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Killing pigs without a gun?  RSS feed

 
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Hi all, I'm looking to butcher two kunekune pigs that are about 100 lbs each. I I live in the suburbs where everyone gets their pork from Costco and Although I own fire arms, I don't think I can use them to shoot my pigs, with out a neighbor calling the police. Does anyone have any experience with an alternative humane killing method? Thanks in advance
 
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You can "stick" them, cut the jugular with a sharp knife. That is how 100 pounders are processed for roasting whole.
 
Jack Walden
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Thanks for the reply R Scott. Do you have any suggestions for how to hold them down, to stick them?
 
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Edit: never mind, I see now they are 100lb. 50Kg. hammer stun and knife would do, they aren't too big.



A heavy 24 oz ball pien hammer to the cross point would stun, then a long knife either down the collarbone opening to the heart, or behind the 4th to 6th rib forward and across into the heart works.

You need a decent swing and thump but you can knock them down as they munch on a bribe if you have them calm and used to coming up for a treat while you are in the pen.


Wilder pigs that you have to restrain... have you ever heard the saying "Squealing like a stuck pig"? the gun might be quieter!




Look at the pigs head and draw a line from left ear to right eye and another from right ear to left eye. where they cross is where you want to strike them. A GOOD heavy swing, don't be half-hearted, they need to fall over stunned, not race away squealing and distrustful.
 
Jack Walden
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Thanks Rhys Firth for the advice. Luckily, I'll have friends over for moral support. I've only killed chickens and rabbits thus far.
 
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Jack Walden wrote:Hi all, I'm looking to butcher two kunekune pigs that are about 100 lbs each. I I live in the suburbs where everyone gets their pork from Costco and Although I own fire arms, I don't think I can use them to shoot my pigs, with out a neighbor calling the police. Does anyone have any experience with an alternative humane killing method? Thanks in advance



Jack, I recommend a non-penetrating captive bolt gun. I would also fervently recommend picking up Butchering by Adam Danforth as well as the PDFs/DVD from Farmstead Meatsmith. Furthermore, it would most likely benefit you to contact a fellow Permie, Walter Jefferies as he owns a sizeable pork farm in Vermont with an on-site slaughterhouse, that is family run.

I would also deeply advise against a previous poster's suggestions of a hammer stun and heart penetration. A wildly unhealthy and repugnant manner of slaughter.
 
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I agree , the spot for the placement of the hammer blow or bullet is small

if it works on horses......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zi4FXCSgDw



an interesting history anyway
 
R Scott
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Jack Walden wrote:Thanks for the reply R Scott. Do you have any suggestions for how to hold them down, to stick them?



Do some googling. There is a way to stick them down from top behind their ear, that should be fairly easy while they are eating.

Personally, I have always used a gun.
 
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Wow I never consciously realized you could kill animals that way. Would that also work on sheep?(The stun part)
 
pollinator
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Killing them via a knife will result in a screaming pig for 1-2 minutes, depending upon the stick. They scream loud and horribly. A heart stick is by far not humane, but incredibly painful. It will take 1-2 minutes for them to lose consciousness. A jugular stick well done will also take 1 to 2 minutes of screaming pig. If you have never done it before you will most likely sever the trachea, thus having your pig breathing in blood and exhaling it in a violent spray everywhere. Be prepared. I've seen pigs slaughtered this way. They have to be rolled onto their back or side for a good stick, and you will need help if you don't have a killing box to lie them in.

A perfectly placed head knock with a heavy sledge will stun them instantly, but if you miss, expect a squealing pig until you hit it again, until you get the right spot. A head hit that's off target might fracture the skull, resulting in blood flowing from the nose. Again, it will spray all about. A neighbor tried killing pigs this way and ran the pig into a feed bag first in order to restrain it. The two that I saw killed, one went smoothly. One hit. The other required multiple hits.
 
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I find the killing part always difficult. I assisted in it 10 times now, but it still did not get any easier. How it's done here is also with a hammer hit to the head (4 pound hammer) with as main goal being able to get the pig on its right side on the ground. Then a cut with the knife in the neck to cut the main artery there. I have not seen the hit to the head have any longer effect than about 10 seconds, half of the times even less, but it works. The squealing can be minimized by simply grabbing around the mouth and keeping it closed. The only 2 things that ease this process a bit it that the pig has truly no idea what has so suddenly happened and that they actually do respond to your touch to calm them a bit. It still takes minutes before they weaken enough to die.

After you get them on their side, you need one person to kneel on its lower back holding the back legs so it cannot get any traction to get back up and another doing the same at the front side.

During one slaughter the heart was accidentally cut and that indeed creates a lot more pain for the animal. Based on that I would indeed recommend to not cut the heart but the main artery in the neck instead.

