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How to tell when to butcher.

 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Sounds like a stupid question but since I see them every day I just can't tell. So without stringing them up on a scale (A feat that I think would be nigh impossible at this point) is there a clear sign? They don't seem as big as the pigs I see at fair but every time someone comes to see my little piggies they tell me they're huge. So...I dunno.

We got them in October. At the time they were 60lbs. It gets cold here. Not sure what else ya'd need to know.

A picture maybe?
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3 year old with pigs
 
Su Ba
pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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First, there's a tape measure that you can by to measure the pigs and give you an approximation as to their weight. There's also a formukaf you can use and measure them with a standard tape measure and calculate the weight. Of course this is assuming that the pig will stand still and let you put the tape around them. I don't recall the formula, but searching the Internet might turn it up.

A pig can be slaughtered at any size you want. I've even done them early for use on a spit or as luau piglets. Or I can wait for them to get about 6 months old for bigger chops and roasts. Or even wait until they are 1-2 years old for bigger yet.

My four criteria for determining when I slaughter a pig...
...it's filled out nicely and not skinny.
...it's got to be a size that I can handle it by myself.
...there has got to be room in the freezer.
...and if local food sources run out, such as during a drought year, then the pigs go into the freezer. I don't wish to buy expensive commercial feed just to grow the pigs bigger.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Eli; Looking at them every day it is hard to tell. We watch their butt as they walk away... if it jiggles then they are ready. I hope for a hanging weight of #210-230 as optimal. I buy #1000 grain for each pig... when its almost gone its time to visit the butcher! Wait till you try your first home grown pork chop yum-yum!
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Using the calculation they're 230-250. Suppose they're ready to go then. Now to trailer train them. Though honestly, they're so used to being handled by us they'd probably just go on in for apples.

Now the debate is whether to have the slaughter house package them or just kill, scrape and halve them. We really wanted to do our own butchering but we have them at the wrong time. It's pretty warm here and we have no access to cold storage. So best to allow the slaughter house to do it. I would like to cut my own personal meat sizes though. oh the debate. My lazy side keeps telling me just to let them do it.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Elle; We cut & wrap all our deer , elk & beef... but when it comes to the piggys I find it easier to let the professionals cut, brine, smoke and wrap. I know that I could easily learn the correct way of butchering them ,and I could learn how to brine & smoke the bacon , hams & hocks. But do I really want to build a smoker & do all that extra work ? Not really, I'm busy enough as it is. Be very clear with your butcher , how thick to cut , how many pieces per package, cut the hams in half or leave them whole. For me I like to bring them home in little white packages ! My suggestion to you is, unless your set up to deal with butchering piggys ... let the professionals do it this time. You can always do your own butchering in the future.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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