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How much TIME per animal according to species? (killing + butchering) Tips for saving time

 
pollinator
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I had the idea it might be useful to know this and to gather all about TIMING in one thread!
Also if people who counted their time while doing it could share, to get an idea of the differences according to experience.
It can also be intersting to know how to save time with sharing our tips!

I have killed several animals only of the kuy . guinea pig until now.
When I kill a kuy I know I need 1 hour ahead of time including taking it and cleaning after. I also know that it can be much shorter if I am lucky with the hair plucking!

In kuys, guts are also eaten, and the time to clean Vs the amount is not really interesting (well, try it fried and crispy, it looks like noodles!). The upper gut is just squeezed between fingers, and the colon part needs to be opened, and it breaks easily. Feeding pure fennel the day before makes the global smell much nicer, and you can also keep the whole stomach and cook it with its content, as it is fresh.

The time to pluck the hairs Vs removing the skinIS very interesting! The weight of the skin compaired to the meat makes it worth it. Add the quality of broth and the special type of protein giving gelatine: glycine, and it makes you forget about skinning them! 40% skin - 60% meat.
There will be a difference of time to remove hairs according to the period of the year, as they sometimes have short growing hair. It might be that curly hair goes away better and that the hot water goes more regularly under the hairs and until the skin.
Males bite each other on the lower back if they are with females, and wounds make the job more difficult.

The head is worth it but now I cut the ears away.
I also save time by killing with the shock on the head, as I do not have to cut the throat nor let bleed.
I do not know if the bleeding is very important for this animal. I do not mind the content of blood that indeed show in the organs.

With these 2 animals, kuy and chicken, as we keep the skin on, time saving is on the hability to pluck, thus calculating the right temperature and the right time to let it in. Rubbing the skin sometimes goes faster than plucking for cuys, and let the skin clear. It can be nearly done in 5 mns! Burning is faster to remove a few hairs that are left.
(hair plucking is a topic in itself so I will not go further into it here)

I am interrested for goats, sheep and pig...
Also specifically the time needed if we decide to eat stomachs and guts, thus cleaning, Vs giving it all to some omnivore animal like pig and hen.

Thanks for adding more about what you know!
 
master steward
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I think it depends greatly on how many animals you're butchering at the same time, how often you do it and the facilities you have for processing.  On my homestead I usually butcher 4 chickens at a go.  It takes about 45 minutes per bird to catch, kill, pluck, gut and bring inside to the missus.  She takes about 20 minutes to clean and package.

To do a deer takes about 20 hours to catch  Then it's a half hour to gut and a half hour to skin.  Then I get meat off the carcass in about 2 hours, tease apart soup bones and ribs for the crock pot for an hour and trim up hunks of meat for the grinder for 2 hours.  Grinding and packaging takes another hour or two.

I'm clearly not an expert.  The time saving things I've found are to do multiple birds in the same day (one set-up and one clean up).  Having scalding water hot enough really makes plucking go easier.  Based on my last deer, butchering it before it freezes in the garage would likely save lots of time and cold fingers.
 
pollinator
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My husband and I split poultry killing tasks. It takes us an average of 15 mins a bird. This is helped along by our facilities, which are great (plucker makes a big time difference).

We have not killed any of our pigs yet but I'm psyched to do it and interested to see how long it takes us.
 
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Chicken slaughter day took 4 adults probably 5 hours to process 46 birds.  That's not counting some time spent trouble shooting some equipment issues or a break for lunch.  Total clock time was probably 8 hours, with a good 1.5 hours each for equipment problems and lunch.  So 2.3 birds per hour per person average.  But it was the first time for basically all of us.  I had slaughtered a couple previously, but the other 3 people hadn't done anything like it before ever.  So with experience that would be able to be sped up quite a bit.

Haven't dealt with domestic rabbits, but the wild ones I've killed I can skin and gut them in about 10 minutes each with a less than optimal setup.  With more practice and a better setup I bet rabbits could be skinned and gutted in about 3-5 minutes.