Wish me luck too, next pig going down is planned for Tuesday. I'm not looking forward to it but it's a part of life now.
 
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If you're not practiced at it I would highly recommend finding assistance with a compassionate understanding. A botched kill job can be traumatic for you and the animal, if no help is to be found, I would recommend a .22 short behind the ear going into the brain stem. Quiet enough not to alarm the neighbors, effective enough to prevent unnecessary pig noises.
 
steward
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If you have a .22 and you shoot point blank, it'll make so little noise that nobody will notice. When I drop a pig, that's how I prefer to do it. It's quiet, quick and as peaceful as it can be. I drop a few apples on the ground near the fence, and just take my time getting the aim perfect while the pig eats a pleasant breakfast. If done correctly, the pig just drops in place and then goes through that twitchy "shut down" process over the next minute or so. Once it's stopped moving, I make the bleeding cut and thus begins the day of butchery.

I've stuck a few with a knife and depending on how "good" you are with a knife, that can go either way. I've had one that didn't even seem to notice the cut and just walked away from me, passed out and bled out in the field. I've also had one scream for a good 90 seconds while running all over the place crashing into shit. It's a horrible noise for sure, but let's face it... pigs never really make any "nice" noises. They make the same squeal whether you pick them up or stick them with a knife. It's just the noise they make I guess. Either way, done well, it shouldn't be too traumatic and should be over within a minute or two.

I've never used a hammer to stun but I can see how it can be effective and quiet. My concern with swinging a hammer is that pigs are fast and unless you have physical control over the animal to begin with, you could miss and then have and angry slightly injured pig running around. Getting close enough for a second whack might be difficult.

This diagram shows the ideal location for a captive bolt/.22 stun shot for a variety of animals.
 
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Hi,
we just did our first Kune kune this weekend and used a bolt gun which looked exactly like that : http://www.livestockhealthsystems.com/Blitz.html
it was fairly easy. As mentioned earlier, aim for the cross section of lines from ears to eyes, but I would add that you have to sort of aim upward. If the pig is eating head down, you might be tempted to shoot from above... and miss the brain.
So kneel, and put the gun in line with the pig's body, as if drawing a line to the tail... if that makes sense.
poor some liquidish food (I gave milk mixed with some floor) in a shallow dish (so that the head is not "looking down" too much). Liquid food means that the pig will be slurping more than crunching, so the head won't move so much. Also, the mouth will be easier to clean than if there is food stuck between the teeth, if you are planning on making headcheese.
Also with that sort of gun you need to heat up the end a bit, so that when you put it against the pig's forehead he wont be surprised by the coldness of the barrel

since it was our first pig (I was only used to doing rabbits too), I have learned a lot.
what I remember after this weekend :

- have a perfect hair removal system : our pig was fat (c.80 kgs) and a bloody hairy beast. The shower system plugged on gas did not work as advertised, and we had to heat up water to the perfect temperature, removing hairs from 5pm until 11pm, and it was badly done. Next time we will have to heat up water and plunge half the body at a time in a barrel (as advised on a Kindle book I got), unless someone has a better idea ? First time on the site, I need to look at other threads.
- my wife's Welsh grandmother's recipe for faggots is delicious. A great use of the heart and lungs. Look at the River Cottage books for inspiration...

off to make some more sausages and lardo !!!

Alex
French Homesteader - homeschooler - learning everything on his own (including English, sorry!) through making many many many mistakes.


 
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You want to be slightly off center since where the skull plates fuse in the middle it is a little harder. The diagram above is pretty good. Here is a picture of a bisected pig skull that will help you visualize what you're dealing with:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/08/20/of-pig-brains-and-tea-cups/

Not that if you hit too high on the poll then you'll be trying to penetrate thick bone. Lower down towards the eyes it is flimsy sinus with lots of air space. That's where you want to aim.

I use a .22 LR copper jacket hollow point bullet in a rifle. I've shot hundreds of pigs this way with no error. Practice. I shoot close up from just a foot to a meter away. A high powered bullet penetrates too much and can go into the shoulder or body cavity messing up meat. The goal is just to stun. The bleed out then kills. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/04/24/box-of-death/

For non-gun killing consider getting a captive bolt stunner. This cost about $350, the same as a rifle, but fire a captive bolt that is safer. You hold it up against the animal's head. Recommended.

This may also be of interest:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/10/24/kindest-killing-blow/

-Walter
 
Rhys Firth
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Roger Fergus wrote:Wow I never consciously realized you could kill animals that way. Would that also work on sheep?(The stun part)



Yes, over Christmas I was up at my mothers farm and did two sheep that way. Ball pein hammer to the head while straddling them in the race, done right they freeze and collapse, the legs give way but the neck goes rigid. hammer down on the race top and pick up the knife sitting there, one hand under the chin and pull the head back, other hand takes the knife under the neck and slice across the neck back to the bone of the vertabrae, knife hand around to the poll of the head and push down and forward while the hand under the chin pulls back and rearwards, neck vertabrae connecting tissue cracks. Knife hand back down under the neck, chin hand slides up and a finger hooks into the trachea and slice between the separated vertebrae.

