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Discussion Starter #1
We had been putting this off for some time now. He was a fixed barrow that should have been butchered back in April, but we weren't quite up to it at the time and he kept growing and GROWING!!! And he became the dominant pig in the pen; beating up the two smaller gilts anytime they even looked at the feedbowl. We had thought about taking him to the butcher and having them do it, but when we started figuring out the costs from the hanging weight and all.....it seemed a tremendous waste to pay extra for all that fat.....so he continued living and eating. The problem wouldn't go away and just kept getting BIGGER. Got to talking with a neighbor that we have found is quite resourceful......he welds items for us, fixes the lawnmowers and vehicles that we bring to him......jack of all trades....masters of some......if he can't do it or fix it.....then it's broke or beyond mending. Made him a proposal he couldn't refuse.....(he's got two growing and hungry kids) but I think he would have done it regardless. Found out that he'd butchered many a pig in his younger years. Told him if he would help dispatch and process this one, we'd give him half the meat. The only problem was arranging a time that would work for both of us.....as he works full-time and as he is such a handyman; is usually a wanted man around the small community. Told me if we could wait another couple weeks, he was scheduled to take a weeks vacation and could help me then. So we waited......time arrived and had to go looking for him......said we could do it the following day.......only he didn't show.......went looking for him again. Promised that we would do it this Sunday afternoon. Anyway, I wasn't too optimistic about his showing; butchering and processing a 600# porker on your last day of vacation is NOT something that I would be looking forward to.....but lo and behold he arrived around 3:30pm and wondered why I wasn't ready and raring to go.......
So had to hurry around and locate and get things lined up and after a couple more hours we were set to go. Pig was lured out of the pen and down the shoot to the killing area, but did NOT like the stranger lurking nearby; ran back up the shoot towards the pens......I got some bread and broke off some pieces and threw them down the path he was meant to go. He followed them and ate as he went. My friend had the .22 rifle in hand as as HAMBONE arrived within 10 feet of his "final destination"...... raised it up and put it directly behind his right ear and pulled the trigger. Up to this point, we had discussed how it was going to be done and I was dubious that such a large animal could be put down in such a fashion; particularly after reading on this forum (and others) about drawing an imaginary line between the right eye to the left ear and then from the right ear to the left eye and then placing said bullet where the points converged; thru the pigs' brain to put them down. This piggy dropped like a rock and rolled onto his side just like that. It was ALL over except for cutting the throat and bleeding it out......oh yeah and then the REAL WORK started......lol......we managed to somehow drag him around to the area directly below where I'd placed (2) two 8"x8" posts into the ground and attached a 3.5"x5.5" beam across the top of the other two posts. We then threw a thick polyproplene line over the top and after securing it to a gambrel (which was then attached to the pigs' rear shanks), the line was secured to the rear ball hitch of said friends' pickup and the piggy was hoisted skyward. Work started slowly, as he stated he'd never skinned a pig before and while he'd done many a deer......they never had as much fat as a pig does under their skin. Once the skin was removed however, the work picked up and while we were busy removing the various portions of meat; my wife was close by at another table......wrapping and labeling each package according to what it most represented in the grocery store.......some of them didn't resemble much of anything (hey we're amateurs not professional butchers!) and as such, those "pieces" usually ended up in the bags marked for grinding up into sausage!!! The day wore on and fatigue/thirst/boredom was beginning to set in and the sun was starting to go down. We still had the hams to process and they were BIG 'UNS~ but the job finally was done just about the time we were running out of light. All-in-all, not too bad; took us about 6 hours from the time he arrived until he left; only 4 hrs of actual butchering and he was happy and we were too. Filled up the remaining space in the freezer with fresh home-raised pork. And all is not lost on the remaining porkers (we have 4 more that now have a bit more room and a LOT LESS COMPETITION)......asked my friend if he would be willing to do a similar deal in the future and he was happy enough with the arrangement to say YES!!! So together, we learned a lot and made a deal that benefited two families......can't say it enough but ain't life great living in the country and homesteading?? :) :1pig:
 

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agmantoo
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Hence forth with the acquired experience you should slowly be able to go on your own. Imagine the savings and the recognition that you are getting your own animal from the processing. Purchase a few tools and move forward. A sausage grinder would be high on my list along with a few good knives and a sharpening steel. great move, congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guess I should have prefaced my story with the fact that about a month earlier, we had shipped (2) two smaller pigs (about half the size of Hambone) to the local butcher. We had sold the smaller of the pigs to a buyer who paid us to deliver the pig; afterwhich they placed their order with him and then paid and picked up the finished product from him. With the proceeds of the sale from that pig, we used it to kill and process our 2nd pig. We received back a product that was VERY FATTY and less than what we anticipated based on what we knew it should bring........so we were more motivated to have HAMBONE done at home. Not only did we learn a great deal, but were also able to trim much closer and remove most of the fat; however after enjoying a fresh pork roast last night and seeing the difference between the larger pig -vs- the smaller pig; both in taste and fat content, I'm beginning to think that we may have been the victims of a switcheroo......however there is a chance that because both pigs were different breeds, that this may be the reason instead. Either way, we will probably do the remainder of our hogs at home. If we had taken Hambone to the butcher, it would have cost us at least $120 to process.....perhaps more with the extra fat left on. So yes, it was definitely worth it for both families to share in the chore of killing/butchering/packing the BIG PIG! It was a learning experience and hopefully I'll get better at the butchering process and some of my cuts will start to look "familar"..... :p :1pig:
 

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The last time I butcherd a pig, I used an electric knife to cut the meat off. Sure did make it a lot easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We skinned HAMBONE, but the other two piggies were scalded.
 
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