.  I actually would rather pluck a chicken than skin a rabbit, as it's harder to get all the hair off the meat later than it is to clean up a few stray feathers.  I dislike hair in my meat, LOL!  But for skinning, you need a very sharp knife (if doing anything bigger than a rabbit, keep the whetstone handy and use it frequently).  Cut a circle around each back leg up high, about where you can feel it is all bone, and then make a cut down each leg to the vent area.  You'll have to cut a circle around the vent (wouldn't hurt to tie the vent off at this point if you want to take the time).  Then, using the knife occasionally to loosen the membranes, just peel the rabbit.  Make similar cuts around the front legs, and up the front legs to the neck area, and cut around the neck.  The hide should just peel off.  In practice it's not always that easy -- but most of the rabbits I've butchered have been adults.  Young bunnies are easier, in some ways.  Once the hide is off, I rinse the loose hair off, then remove guts and head same as for chickens.  Of course rabbits don't have a gizzard, but save the heart and liver, and kidneys if you want to mess with them (pretty small on an animal that size).  I don't care as much for the flavor of rabbit as for chicken, but soaking the meat overnight in a bowl of salt water in the fridge makes it taste a lot more like chicken!

Larger animals are done the same as the above, except that you'll either have to skin and gut on the ground (a tarp or a piece of plastic helps to keep the meat clean and to be able to gather up the gut pile after you are done) or you'll need some way to hoist the larger carcasses off the ground.  If you are going to be butchering large animals on a regular basis, you should set up an area indoors with a pulley system for hoisting the carcass up to bleed out, and to make skinning and gutting easier.  Set a big washtub or something below it to catch the guts as they fall out (if you are doing a big steer, or a moose or something that size, you'll need more than a washtub for the guts!).  For doing large animals, you'll want a meat saw -- a hacksaw with a fine-tooth blade for cutting through bone.  Don't cut the meat with it, though -- there isn't much worse than having bone dust in your meat, not even hair! 

A lot more could be added to this, such as saving and using the intestines and the stomach and the hide, using the meat on the head, using the tongue (futile if butchering a small animal such as a rabbit, but well worth the trouble in a larger animal), and so on.  But a book could be written on butchering, and many have been -- you can probably find one or two at the library, and if not there, check Amazon.

Kathleen
 
Jami McBride
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Great detailed information Kathleen.

What type/size of gun would a person need for butchering med. size animals like goats?
Would a .22 do the job with one shot?

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Jami McBride wrote:
Great detailed information Kathleen.

What type/size of gun would a person need for butchering med. size animals like goats?
Would a .22 do the job with one shot?




A .22 will do the job just fine as long as you position the shot correctly.  Pigs are supposed to be shot in the forehead; goats have to be shot in the back of the head.  Their forehead bone is so thick that the bullet may ricochet.  Even large animals can be killed with a .22 bullet up close and in the right spot, although you wouldn't use one for hunting large animals. 

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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I agree. we use a .22 point blank at the back of the goats head aimed towards the mouth, and it drops them fast. I'm afraid anything larger would just  make a mess there is very little if any visible blood from the wound, just a tidy little hole in a very dead goat.
 
                    
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Their forehead bone is so thick that the bullet may ricochet.


Wow.  I remember we shot goats in the back of the head, and now I know why!  amazing!
 
Irene Kightley
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To complement Kathleen's description of killing chickens, I've a blog post with photos.

http://lafermedesourrou.blogspot.com/search?q=killing

 
Jeff Mathias
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Not sure about other birds but chickens can be put to sleep/hypnotized. I think this is under utilized for processing chickens, granted I have done exactly one chicken to date but it went quite well. If I was processing on a regular basis I would set up a station and use a cone or a pant leg to hold the wings tight to the chickens body to prevent flapping.
Here is what I did.

1. Catch chicken
2. put chickens head under its wing until calm/sleeping.
3. When calm/sleeping/hypnotized grab by both legs and flip upside down. Here is where you would put the chicken in the killing cone or tie the feet and wings to hang above a bucket etc. With no cone I opted to tie the legs and suspend the chicken above a bucket method. Chicken is still calm/sleeping/hypnotized.
4. I thanked the chicken for its life and apologized in advance for any suffering I was about to cause. (Remember this was my first and only time.)
5. With chicken still limp/calm/sleeping/hypnotized I gently took its head in my hand and moved enough feathers to place a blade directly against the neck skin and made the cut.

