Hi all; After waiting almost an extra month and a half, Fennel met the butcher today. Normally my pigs leave in the pickup truck and come home in the subaru... This year fennel has left in the mobile butcher truck.(She will get to ride home in the subaru) The butcher arrived about 2 pm and was leaving at 3:30! Obviously not his first piggy... fast , efficient, clean. On board hot water , nifty metal stand to lay her on. Nice boom winch to drag her out of the pen and lift her up . He had already done 3 beef before arriving at my house. Tomorrow I'll call the butcher shop to give cut instructions and get a hanging weight on her. (my guess is #220-#240) Having a single piggy has been a strain on both of us .She was very lonely and very needy and felt the need to fix this with FOOD... almost #400 of grain , apples, and produce.... affectionately called the FAT GIRL for the last few weeks. This was an interesting experience, I wish I could follow her rite up to the cutting shop and learn how to turn a carcass into sausage and bacon. Of course that is not allowed in a public butcher shop. Cost for mobile slaughter was $60 plus $6 mileage so for $66.00 I did not have to drive my 40 + year old pickup (at 8 mpg) 65 miles each way to deliver her to the butcher. Hmm not sure how I would like watching all 3 piggys be processed.. I asked and the butcher admitted that the last piggy would know what was happening and not be happy... But... not taking the pickup that far sure has its appeal... Hope the pictures are not to graphic .
Just talked to the butcher, #277 hanging weight ! She really was a Fat Girl ! Angelika, I agree, it was totally stress free for fennel.... she thought she was getting a treat. Not sure about doing three in a row though...
and that's weight without skin since I see she was skinned! I totaly agree that animals should be killed on farm, I cannot see any point in stressing a live animal to take it to die when a dead one is much easier to transport.
Fennels sisters , sage and rosemary went to the butcher on October 18th ... hanging weight on them was #154, #155. 50 days later, fennel came in at #277 ! #122 lb gain 7 weeks . during that time she finished off the end of the bulk grain and then polished off #400 more grain plus , numerous apples (she changed her mind about apples) daily boxes of produce from the local store, and all the throwaway pumpkind /squash that we could get our hands on (She REALLY liked squash!). She was originally supposed to meet the mobile butcher on the 13th of November, I think if she had she would have been about #200-210 hanging weight ... a much better size than the FAT GIRL.... We will be swimming in cutlets and pork chops though ... so I better get the smoker warmed up! Smoked pork chops with smoked baked potatoes and garlic green beans on the side any one ???
If I ever won the lottery (yes, I do dream about this from time to time...I'm not the only one!), I would start a Mobile Slaughter company, among other things. It would need to be heavily subsidized (hence the need for lottery winnings), I assume, as it appears that these types of things might be going the way of the Dodo bird. I'm hopeful they aren't.
I would want each mobile unit to be capable of harvesting AND processing a different type of animal. For sure, the pig slaughter-mobiles will be capable of scalding and de-hairing the pig so that the wonderful skin is not wasted. I would want each mobile slaughter team to be highly educated and specialized in their animal type, and well-paid (subsidizing). You want Chinese-style sausage, French Pâté de Campagne, a country ham all from one pig? No problem. I think a lot more people would be interested in raising their own meat if the harvesting and processing parts of the operation were extremely convenient and affordable (subsidizing).
Ideally, the farm family would be able to lend a hand to as much or as little of the work as they'd like. Many people (myself included) are interested in doing it themselves, but having not ever done it before, or having not been raised in a hunting family, the idea of tackling anything larger than a chicken or a duck is extremely intimidating. Not to mention the fact that slaughter and processing might only take place a couple times per year, which doesn't lend itself to becoming proficient.
I find it fascinating that she put on that kind of weight after she was isolated/alone. I've never heard that before -- hogs medicating their loneliness by eating like a "pig". How human of her.
I'd be curious to see what would happen if she was reintroduced to her sisters (an impossibility, I know) after that long separation. Would she shed some of those pounds? Would she slow down and not eat so much?
It does seem like an interesting strategy for finishing animals if you wanted to rapidly put on 50 lbs. or so. Just isolate them, and then let them eat all they want.
Post Tenebras Lux
Until further notice, we will celebrate everything.
Hi Marco; It is amazing how "human" like piggys really are. They are much more intelligent than any dog. I have heard of people who refuse to eat pork after interacting with pigs, and realizing what a sentient being they really are . Trying to separate a pig for rapid weight gain would only work if there were NO piggys within miles . A 300 # pig is incredibly strong and would break out and travel if she even though that there was another pig within reach. The other reason it is not recommended is what I experienced, you become an instant member of her herd ... Ok if you have nothing to do but hang out in the pig pen... But if you would prefer not to do that be prepared for squealing, grunting ... fence trashing ... better to have at least two.
