Pig day at the farm (graphic – consider yourself warned)

Back in early September my friend Chris picked up a couple of small 35 pound Tamworth pigs at the auction barn. He figured that if he fed them well they would put on about 5 pounds a week. I was in for the adventure.  I chipped in some money for feed and offered to help out on slaughter day. 

Today was the day. I arrived at 10 and we started to gather the necessities while we waited for neighbour Ed to show up to help. Chris lives off grid on a small very rustic farm. He fetches water from a well with a bucket and heats his cabin and  cooks his food on a small airtight woodstove. He grows fantastic veggies that he sells at the Combermere market and raises lots of critters. Dogs, cats, horses, goats, and a few types of pigs. The pics get pretty graphic from here on so stop reading now if you wish. 

Once Ed arrived we got right to work. he and Chris went into the pen and caught the first pig. They passed the squirming beast over the fence to me and we took it into the horse barn to kill it. 

Chris was quick with the knife and the pig died instantly. We repeated with the next one and  then hung them on a scale. 88 pounds each. 

The first task was to skin it and  we did the first one on a table out of necessity. Using the weight of the animal for tension, it was pretty easy to get the hide off. Next up we slit the belly and took out the guts. I wasn’t sure how I would react to it all but none of it phased me at all.

Next we took the legs off and hung them to age for a few days. Then it was tea break. We  started over with the second pig except we were able to hang it while we skinned and quartered it. it was much easier.

By the end of it there were 8 legs and  2 torsos hanging in the shed. There was also a bucket with 2 heads and 8 trotters in it that Chris plans to scald and de-hair in the evening. 

All of it will hang for a few days until Chris brings it to my place to butcher. My take will be one front and  one hind leg. Definitely some sausage and maybe a cured ham. Time will tell.

I took a big step forward today in my Real Food Adventure and it pleases me greatly. Living in town I can’t raise critters but experiences like this bring me closer and closer all the time. I am what I eat 🙂 

2 responses to “Pig day at the farm (graphic – consider yourself warned)

  1. Good on you Bil. By the looks of it you could have skied to the farm. We are in Ottawa starting Tuesday. Paula for work me for pleasure. Will you smoke bellies?

    • Bil Is What He Eats

      The pigs were too small and young to have substantial bellies for bacon. I’m thinking I may brine and smoke a leg though. Hopefully the next pig has some good bacon on it.

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