Obviously you want to move fast but I understand a couple of minutes hypnotized is possible. After I made the cut I released the chicken to be fully suspended over my bucket. I do not believe the chicken ever woke back up, it did flap the wings for a few brief seconds but only after I had made the cut and blood had flowed for a few seconds.

On a side note since I had just one skinny layer to process and didn't want to spend a lot of time doing it, I searched on the internet for processing chickens without plucking and found a good step by step approach that made short work of processing. Granted it removes the skin with the feathers but for one bird it cut processing time easily in half.

Whatever your method I would encourage you to look into hypnotizing the chicken and maybe other birds if possible before processing. If nothing else it felt like a much more calm, humane and dignified way for the chicken to go.

Jeff
 
Jami McBride
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Ha Jeff, we do something like this to our small chickens/chicks, but I never thought of doing it for the grown ups.

We flip them over onto their backs and hold them cupped in our hands, in no time their legs relax and eyes start to close.  The don't fight, they just go to sleep.  We call it chick flipping.

I am going to try your method with one of our chickens, thanks for the tip.
 
paul wheaton
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alexia allen of Hawthorn Farm is a wilderness skills instructor who also has a small farm in Woodinville, Washington.  I thought she did a really good job of demonstrating a respectful harvest of a chicken.

"I usually like wearing pink when I do my butchering.  It makes me the angel of death.  I have come to this process of killing animals with this sense of being almost a midwife?  Or at least when I teach people about butchering chickens I want to emphasize It's not about being brutal or macho, it's really about 'hey, you kill things and eat them.' That's part of how the world seems to work.  I didn't make up how the world works.  It just seems to be what needs to happen whether it is a chicken or a carrot.  It's just a vertabrate bias that might make a chicken seem different than a carrot."




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_S3P0eU0lE
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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The pig farmer I just visited used to use a bullet on his hogs but he went to a plant in Kingstree that uses C02.  He told me that he was actually able to watch the pigs go down the shaft and could see them as they lost conciousness.  He said they were very calm and he is going to start, this week, using that for slaughter.  After they come out of the chute unconcious then they are bled.
I found this video where Temple Grandin discusses the process; if she likes it then I have to think it is a good process:  http://youtu.be/As70fiNdzJ0 http://youtu.be/As70fiNdzJ0

The only problem I have with this is that eventually I want to raise a couple of pigs myself and it is not feasable for me to travel that far for slaughter - I would prefer to find a way to humanely do it myself.

The farmer here said he liked the fact that there was no stiffness or excitement at slaughter with the C02 so the muscle stayed soft.
 
paul wheaton
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dave brenneman
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paul wheaton wrote:neat pig butchering stuff: http://anatomyofthrift.com/



The link returns this message:

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.



 
Jami McBride
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I see what you mean.... it's still trowing an error for me.

Maybe that info has been moved, or something.
 
Burra Maluca
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It's working for me now - must have been a temporary glitch...
 
Dale Hodgins
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richard valley
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On the ranch, chicken were a cash crop. Both wings[chicken] would be helde between the forefinger and the finger below, the birds facing. The head is brought back, the beak is held with the thumb exposing the throat. The large vein on the left side is cut and the bird is placed head down in a cone. Here I use a plastic road cone nailed to an esh, a sawhorse.
Breakfast!
 
Erik Lee
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If you can find a small farm in your area that does their own chicken processing you might ask if you can help them out to get some experience. I did this recently at a friend's farm and discovered that there are many little tricks that are not in the books (at least the ones I've read) that will make the process much simpler and faster. We used cones for the slaughter, and he has one of the mechanical pluckers, which is an amazing machine.
 
kent smith
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I found a pattern for killing cones in Herrick Kimble's whiz bang plucker book, but it was too small for our broilers and I did not try it with our turkeys. I plan to do a little sheet metal lay out in my shop this year before we start broilers this summer. I have a neighbor who is raising broilers and turkeys and has cones that seem to fit the birds. I will ask him if I can take some measurements. If I find a pattern I like I will try to post it next summer.
kent
 
                        
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A friend showed me this great youtube video for gutting and skinning a rabbit. I love how matter-of-fact the chef is about it all: http://youtu.be/IpwhOE74TMA