With practice and experience, 5 to 7 seconds from hammer strike to decapitated head tossed out of the race.
 
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I second Craig's suggestion. A .22 with the muzzle placed directly on the forehead will make next to no sound. A person across the yard will not even here it.

A .22 to the head is hands down the most humane.
 
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Be warned that resting the barrel of a rifle on something and firing is always a bad idea. Give at least a few inches, better a few feet. I invested in a captive bolt gun. It works great. I home slaughtered and butchered three 5-600 lb pigs this year, first time, with zero problems.
 
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I just wanted to share that we raise our pigs free range and almost as pets. So, getting them falling down drunk is a great way to manage selective harvesting.  The oldest sows recognize guns the moment they catch the scent when we step out of the house.

So, if a no gun method is what you need to do,  get them stupid drunk it will be much easier to handle them.
 
Daniel Bowman
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How much alky does it take for yours? We tried a case of pbr on our three 5-600 lbers and it just made them more raucous. I would probably soak corn in a gallon of vodka if I tried it again.
 
Brie Robb
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Daniel Bowman wrote:How much alky does it take for yours? We tried a case of pbr on our three 5-600 lbers and it just made them more raucous. I would probably soak corn in a gallon of vodka if I tried it again.



Ours are little. (I chuckle)  corn soaked with vodka might do the job, we use cheep beer, sugar and some cheep whisky. We keep pouring until they are falling down
and have not a care in the world.
 
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Captive bolt is your answer.  Otherwise, I would say that if you can't shoot them, get them tanked up til they're rolling on the ground, then wack them in the head with a sledge hammer, then stick 'em.  Trying to get them with a hammer right off the bat, I dunno, I could see you missing a solid shot, this poor piggy is now hurt and terrified, you're terrified that you hurt him, everybody traumatized, it's just not good all around.  
 
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i'll never forget experience i had 35 or so years agi in suburbs of miami, went to buy a car from these people, the were chasing after a pig with a hammer in their fenced backyard, standard 80'x120' house lot,  they smashed it's skull in
 
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I have a cordless nailer that drives a 4in spike. I'm sure this sort of tool would work, if aimed properly. Being a nail gun, it doesn't shoot nails through the air. It must be pushed against a solid surface, before it will fire. A 4in spike to the brain, should do it. The trigger can be depressed, and then the tool bounced against the wood that is to be nailed. A very narrow slot in a manger, filled with something tasty, could keep the operator safe, while limiting the pig's movement.

I have never tried anything like this. Just speculating out loud.

I have sometimes wondered if this would be the right tool to use, in the event of a home invasion. Maybe I've seen Home Alone too many times.
 
bruce Fine
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that sounds kinda like a air powered bolt gun they use in slaughter houses
 
Dale Hodgins
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Despite the graphic nature of it, a guillotine would probably be the most humane method of dispatching many creatures. Unlike people they wouldn't know what's coming.

Set up a separate manger, away from other critters. It should have a narrow slot and be deep enough, that the pig has to really reach his neck in there to get molasses that has poured down the back side of it. Absolutely stress-free. He would die happy. There's no running around, squealing when a guillotine is used. The victim would quickly bleed out. Clean up the blood, and bring on the next victim. Let's call this special pen the Bastille.
 
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This is just a thought. Remington .22lr Subsonic ammunition makes about the same sound as a pellet rifle when used in one of my vintage longer barreled rifles.  They also make.  . 22 cal CB longs which make even less noise than that. Placement would be the key as mentioned above.  Aquila used to make a .22 caliber cartridge called Sniper Sub Sonic ( SSS). It features a heavy 60gr bullet and was originally made for use with a sub caliber conversion for 5,56.  Very quiet and does pack a decent punch for a .22.   Larry
 
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Jack Walden wrote:Hi all, I'm looking to butcher two kunekune pigs that are about 100 lbs each. I I live in the suburbs where everyone gets their pork from Costco and  Although I own fire arms, I don't think I can use them to shoot my pigs, with out a neighbor calling the police.  Does anyone have any experience with an alternative humane killing method? Thanks in advance  



You can call the police and let them know what you are going to do prior to doing the deed.
That way if/when neighbors call them, they can let the caller know what was going on, that they know about it and it will be fine.