With elk (hunted) we've got to the point where we (3 adults) can gut and skin it in about 2 hours under nearly ideal conditions.  It's taken as long as 8 hours when the animal runs into a mud-hole to die.  We're getting better all the time, and developing the tools to make it go faster.
 
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The first hog Wolf and I slaughtered took 9 hours from stun to packaged, we skinned it because we were not set up to scald and de-hair.
This particular hog was around 150 - 175 lbs.
 
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I agree with above it depends on your equipment as for chickens we have an industrial scolder and plucker with cones for dispatching and can do close to a hundred chickens in an hour between my brother and me, That is with him cleaning the chickens as he can do 5 in the time it takes me to do one. But I can dispatch 8 birds cold and pluck in about 4 minutes that's 120 birds an hour without any issues and my brother can keep up rather quickly with me. there is no set time for anything its all based off method and equipment, we have used the scolder to scold a goat before and removed the hair off it for a roast someone was having it was just as fast as skinning the hide off for us did this with a few roasting hogs as well.
 
pollinator
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A lot of you guys are pretty fast at this stuff. When I butchered my own chickens, it took me close to an hour per bird. I was usually working alone, and my set up was definitely less than ideal. Just plucking took close to 20 minutes. I am kind of a perfectionist though, so that would make it take a bit longer.

If I were to try a larger animal such as a sheep, goat, or pig. I would plan the whole day to do it. I would set up a lot of stuff the day before, then start early. This will allow for mistakes and things to take longer than expected. There is a learning curve to these things and there is no point in trying to do more than you are capable of. It just leads to frustration.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Leora Laforge wrote:A lot of you guys are pretty fast at this stuff. When I butchered my own chickens, it took me close to an hour per bird. I was usually working alone, and my set up was definitely less than ideal. Just plucking took close to 20 minutes. I am kind of a perfectionist though, so that would make it take a bit longer.

If I were to try a larger animal such as a sheep, goat, or pig. I would plan the whole day to do it. I would set up a lot of stuff the day before, then start early. This will allow for mistakes and things to take longer than expected. There is a learning curve to these things and there is no point in trying to do more than you are capable of. It just leads to frustration.



Plucking by hand is just a chore.  No matter how good you are you are you'll never beat a machine, in time or thoroughness, whether dry or wet plucking.  When I process meat chickens it's a big day, but I rent equipment that makes it all doable.  Being able to scald 3 at a time, and then pluck those 3 in under 30 seconds just makes what would otherwise be an impossible job possible.

For a goat or pig or whatever setting aside a full day is fine but probably excessive.  Mainly because you shouldn't butcher the same day you slaughter.  A practiced hand can kill, skin and gut a 100-300lb mammal in under an hour.  Probably in 20-30 minutes.  So giving yourself 3-4 hours is plenty.  But then it needs to go into a walk in cooler for a couple days to weeks depending on the animal and how much aging you want.  Minimum 1 day at least so rigor mortis can relax.  For a beginner, allowing another several hours to butcher is fine.  So, all told, a full day is what you probably will spend first time through, it should just be broken up into at least 2 different days.  And with a cooler at proper temp and humidity you could certainly split the butchery up over 2 or more days on it's own.  You could process the lower quality sections of the animal first to get some practice and confidence.  Then get some rest and come back to the best bits.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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As Leora said, it is frustrating and removes the hope to be able to do all this at home and in small scale. I can understand how much easier is our society by having developped specialised work, though we have gone too far now.

We cannot have a machine or even rent it (and here I would find none of those solutions...) for eating 1 or 2 chickens a week!
 
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Something I found annoying about butchering smaller animals was that you had to do it so much more often. It is really grating to finish a day of work and then have to do that. I would much prefer doing it less often but haven't a larger, more involved animal to deal with.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:As Leora said, it is frustrating and removes the hope to be able to do all this at home and in small scale. I can understand how much easier is our society by having developped specialised work, though we have gone too far now.