The way I was taught to slaughter rabbits was to hold them on the ground, place a heavy bar across the back of their necks, step on either end of the bar and then pull up on their back legs until you hear their neck crack. It seems to be quick and humane to me.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I think I like the idea of skinning the rabbit before gutting it. That makes it easier to remove the entire digestive tract in one shot. Hanging the rabbit up over a bucket helps to ensure that all unwanted waste never touches the portions you intend to eat and it leaves both hands free to work. As for killing rabbits I think something like the "Rabbit Wringer" is the way to go if you have a lot of rabbits to kill. It seems like a simple to use device that gets the job done quickly and as humanely as possible. You can make something like this guy did... Seems to work pretty well.

Warning! graphic content


Rabbit butchering

 
Jay Green
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I've been killing and processing chickens and other livestock since I was a youngster. There really is no need to "hypnotize" a bird to have a calm processing routine~it just makes you feel better about killing it. I pick my birds off the roost the night before, truss their legs and lay them in the deep bedding until morning. After the rest of the birds have left the coop, you just collect your birds and carry them to the killing place. There is usually no unusual amount of stress involved, the birds are calm and quiet, and the birds go easily into the killing cones(a good and large killing cone is easily made from a 2 gal. bleach jug upturned and cut appropriately).

A sharp knife and sure strokes are important. I've seen the Salatin video and my birds never twitch as long as those on his video...I was amazed at just how long it took for them to finally stop moving. I don't bother to find this vein or that artery, I just slice across the whole throat from left to right....cutting the trachea does not matter for airflow~picture someone with a trach stoma.

Salatin's theory about living longer if they can still breath so that the heart will bleed out the bird better sounds good...but it doesn't result in any more or less bleed out than cutting the whole throat. It just makes the bird seem to take longer to die...this is something I will not do to one of my animals just to get the last few drops of blood from its body. I've never noticed any excess blood in the tissues while processing one of my birds.
 
Kahty Chen
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I sewed poultry kill cones from blue plastic tarp. They are cheap and easy to make, so that you can have larger and smaller cones for various sizes of birds.

I like how calm the birds are when they are swaddled in the soft cones (think Temple Grandin's squeeze chutes). My birds don't flap around and make as much noise as in the polyface video. But, I do keep a hand on each bird as it dies - I make the time to thank and usher him/her out. I find that covering their eyes calms them even further.

The one time I slaughtered a sheep was by slitting it's throat. We hoisted her up with a come along on a tripod made by simply lashing 3 poles together. I was surprised and enwondered by the beauty of the sac of intestines as we gutted her. What a beautiful (and delicious) creature.
 
Burra Maluca
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This video has some useful footage on at-home butchering of a pig, including using a bonfire to singe away the bristles.



The relevant bits are...

2.55 preparing for the pig slaughter; cleaning out a half-barrel
3.28 Neil Jones, a local butcher and slaughter-man, is called in to kill Arthur, the wild-boar/Tamworth pig; throat slit, blood collected in a bowl for use later to make blood sausage and black pudding; killing at home reduces stress to the animal; everyone helps move the pig carcass
5.08 old brewing vat is scrubbed out and swilled
5.42 gutting the pig; intestines to be used to make sausages; pigs caul used to make faggots (giant meat-balls made of pigs' offal)
6.42 remove sweetbreads ("boar's bollocks"); a delicacy when fried with salt, pepper and little flour
8.12 singeing the bristles off the hairy period breed pig using a bonfire, not a gas blow torch; singe only, don't cook
10.07 100kg pig carcass dragged on sled and lifted onto table by three people
12.00 skin of pig is scrubbed clean of soot ready for salting; skin is darker than with modern breeds
13.01 butchering performed by farmer's wife; remove head - lots of meat at back of head and in cheeks; pig will feed family of six for three months; use brain, trotters, everything except the squeak

Part two continues with...

2.04 preparations for pork banquet; scrub table with salt
4.03 pork dishes - offal used first; hog's liver pudding; trotters - a bit singed as forgot to apply paste; scraps and intestines make sausages
5.05 cookery books from London 1589 - 'to make white pudding of the hogs liver'
7.26 liver chopped, herbs added, boiled in cloth in cauldron
8.10 pork scraps beaten to form sausage-meat and stuffed into sausage skins
9.01 parboil liver, finely chop and add other ingredients (egg, cream); more sausage stuffing - looks like a pig poop
2.08 pig banquet nearly ready; trotters, hogs liver pudding, sausages, but no bacon sandwiches yet

 
Allen Frost
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Jami McBride wrote:Great detailed information Kathleen.

