Tag Archives: slaughter

Chicken Slaughtering

I admit. Before this weekend I’d never taken the live of anything other than a fish. I’ve been involved and watched the pigs go, but its never been my hand thats done the deed. I suppose its the final step as a “farmer” or someone who eats meat at the very least. I’ve always found it disrepectful to the animal that died when people pretend their meat isn’t from anything living. Its magic~! It grows in styrofoam!

No, accept that something lost its life for you so you can live. Per Vitam Mortem. Through death is life. Accept it. When we die we will feed bacteria, worms, the ground, trees, possibly scavengers, hopefully not our hogs

Point is, as I’ve said before, I need to be able to do it if I am willing to eat them.

So I did. BEAUTIFUL Cornish X that free ranged. Small for with age, but healthy. Many people complain that their cornish X don’t move. they just sit around all day and eat. Well, mine started under the brooder outside on grass. They were allowed out of the tractor at 3 or 4 weeks and quickly figured it all out. After their morning grain (filled their feeder with a pea based feed…they don’t care much for it so they ate what they needed to to not be ravenous the looks for better stuff elsewhere) they ranged around the neighborhood, and were so friendly I hated to see them go. But, they were starting to pant implying trouble breathing. They still ran up to greet me, but they were as healthy as Cornish X get and didn’t want them to deteriorate.

I did the 6 largest leaving 2 smaller ones to go a little longer. Dressed out to about 4 lbs 3 oz on average. Small, but absolutely delicious! The texture was so different…like MEAT, not chicken mush. I grilled one that night with some farmer friends and had a good time. I will miss my friendly “little marshmallows” (as the girl next door called them), but their lives were so much better than a store bought chicken and they taste a million times better. Who knew there was such a difference?!

I had pictures of my pretties, but my computer won’t load them oh well.

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Its A Bit More Calm

I had 3 pigs dispatched yesterday. Digger and Ditch were finally weight, though hitting 250 at 7 months is not very good growth in my opinion.

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One last group photo

Dot almost made it out alive again. I had 2 1/2 portions of pigs sold, 1/2 being mine. I wasn’t going to slaughter someone I didn’t have a buyer for. I was almost going to go without my portion and just let Dottie go again..And I would have if she didn’t throw such poor piglets and have so many non-functioning nipples.

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The kind of goofy face that grows on ya. Come to think of it she looks alot like her dad.

Alas for poor Dot my mother swooped in last minuted and said she would take all of her as it would make nice gifts to give.

I don’t have any guns of my own so I had to hire the kill out. Before he got there I gave them a little beer. Ditch got really aggressive and demanded MORE. “I WANT MORE OF THIS STUFF! I’VE BEEN WAITING ALL MY LIFE FOR THIS. GIVE ME MORE! WHERE ARE YOU HIDING IT?!!!” I guess she was a closet alchoholic.

 

 

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Beer! GIVE ME MORE BEER!

 

When the fellow came I gave them all a bit of milk and he shot Dot and  bled her without the other two noticing much. Ditch went next. Dead instantly. Awesome. Then Rosie got wind and started protesting from her paddock so I went and calmed her down and gave her some milk. I guess the last pig wasn’t afraid like usually happens in large kill houses. He was wary, but wasn’t freaking out. The slaughter guy said Digger kinda stared him down and challenged him. Well, don’t challenge a guy with a gun.

It really was a lovely day to go, and it was so calm and quick. It seemed the only one that was any the wiser was Rosie, of course! Well, and the ram. He positioned himself in the field so he could watch, too.

 

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That there is some stink-eye if I ever saw it.

I made use of more of my beasties than I have before. I cleaned a stomach for a customers enjoyment. Much to my surprise it was completely loaded with well chewed grass. Like, 5 lbs grass. I cleaned some ears and trotters, took the testicles for the dogs enjoyment. Hopefully I’ll get to using all of them next time.

Looking at their innards they were very healthy. The fellow was impressed with their health and low worm load: for being on pasture where worms are almost impossible to get rid of once introduced he said they were really in excellent shape. Dot had a nice layer of fat, but not too thick. The boar was the leanest of them all, but I think in better shape than last years boars.

It was also nice to get compliments on my farm from someone who visits them frequently. He appreciated my set up with the hogs outside in good light, had them close to the gate for easy access. Apparently he’s had some adventures at farms less put-together than mine.

Once again, it was a very positive experience and I’ve been able to provide humanely raised and slaughtered, healthy, pastured pork for 5 differently families. Pretty cool.

I got to try something new, too: bbq pigs feet!

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Dead Ram Walking

Its no secret that Khoresh is getting more and more aggressive. I’ve tried humane and not-so-humane methods of turning his behavior around. As it is he respects me and doesn’t mess with me. He knows I’m boss. But others…

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He is still causing trouble. He was jumping over the fence to reach the lamb ewes. Thought more separation, another 10 inches in height on the fence and the mask would help.

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Nope. Turned out he was jumping though the fence…wooly coat was insulating him so if he just ran fast enough he could get through with only a mild jolt. I made the lines a bit spaced for quick installation now I need to go in and double up (that was the plan for year 2) So I figured the lamb ewes were bred so I put everyone in one big group again assuming that would solve the problem. Sort of?