We cannot have a machine or even rent it (and here I would find none of those solutions...) for eating 1 or 2 chickens a week!



If you are slaughtering the 1-2 chickens weekly to eat fresh, you're right.  It's not practical to rent equipment, and set up/clean up time would also be impractical for that..  I might eat a chicken or two a week, but I'll process a whole year's worth in one day, then freeze it.  That is where the equipment is beneficial.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Andrew, this is handy, but you need a freezer! Live animal keep better "at room temperature".... ;)
(I just could not resist the joke...)

Now I can also add why there are no equipment for chicken here.... Nobody use would it, even professionally, because the slaughter house does not accept chicken! So ALL the chicken sold in La Palma island come from the bigger island of Tenerife! Of course they arrive already processed.

People still have hens at home, and still process by hand. But they seldom do it and mostly have hens for eggs. Roosters are easy to find but I am not super interrested ...they are all GMO fed. All corn is GMO in Spain, and very few people put the price in organic corn.
 
pollinator
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The last pig we had slaughtered (December 2018) was a 3+ year old breeding sow, 354kg. From drop to hanging the 4 quarters in my garage was 90 minutes including skinning and giving the stomach and intestines a first wash-out.  However, the processing which we started 5 days later took 3 days including butchering, tasting, mincing and dicing, sausage making, tasting, brining bacon and gammon cuts, making and jarring larding, boning out the head and boiling, packaging for the freezer.  We have used / are using 95% of the organs, and the skin was washed, cut into strips and roasted for dog treats.
20190128_143255.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190128_143255.jpg]
The four quarters hanging in my garage, about 90 minutes after the sow was shot.
 
pollinator
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I take about 20 minutes to do a rabbit, start to finish if I'm out of practice, about 12 minutes after the second, but knife sharpness/sharpening can be a factor, and I keep the heart and liver.  Chickens take me about the same, though I've mostly done spent hens and hand plucked.  I have a good sized pot at 160F ish and they pluck alright, but younger birds are faster.  I keep the hearts and livers.  

I love quail.  I skin them and butterfly them, so I'm losing the skin, but I just cut off the head from behind with shears, cut the wings and legs, cut off the vent, skin, cut out the backbone and scoop it out.  Guess what I keep.  I find I can do them in 4-5 minutes after the first couple, though I've seen them cleaned that way in about 2 minutes.  

I don't actually mind plucking chickens, but the water temp and a little soap helps a lot.  I'd love to do cornish x, and hopefully will this year.  I age them all in the fridge for 2-3 days, dry but in meat bins with lids, then vac seal them.  Because I cut the legs and wings off the quail, I found wrapping a small piece of heavy duty tinfoil around the bones prevents holes in the plastic.
 
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I don't know how safe it is, but when I ate meat I liked to go easy-mode: burn off the feathers and eat the beastie whole, head, stomach, legs and all.

You learn to love the taste of burnt feathers and head-cheese soup.

Fish guts are especially unoffensive.

Zero waste generated lessens pollution, prevents attracting vermin and is a way to respect the life you took.
 
Timothy Markus
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Jondo Almondo wrote:I don't know how safe it is, but when I ate meat I liked to go easy-mode: burn off the feathers and eat the beastie whole, head, stomach, legs and all.

You learn to love the taste of burnt feathers and head-cheese soup.

Fish guts are especially unoffensive.

Zero waste generated lessens pollution, prevents attracting vermin and is a way to respect the life you took.



Colour me intrigued.  I've never heard of that approach before.  

With quail and rabbit, I eat the meat, liver and heart, give the lungs and kidneys to the dogs, and the rest to the chickens.  With chickens, I compost the rest and give it to the garden.  Do you eat or remove the gall bladder and guts?  What kind of clean-out or food deprivation do you do before slaughter?
 
