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DIY Slaughter, and Raising Animals for Animal Feed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone! I'm pretty new around here. DH and I have been longing for our own little homestead/farm for AGES, and we're finally about to get it, when we move east, to Prince Edward Island, next spring, with our first little one, due in December.

 

So, for now, it's just dreaming and planning and longing. Meaning this question is a little ahead of myself....smile.gif nonetheless, I'm wondering:

 

Have any of you slaughtered your own larger-than-a-chicken animals? Primarily, I'm thinking hogs. Any good recommendations for learning such a skill?

 

I've done chickens myself, but nothing larger, and there's not a slaughterhouse nearby, so it will likely come down to an at-home job.

 

Also, as our goal is to raise most of our own food, and we have two little pet cats, we'd like to try to raise their food as well (eventually!). I think we'll do chickens, with eggs, vegetables, and maybe a vitamin supplement (which is basically what their canned food contains). Anyone raised animals for animal feed?

post #2 of 17
My husband butchered his first pig this year. He got a friend to show him how to do it, He said it was easier then he expected.
post #3 of 17

When we killed hogs back in Hungary once the hog was dead we ran a flame over the body,split in 2 havles,and spent the day processing. I was young and got the job of cleaning the guts,and stirring the vat that was cooking the fat. We ate sooooo good that day.Nothing beat the fresh food we had that day.

 

 I am sure you will find videos on line. It was hard work,but the hardest part for me was the actual killing.

post #4 of 17

I want to do the same thing (hogs).  I have a friend who does her own, with her dh.  She said the first couple of times they had someone come out and do it so that they could watch - which I thought was a great idea.  Other than that she watched youtube videos. 

post #5 of 17

We started off with chickens, then moved onto goats, deer, and finally hogs.  Other than the poultry, once the gutting and skinning is done, everything underneath is pretty much the same, just the size is different.  Young goats are easy to handle by just one person and we manage to do two young goats in about 5 hours from start to finish, that includes everything cut up and in the freezer.

 

A whole hog is another story, it takes us 2 half days to get the job done, plus more for meat curing and smoking.  The first day, the pig is shot, hung using an ATV and a winch, gutted, skinned (we don't do the scalding and scraping) and the lard making process is started.  We do this with just the two of us.  The second day, we have three people working to cut the hog up into edible pieces to freeze and wrap, grind, or to start the curing process.  I also make liverwurst from the liver and heart.

 

I'd recommend starting with a smaller animal, like lambs and goat kids, just to learn the basics.  If you mess up a cut, it goes into the grinding or stewing pile of meat.  If you really mess up, the dogs and cats love the extra scraps and bones.  We don't raise animals specifically for feeding to our dogs and cats, but there are always a lot of extras for them to eat for a few weeks after a hog day.  

 

My favourite book for butchering is "Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game" by John Mettler.  Very clear, good pictures and great recipes too!

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone! What excellent responses!

Of course, Youtube! I've learned to do so much from videos there. And I'll definitely get a hold of the book you recommend, olaz-b, and either start with a small animal, or get someone who's knows what he/she's up to to help.

post #7 of 17

Olaz-b, I'm very interested in how you make lard w/out scalding and scraping.  I didn't know it was doable!  We butcher feral pigs all the time, and just skin them.  I've wanted to do an old fashioned lard rendering, but don't like scalding and scraping (we're not so well set up for handling the larger animals yet).  We are currently looking for a hoist or something to be able to lift the pigs we have now later on.  We have 9 (soon to be 16) wild pigs in a pen behind our house.  We will feed out 2 of them to market weight.

 

Ok, so I also suggest, OP, that you start w/a small goat or something.  Or a small pig.  We regularly do rabbits, chickens, guineas, ducks, goats, and feral pigs here.  The book recommended upthread is great-my mom has it and I've read it.  Also, youtube is great.  Find someone who's willing to give hands-on lessons.  Just ask around or post on craigslist!  We've given butchering lessons in exchange for meat.  One couple brought out 2 goats, we butchered them both, and kept one.  I taught the wife all about cutting and packaging.  Once we needed help w/the 40 some odd rabbits we needed to butcher and taught a neighbor how as he helped and sent him home w/about 5 rabbits.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 17

Chicky2, the idea of scalding and scraping, just seemed to be a pain as compared to just removing the hide, so we've always just skinned the pig.  I make sure that my knife is super sharp and the carcass still warm and hanging head down.  We hang it from our small "balcony", but a very strong tree branch would work well.  As long as the carcass is warm, I find that I can cut really close to the hide and leave most of the backfat on the carcass.  The last Tamworth pig we butchered had between 2-3 inches of fat on it.  Then, once the hide is off, the carcass is usually still warm, I slice off beautiful, smooth backfat slabs.  Once everything starts to cool, it becomes much harder to easily cut through the fat.  The fat then goes into a very large stock pot, I add an inch of water to the bottom and render for a couple of days at 240F, stirring every hour or so.  When it is ready, I filter through cheese cloth and freeze.  Don't forget the "leaf lard" found inside the pig cavity, it makes a superior lard once rendered, and is perfect for making the flakiest pie pastry ever!

