I got this reply to my post on "can I slaughter my own pig", and thought it worth commenting.
I kill pigs every week of various sizes, so I'm a sympathetic audience. I'm offering this as a way to improve the slaughter experience.
I documented the whole process of slaughtering and processing a pig on a farm. You may be interested to watch it. The whole process from pig to sausage took about 2 days so I've cut that down to about 20 minutes here
The pig was pretty tame; and they had some problems getting it into the position that they wanted to use to slaughter it. The basic plan was to hang the pig and stick it while hanging to collect the blood. Several points:
1) The pig was tame and used to being handled -- shows good husbandry in my opinion. Arrange the slaughter area so that there's a solid barrier around the area. A tarp, or plywood
or boards or pallets. If this pig hadn't been so tame it would have been very difficult to get it into position. Consider shooting it directly in its pen and then dragging it out with the backhoe
on the tractor.
2) hanging the pig while conscious by one leg was not necessary. There was discussion of shooting the pig, and I'd recommend that. Shoot the pig on the ground, loop a rope around its leg within 5 seconds of shooting, and hoist it then. Stick it as soon as its hoisted.
3) the pig took longer to bleed out than I would have liked; they had to make three or four cuts to get the blood flow started, opening the meat on the neck to potential contamination. I'd suggest sticking the pig in the chest, just above the breastbone. To find this location, feel your breastbone at the top of your ribs, just below your throat. You want to insert the knife about an inch above that point. The point of the knife is angled at about 15 degrees towards the tail of the animal, with the cutting edge towards the head. Insert the knife until you feel it hit the backbone, and then trace a line with the point of the knife towards the head. if you don't see a gush of blood, withdraw the knife 3" -- but not out of the wound, angle it, insert to backbone and retrace your line. You may have to move a little to one side or the other.
You can practice this cut motion with a pencil. Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger. Hold this about 4" above a table top. Insert a pencil into this circle, and then draw a line on the table top Keeping the knife in the circle of your fingers is important. You want to make sure that you minimize the size of the entrance wound.
4) I'd suggest getting the pig completely scraped before you open the pig. Removing hair by any method after the meat is exposed can lead to contamination. Singeing is probably the least risky way to do it -- the high temperature will sterilize it a bit, but I'd prefer to not have sterile hairs to deal with while I'm processing the meat.
5) The pig had food it its digestive tract at time of slaughter -- penning the pig and giving it all the water it wants but no food for 24 hours to get most of the contents out prior to slaughter. It has the other benefit of making the pig much more interested in food making it easier to lure with a tasty apple.
3 days ago