What type/size of gun would a person need for butchering med. size animals like goats?
Would a .22 do the job with one shot?



I watched a neighbor slaughter a couple of hogs with a .22 rifle and it took five shots to the head to put one down. To say the least there was a lot of screaming going on (from the hog and some internal screaming from me).

I had to shoot a ram lamb last year that was ready for slaughter and we could not catch it as it got out into the pasture. I used my .22 magnum rifle and took it down with one clean shot to the head. I was told that the .22 magnum is so much more powerful than a .22 and will stun the animal, killing it instantly. Also, a rifle is a lot safer than a pistol.
 
steve temp
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Location: Costa Rica 100 meters above sea level, Tropical dry forest
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Must have been a bad shot. Only once needed a 2nd shot. Vision an X eye to ears, maybe slightly above for a pig.
People have stupid ideas about getting more blood out and in turn cause an animal more suffering. Too many times I have seen and heard the results of a slow painful death, that is unethical. Use a bullet and be done instantly, then slit throat to remove blood.
 
Allen Frost
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steve temp wrote:Must have been a bad shot. Only once needed a 2nd shot. Vision an X eye to ears, maybe slightly above for a pig.
People have stupid ideas about getting more blood out and in turn cause an animal more suffering. Too many times I have seen and heard the results of a slow painful death, that is unethical. Use a bullet and be done instantly, then slit throat to remove blood.


I doubt it. These are mountain people and have been slaughtering hogs for generations. The hog was shot at point blank range with the barrel inches away from the point between the eyes that you describe. These were huge hogs and needed a larger caliber. Believe me Steve when I say these are not stupid people, don't have stupid ideas and they are not into making animals suffer.
 
steve temp
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Allen, I wasn't referring to your people about the stupid comment. All animals are different and the one they shot was maybe just stubborn and tough. I was referring to another comment above about hitting them with a hammer. Also about people kill by cutting throat to bleed out good. Maybe some people are able to pull this off humanely, I do know some are not able to. I don't even believe in sending them for a traumatic truck ride. Think its best done fast and mellow like I'd want to go. Just respect I guess.
 
John Polk
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Here is a quick link that shows the proper place to shoot a variety of livestock.
Click on each picture to see the proper entry points:
http://www.vdpam.iastate.edu/HumaneEuthanasia/anat.htm
 
Abbey Myrick
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Farmer Stina wrote:A friend showed me this great youtube video for gutting and skinning a rabbit. I love how matter-of-fact the chef is about it all: http://youtu.be/IpwhOE74TMA

The way I was taught to slaughter rabbits was to hold them on the ground, place a heavy bar across the back of their necks, step on either end of the bar and then pull up on their back legs until you hear their neck crack. It seems to be quick and humane to me.


The one time we tried this it didn't work. The poor rabbits eyes bugged out but his neck didn't break, and it was at a 45 degree angle. (( I don't know what we did wrong. I raise the rabbits and gut them but can't bring myself to do the killing. If I had a gun I could, but I am too afraid I will mess it up and they won't go fast enough. Joey kills them for me by swinging them and smashing their heads on a concrete pad. Its the way he learned but, while they do seem to go immediatley, I don't like this method--sometimes a poorly aimed rabbit gets a badly bruised shoulder which has to be thoroughly cleaned of blood and cut around during the butchering.
I may try to slit their throats next litter, but I need to find a proper knife.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Have you seen the rabbit wringer? It's a steel device that's made for very quickly killing rabbits. I don't have one but I can see from the videos on you tube that they are very effective. Personally, I have an iron fire poker that has a curled handle that works just like the wringer. First time every time. Quick and clean.
 
Abbey Myrick
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:Have you seen the rabbit wringer? It's a steel device that's made for very quickly killing rabbits. I don't have one but I can see from the videos on you tube that they are very effective. Personally, I have an iron fire poker that has a curled handle that works just like the wringer. First time every time. Quick and clean.


I never did see that! Thank you for posting, looks very effective.
 
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