When I lived in the city I ended up having to dispatch a opossum, I called the  police and informed them that I was about to discharge a firearm and why I was about to discharge it.
They told me thank you, if any calls come in we will inform the caller that we know about it and that it was approved.
All there was to it.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Despite the graphic nature of it, a guillotine would probably be the most humane method of dispatching many creatures. Unlike people they wouldn't know what's coming.

Set up a separate manger, away from other critters. It should have a narrow slot and be deep enough, that the pig has to really reach his neck in there to get molasses that has poured down the back side of it. Absolutely stress-free. He would die happy. There's no running around, squealing when a guillotine is used. The victim would quickly bleed out. Clean up the blood, and bring on the next victim. Let's call this special pen the Bastille.



Dale, I've never had a hog not squeal when picked up so I rather doubt that there would be no noise or stress to the animal hoisting it onto a guillotine board and since you would need to restrain it from trying to get loose, more stress on the animal.

Going gun less or captive bolt less can be done, just be fast and soothing and stick the hog, then let it bleed out, it doesn't take long and the animal doesn't suffer much at all.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Not hoisting. Allowing the animal to walk into the structure and stick its head in, because there is a tasty treat inside.

These cattle chose to stick their heads through the bars. Imagine a smaller opening, with strong sides. Maybe two upright I beams, with a channel that would allow a 1 inch chunk of plate steel cut on a 45 degree angle and sharpened to quickly slice off the head.

Something the shape of this coffee cup, with a sticky treat deep inside. Pigs have a short neck, so we need to make them reach.
feeding1.jpg
[Thumbnail for feeding1.jpg]
20170821_140310.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20170821_140310.jpg]
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Gotcha, that might be doable, My hogs don't have a neck but they are lard hogs so it would be tough to get them set just right in a chute. It looks to me like my hogs have maybe 2 vertebrae for a neck because the distance from back of ears to front of shoulder is only about 2 inches.

I love the idea, I know it would work with pinks, they have more neck than AGH do.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It could also work for geese, swans, ostriches and Brachiosaurus.
 
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Many years ago I worked in a packing plant.  They stunned the hogs with an electric shock.  There was a "beam" with one electrode on each end. One was placed at the base of the skull the other on the spine just above the hip. Of course it was 240 lb butcher pigs 10 hours a day.  So, the tool was a match to the size of the pig. The pigs would be unconscious and still long enough to cut the throat and hang them on the rail (about 15 seconds).  Once they were hanging they would begin to kick.  But, there was no squealing.  

I don't know anything about how many volts or amps the shock was.  But, I know there are tazers out there designed to do the same thing for self defense purposes.  If someone was spending money on special tool to do the job this might be an option. It might take a little fabrication to put the electrodes in the right places.
 
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What would be the disadvantage if any of hitting it in the head with a full size sledge hammer to really knock it out then cutting the jugular? Would that just injure but not necessarily knock it out? Or would it kill it outright and make bleeding impossible?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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John, the problem with the "knock in the head" method is the small target.  
If you are aiming for the Nickle sized target with a hammer swing and you miss, you just ticked off the hog.
I usually relate the hog kill target with that of an alligator, on an alligator you have a quarter sized target at the back of the skull, miss and you have one mad gator on your hands.
With hogs the target is the x of a line drawn from right ear to left eye and left ear to right eye, the skull is very thick on a hog, about 3 times thicker than a gator's skull.
That means that if you miss, you may give that hog a head ache, but you also just put it in the fight or flight mode and hogs have powerful jaws and boars have razor sharp tusk teeth.
Fight or flight and boar or even sow teeth can be a lethal situation for a human.

The captive bolt guns came about from misses with a sledge hammer at slaughter houses.

I use a 22 LR bullet in a rifle, I can get the barrel exactly on target and then it is one shot, one kill. Once I have them down, it's easy to stick the carotid artery and bleed them out, they are already dead but don't know it at that point.

Redhawk
 
John Natoli
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I ended up killing one of my pigs this past Friday with a 22. I can't imagine having done it any other way — it was hard enough to get a good shot from less than a foot away with a 22; those things don't stay still around me for a second.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The best way to get a hog to stand fairly still is to have it in a pen alone and put down some food, they will settle in to eat and then you can get a good shot off if you don't hesitate.
 
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dont try to shoot a pig with anything like a 22 short or subsonic or a cb cap!!  a 22mgnum will always do the job.
 
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What about something larger like a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun or a 243 win; too much damage? we don't have a pig yet .
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Using even a 22 mag can send skull fragments into the meat of the hog thus ruining the shoulders and other parts. A 22 Long Rifle is all that is needed.

Larger calibers will push many bone fragments into the hogs shoulders and chest areas, making a mess of your carcass.

The only time to use larger than a 22 LR is if you are hunting wild, feral hogs. In which case you want to drop them fast because a wounded hog is quite dangerous.

Redhawk
 
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