 

OP, I completely agree that having someone show you how to butcher is the way to start off.  Unfortunately, depending on the province, we in Canada have to deal with ridiculous "food safety" laws.  For example, we work with our neighbours when butchering chickens and pigs and then share the meat, however that is very illegal!  On the other hand, if I shoot a deer and we share venison, that's just fine.  Don't even get me started on selling the domestic meat.  Here's a link to a story of a man in Ottawa who shared the pork he butchered with a friend, be careful about who knows what you are doing:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2010/11/24/ottawa-pig-slaughter-charter-defence.html

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow. Silly Canada.

I understand completely the need for regulation of commercially-processed foods, but this is something entirely different! Thanks for this--we'll remember it and be careful!

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by olaz-b View Post

Chicky2, the idea of scalding and scraping, just seemed to be a pain as compared to just removing the hide, so we've always just skinned the pig.  I make sure that my knife is super sharp and the carcass still warm and hanging head down.  We hang it from our small "balcony", but a very strong tree branch would work well.  As long as the carcass is warm, I find that I can cut really close to the hide and leave most of the backfat on the carcass.  The last Tamworth pig we butchered had between 2-3 inches of fat on it.  Then, once the hide is off, the carcass is usually still warm, I slice off beautiful, smooth backfat slabs.  Once everything starts to cool, it becomes much harder to easily cut through the fat.  The fat then goes into a very large stock pot, I add an inch of water to the bottom and render for a couple of days at 240F, stirring every hour or so.  When it is ready, I filter through cheese cloth and freeze.  Don't forget the "leaf lard" found inside the pig cavity, it makes a superior lard once rendered, and is perfect for making the flakiest pie pastry ever!

 

OP, I completely agree that having someone show you how to butcher is the way to start off.  Unfortunately, depending on the province, we in Canada have to deal with ridiculous "food safety" laws.  For example, we work with our neighbours when butchering chickens and pigs and then share the meat, however that is very illegal!  On the other hand, if I shoot a deer and we share venison, that's just fine.  Don't even get me started on selling the domestic meat.  Here's a link to a story of a man in Ottawa who shared the pork he butchered with a friend, be careful about who knows what you are doing:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2010/11/24/ottawa-pig-slaughter-charter-defence.html


Ontario and Alberta are really strict. Here in NS I can do pretty much whatever I want as long as I'm selling directly to the customer (not to a store who then sells it to a customer). There are a few rules that I can't think of but they aren't enforced and nobody follows them. Everyone here really wants to protect the small producer and it shows.
post #11 of 17

Olaz-b, thanks for the instructions.  The feral pigs we got this year (trapped) were extra fatty and we have 9 in my backyard getting fatter.  They are still pretty small but we're going to let 2 get to market weight.  I will try rendering then!  One question....When you say you render at 240 for a couple of days, stirring every hour, do you do this during the night, too?  Ok, 2 questions, lol.  How do you know when it is ready to filter thru cheesecloth?

post #12 of 17

 

Limette, I might have to move to NS! I think the biggest problem here in Ontario are marketing boards, especially chicken. They make up the rules and try hard to catch people who don't follow. I know of teenage brothers who got in trouble for raising too many meat birds (300 max). All they were trying to do is make some money during the summer, rather than wasting time playing video games.

 

Chicky2, I do turn the oven off at night, or if our woodstove is on low for the night, I might put the pot on there, but you don't want the heat high or you risk overheating the fat. The key is to take your time and if it takes more than a couple of days, that's OK. As the fat bits melt down, I sometimes squish them with a potato masher. You know the lard is ready when all of those larger chunks are gone and the little floaty bits are a light golden colour. If you had any skin in the pot, they would be "crackling". I'd love to taste the difference between pastured heritage and feral pigs, I'm sure they'll be really delicious. What do you do with the ones you don't plan on raising to market weight?

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post

Olaz-b, thanks for the instructions.  The feral pigs we got this year (trapped) were extra fatty and we have 9 in my backyard getting fatter.  They are still pretty small but we're going to let 2 get to market weight.  I will try rendering then!  One question....When you say you render at 240 for a couple of days, stirring every hour, do you do this during the night, too?  Ok, 2 questions, lol.  How do you know when it is ready to filter thru cheesecloth?


You can render lard in a pot on the stove in under 2 hours on med low.
post #14 of 17

 

Limette - I guess I was thinking that when we render lard, it's from a whole pig and it fills a large stock pot, as in about 5-8 gallons, and long and low heat have given us the best results, beautiful, clean white lard.  You are right, if there is just a small amount, a pound or two, on the stove top or crockpot, would be easiest.  I've adapted my procedure from Jennifer McLagan's book "Fat - An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient" where she recommends the oven.

post #15 of 17
I did ours from our whole heritage pig in four batches on the stove. It was perfectly clean and white.
post #16 of 17

To conclude: there is more than one way to make lard.

post #17 of 17

Thank you everyone!  I am excited for one of these pigs we have to get bigger so I can try it!

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