Jondo Almondo
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Zero clean-out or organ removal. Flame off feathers.
Take off beak and toenails. Collect the blood only to toss it into the stew.
Dilute the gall in a big stew.
Contents of the crop become the thickener. Long cooking time.

Head used for first small stew - delicacy.
Put the feet in a final pot (much scrubbing and scalding on these) for the days-long simmering stock (and cartilage).

I thought that a few hours boiling should clean up anything except for pig heartworm [citation needed] {not to be construed as advice}. The days of simmering was just to preserve the meals as I had no fridge or freezer (and I wanted to extract every calorie from the carcass).

My birds weren't on pellets, so purging didn't feel necessary, but I'd often do a few days of just herbs and water, partly for seasoning, but more-so for mental preparation.

In retrospect, I wish I'd had a pressure cooker to be 100% sure about safety.
Since those times, whenever I smell burning hair, it reminds me of flaming off the feathers and I suddenly feel hungry.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I definitely want that we stay on track with the title for the sake of further searching...
TIME
So.... can gaining TIME make LOOSE either time or something else later?
I think so.

So I will argue about the value and use of time spent for killing and butchering, and for the cooking points, we'd better make a new post!

Jondo Almondo wrote:Zero clean-out or organ removal. Flame off feathers.
Take off beak and toenails. Collect the blood only to toss it into the stew.
Dilute the gall in a big stew.
Contents of the crop become the thickener.

Long cooking time.

Put the feet in a final pot (much scrubbing and scalding on these) for the days-long simmering stock (and cartilage).

I thought that a few hours boiling should clean up anything
no fridge or freezer (and I wanted to extract every calorie from the carcass).

In retrospect, I wish I'd had a pressure cooker to be 100% sure about safety.



1- Take time to do a clean job!
One hand for the skin on hair side, and one hand exclusively for inside the skin and touching meat.

Ok, when you cook, you sterilize and can do something else... and save time?
BUT you do not extract more calories, you loose some! And you loose protein quality.

I have noticed that the less cooked, the less I have to eat for the same satisfaction. Also there are some elements that turn into GAS, and fat being carbon and hydrogen....
I don't know if some nitrogen escape, but cooking definitely DAMAGE part of the proteins.

So we'd better be clean from the start, take time, and respect the energy that the animal offers!
No long cooking, no pressure cooker for proteins.

No fridge? Another reason for doing a clean job from the start!

Yes you can boil every day, but it does not mean long cooking from the start. I finish everything in the crock pot, and even bones turn out edible. But I begin with eating raw all I can eat raw. I assure you that the meat is more tender, and that cooking harden the meat. Then it needs long cooking. I finish with some more cooking so that I can get access to what is very hard or very near the bones. Nutrition also goes to the broth. Part of my cooking is thus long because it is repeated, allowing me to eat the same animal during several days.
I have also kept raw meat in sauerkraut and it works. You can also use lemon juice of vinegar, especially with pork as this meat is better eaten fermented.

2- I have no problem about keeping the gall bladder, after all they sell this in capsules.... helping digest fats!

3- Scrubbing feet? Jeez no need to!

Nearly boiling water, scald and remove feathers, burn only the remnants instead of burning the whole lot.

Scald the feet and you will remove the covering of both feet, toes and even nails like a glove!
Yes you can even keep the nails, they are pink and clean after removing the outside skin...

4- Gut cleaning:
I have seen this for guinea pigs in Peru: just express what comes out of the small intestine, but open and clean inside for the colon part.
I have fed guinea pigs fennel before killing, and it is indeed good for eating the whole lot cooked together.
I try to separate the fat from the guts of bigger animals. I still have this if I fail to prepare the guts and give them to hens...

5- Tips for saving time?
You were right spot on the topic, I agree! But IMO you loose too much by doing this way.

And again, I would love to discuss any of the cooking points in another post. I just touch them a bit, for the sake of explaining why it is better to take the time needed.
 
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