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We raised our first 2 pigs this year and they were so entertaining. In February 2014 we traveled to a local farm to pick up our new wiener pigs. We loaded them up in a dog kennel and brought them home.
We fed the pigs fruit and veggie scraps that I gathered from various stores and dumpsters. We also had a great bread contact with a local bakery. In December we made cottage cheese from raw milk and we froze the left over whey for our pigs. They absolutely love whey and it is really good for them. For their last week I feed them oats and barley mixed with milk. Raising pigs is very affordable if you are willing to put in the effort to find contacts. It is very reassuring to know exactly what you will be feeding your family.
We raised our pigs until September and did all our own processing on the farm. The pigs weighted out at 250 lbs. 24 hours before processing date provide only water. This was our first experience doing it so I am sure there is room for improvement (suggestions welcomed). Here is what we did:
Estimating Weight Formula We estimated the weight by doing a simple 2 step formula. Step one(length) measure from rump to head (between the ears). Second step measure the girth just behind the shoulders. Then it is girth squared times length divided by 400. We used a piece of string because we didn't have a measuring tape. TIP - Give them something delicious or they will sample your boots!
Here are the steps we followed to get the job done.
- Boil lots and lots of water. Get some rags, a knife for scrapping, sharp knives for butchering, a bone saw, a hoe, and a tiger torch.
- You need to be a good shot for this part. I put out some delicious food, cried a little, and took a step back. Shoot the hog just above the eyes slightly off center, it helps to draw an imaginary line from ear to eye and aim off center of that. After that was done a good friend stepped in and cut the jugular and collected all the blood for blood sausage.
- We placed the pig on a large piece of plywood. Using a tiger torch burn the skin until black.
- Put the rags in the boiling water and place on the burnt skin.
- Using a dull knife scrap off the skin.
- Once all the skin is off clean everything well with water and a wire brush.
- Flip the hog onto his back and cut from the genitals up to the neck. When you cut be very careful not to puncture any internal organs. Using a bone saw cut through the breast bone. Carefully scoop out the organs, it helps to roll the hog on his side. If you are going to keep the liver, heart, and kidneys place in a separate bowl full of water to prevent them from drying out.
- Luckily we have another great friend who let us borrow a hoist that hooked up to the truck. We cut a slit in each hock and placed the pig on the hoist. We used twine for extra security.
- Cut off the head and with a bone saw cut the hog in half. Take down one half and take it to your processing table. Make sure you wash down your table with bleach water to completely sanitize the work area.
- Next you need to decide what cuts you want. We use ground meat the most so that was our priority. We also cut some ham, roasts, loins, and of course BACON.