Khoresh also beat the heck out of the pigs…they all started limping one day and I didn’t know why. He was doing this while I was away at work, so I didn’t know what was up. Just one day Rosie wouldn’t get up for breakfast.  I fed her breakfast in bed by bringing her feed bowl to her. Eventually she got up and I saw her limping.  She was finally healing up and on Tuesday I was about to leave for work when I saw him the pasture with the pigs. They were in the way back not bothering him, but he got through the fence and walked back to them. When I went out he was just chillin’ with them, though Rosie was trying to carefully get away. He noticed and started stalking her. I got him back out of the pasture and went to work. Came home and everyone was limping.

He is done for.

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This is where we are at: he is on a leash tied to a post. That post was solid in the ground until he started head butting it and *was* my laundry line…but in butting the post he snapped the line. He’s knocked over almost every fence post that doesn’t have a fence attached to it. Some are 8 inches in diameter, three feet in the ground in CONCRETE. Hes knocked them over.

Incredible destructive power. I can understand why invading armies used a “battering ram.”

So at this point with him being destructive as he is and harrassing the pigs who arn’t even paying him any mind its time to slaughter. I was going to do this a few weeks ago but a few close people cried out, “no! hes so pretty! lovely! can’t you sell him? You don’t have time to do it yourself. You’ve never done it before, call the butcher.” Turns out the butchers busy with hunting season.  and yes, I am busy, but then I found out about the pigs. Now I don’t even feel comfortable selling him. Aggression is often genetic and he comes from a Jacob line that becomes aggressive from what I hear (Puddleduck). Though his damn was gentle, this trait is just too strong in him. I don’t want to spread aggressive genes to someone else.

The *only* option is slaughter.

the Deed is Done

Since I was a child and I realized meat was actually muscle and there was no part on the animal that was just grown as “meat” I started to think differently about animal consumption. Somehow that realization made meat all the more real: like i was eating their very essence. From that point on I started to believe that if one eats meat they need to somehow be involved in the animal: preferably all the way to slaughter. At least once to really understand and be grateful for its sacrifice. Thus where I am today: farmer.

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I believe the boys had a good life. They did everything a pig could want: eat, sleep, play, forage, explore, cuddle, make friends and have sex. It was a full 6 months of life (6 months today!)

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I feel good about how they were treated…but it was time to go. They were starting to get a little big and a little pushy. Gorby knocked me over for cuddles which is cute now, but not later at 800 lbs. Wilbur I sold half to some friends, so he had to be slaughtered and processesed with a USDA stamp of approval. This morning the plan was to kill Wilbur and later I would do Gorbechev. I got up and took some pictures with the first animal I’ve raised and slaughtered.Image

I tried to get some selfies….Image

it was hard with him moving everywhereImage

Dang it. At least Gorby looks handsome

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Finally I got a good picture!

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Last minute we decided to include Gorby…but before that decision I broke my camera. Crap. So no pictures of me and Gorby cuddling. 😦 I also wanted pictures of the slaughter process, but alas, i was stupid. —

The slaughter guy showed up late, but no matter. The boys were ready to go. asked if he wanted to use grain and the fellow felt it was unnessecary. He honed in on Wilbur who was curious at the man in rubber pants with the big machine behind him. As he pulled the trigger Wilbur moved and he missed the brain. Wilbur squealed and ran off: all the other pigs got alerted and worried. Rosie was on the other side of the fence Wilbur had run to and she watched the slaughterer take another shot and bleed out. All the animals were watching. The sheep were staring wide eyed. Rosie? I’m not sure what she thought, but last i checked she was cuddling with her kids in the woods.

That was not how I wanted it to go. I was rather upset, but he did die pretty quick after the second shot. Gorby was concerned: he wanted to get out of there! I let Gorby settle down and the fellow process Wilbur before we did Gorby. Gorby came back up to me and I fed him some grain.This time the shot landed in the right spot and there was not even a squeal.

I can’t imagine spending all day every day killing animals for a living, at some point it must warp you. While the fellow was fine I felt like he did brush off animals intelligence a bit. “Aw, pig’s forget fast.” “It don’t bother them if they watch: they don’t know whats going on. After the first one they want to start eating up the blood.” From what I observe animals do know something about death. I am sorry Rosie had to see her son die. Rosie has been anxious the past few days, so I hope she can forgive me and not see me as implicit in the murder. I wanted to kill him out of everyone else’s sight, but the slaughter felt it unnecessary.

Overall, I feel good about it. Wilbur’s trauma did not last long Gorby didn’t know what hit him. I will be grateful for every bite I take, but feel guiltless because they had a wonderful life. I was there from the moment that were born to the moment they died. They died 100 yards from where they were born exactly 6 months ago. And I can say now: I truely know what goes on into the making of meat. Its not a magical product that appears plastic wrapped in the grocery store. It was a life. A being. A personality. A spirit. And I am grateful for what I have taken from them. I will always love my little boys, and they will become part of me. I will literally always carry a little bit of Wilbur and Gorbachev in me.

(….and with all the bacon it will probably end up carried in my heart! Now that’s love!)