Corrie, I like the idea, but I think that the execution might be a little different, done economically. Or the execution might be a little more economical, done differently.
I think that artisanal butchery is a craft all on its own. I think that it would be much more economically feasible to have a mobile slaughter trailer, and the person who operates that trailer either is the meatsmith themselves, or has an arrangement with one at a central location. Or more than one, depending on specialities. French charcuterie isn't Polish sausage making, after all.
To add to that, one person can more easily learn how to kill a few different types of animal and how to break them down for butchery than any group of people can learn the same thing AND how to butcher them properly AND/OR how to prepare meat products for curing.
Although I agree with the point about the scalding tub. It would be best for the mobile slaughter wagon/trailer to be outfitted with a complete kit for harvesting and breaking down animals, in every particular.
I think, and agree with those others who have brought up the sentiment, that killing the animals on the farm is important. They don't even have one bad day. They have one surprise that turns out to be not what they thought it was. No stress, no pain. I would be thinking up some kind of corral arrangement that would keep the ones to be processed from figuring out what was going on, ideally, but I think that the last one to go having an inkling of what the last surprise is, while unfortunate, is better by an order of magnitude than stressing out a whole truckload of pigs by (you guessed it) loading them onto a truck, shipping them at high-speeds to parts unknown where it smells of ancient pig death, and then having them wait for their turns.
I think that if the meat came back from the butcher and then a meatsmith came by to process or teach or both, then that would be something for customers to consider after the butchery. The business connections could all be made beforehand, allowing the person with the mobile slaughter unit, or the person on the phone before the unit ever arrives on the farm, to arrange for butchery, optional charcuterie from anyone in this network of meatsmiths, and delivery or pickup from a central location.
I like this idea. I will learn how to dispatch, break down, and butcher my own animals at need, and I really want to learn me some charcuterie beyond easy patés, but I can see where this sort of option is a make-or-break thing with some permies wanting to raise and eat their own animals.
Thanks for the great pics, Thomas!
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Location: San Francisco, CA for the time being
posted 10 months ago
John C Daley wrote:I am curious as to why you think your proposed dream mobile slaughter system needs to be subsidised.
Surely it would need to be run so its economically sustainable with no subsidy at all?
I would subsidize my dream system because I'd want to keep the service very affordable, yet have well-educated, highly paid teams manning the units.
Using this post as our example, this pig slaughter cost $66. That's incredible...for the owner of the pig. The mobile slaughter guy was at the farm for 1 1/2 hours. The farm is 65 miles from the butcher shop, but we'll tack on just an hour more for travel time for this particular client as he had, and typically would have, other clients along the way. So, 2 1/2 hours for $66 = $26.40/hr. Minus fuel costs. Minus equipment costs. Etcetera. I don't think I need to go any further to show that this guy is probably living at the poverty line. I don't think this would entice many to take the torch from him when he decides to retire.
Additionally, my intention would be to drastically increase the numbers of these units in order to encourage those whose only reason for not raising their own meat, is that "one bad day."
I don't know all the rules and regulations, but I do know that there are a lot of rules and regulations. This article is quite sobering. And this one. The system is broken. The only USDA-inspected mobile slaughter truck in California (as of 2014), was subsidized by nearly $140,000, and still sat unused for years. And, due to all those rules and regulations, most ranches and farms can't accommodate it.
Hi Corrie; Each pig I had done would have cost $60.00. The $6 was a mileage to my ranch extra charge. If I had done all three piggys it would have cost me $186. The mobile butcher had already butchered , three other pigs and 3 beef cows. He is not living at poverty level I assure you (by rural Montana standards anyway) . He is directly tied in with the cutting shop. He kills and preps them and then delivers to the cut shop. They take all my instructions and make the sausage , pork chops , roasts, bacon and hams anyway I want , then call me when she is ready to ride home in the subaru, in nifty little white packages!
Mobile butchers may be practically regulated out of existence in California but here in N.W. Montana they are common place. On the years I transport my pigs to the butcher I still pay a $50.00 kill fee, per pig.
Not all who wander are lost... J.R.R. Tolkien
Location: San Francisco, CA for the time being
posted 10 months ago
I'm familiar with the process, Thomas. I lived in Montana for most of my life---the better part of 30 years---having just sold my home there this past summer. And, I've used a mobile slaughter team, and had my meat come back in little white packages!
And, there very well may be lots of operations like this, though not USDA-Inspected (which might only be necessary if the farmer would like to then go on to sell the meat), in California, too.
All I'm saying is, I would like to see more of it, and if I won the lottery, I would put up the money in the beginning to make it happen. Also, I'd like the system to be able to process the meat on the farm (which might be where the USDA-Inspection becomes necessary...even at your cutting shop in Montana...?).