Yesterday, we had a family day dedicated to pig slaughter. I’m attaching photos so don’t look if you don’t like it and please PLEASE don’t give me grief! We treat ALL our animals like our children and we do things as humanely as possible.
The photos aren’t too graphic but, I definitely wanted to open discussion for those who slaughter their own pigs and those who haven’t done this yet. First, let’s talk caliber. I’ve heard of MANY people using a .22 and that may work for most. We had to put one of the babies down last month and used the .22 only to find out we weren’t convinced this was not our best option for a much larger pig. If you disagree? That’s totally ok. I’m just going off what we have experienced here. So, yesterday we chose to use our 5.56. I’m thankful about our choice. One shot and she dropped. We hate anything to suffer. So, a bucket of sweet feed and with the shot we stuck her to bleed her out. This was very hard on us, since we literally delivered her. I am glad she didn’t suffer though, not a peep out of her which made me feel a little better.
Onto the de-hairing. This was our first pig slaughter from raising our young babies to the age this has to start happening. We have researched and talked to other pig experienced people and decided to de-hair the pig instead of just skinning it. We cut the lid off one of our empty drums and filled it about 1/2 way with water. Started a fire underneath it and brought the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. We had some blankets left over from our move (thank you Uhaul). I put two blankets in the water to heat up. We laid the pig on a table, thoroughly cleaned all the mud/etc…off her. We then used long BBQ style tongs to pull a blanket out of the water and lay it on the pig. **Some people just dunk the pig into the water much like you would a chicken. We have learned that if you don’t do this exactly correct, you risk the hair actually fusing to the skin and then you’re pretty much screwed!
We laid the blanket on the pig until it started to get cool, then we pulled another blanket and pretty much swapped them out. About four times total. First, we tried our draw blades. Nope. Didn’t work at all. Then, we just decided to use our skinning knife and another flip knife. Success. The hair was coming off and relatively easy. You have to be careful not to cut the skin and pretty much just drag the blade, much like I imagine shaving only a little more pressure. This takes TIME. Move as quickly as you can but efficiently. Once one side was done, we flipped her over and did the next. Then the belly, etc… I’d say the de-hairing process (not counting the head) took us about 2 hours, slightly under.
Next, we hung her up, let her finish bleeding out and finished field dressing her. I haven’t attached photos of this but, if someone wants them in the future, I will be happy to. I suppose at this point how others de-hair their pigs? Did you have success dunking or try a different method? For us, this worked beautifully and we maintained all the skin for future cracklins/etc…
The biggest part of this was making sure our son was involved. We let him not be present for the actual killing (since this was our first and wanted to make sure things went as planned). After the hard part, he was every bit involved with the entire process. It’s important our kids know where their meat comes from. It wasn’t until yesterday he learned where sausage casings really come from!? We thought he knew! He did a great job and I am so proud to watch and help him become an extraordinary human being. We prayed over the pig and thanked it for giving its life. With death, comes the need to teach humanity. This was a tough day for us but, we pulled together as a family and made it happen. I’m very proud of my son and my husband!