Another landmark day here for us on Croft 3.
Last year we successfully bred and reared our pigs (well the pigs themselves did most of it!) and earlier this year with help we killed, butchered and processed the meat. The friend who helped us with killing, skinning and butchering the pigs has now left Rum so we knew we needed to work out another way of managing it.
After a lot of research we invested in a bolt gun - which meets all the criteria for welfare, humane killing and laws and regulations governing the slaughter of animals for own consumption. After losing two pigs last winter we had already decided not to take young pigs through the poor weather conditions again. The additional cost of feed to sustain them once the grass and general grazing is over for the year does not equate to any level of weight gain and the young pigs really struggle with the wind and rain of a Rum winter.
The gun arrived yesterday, along with a supply of blanks - it operates by shooting out a bolt fired by blank cartridges. The weather was nice today, so we gathered together all the necessary equipment and headed down to the pig pen.
The deed was done - very straightforward, utterly humane and without awareness let alone suffering. The other pigs continued to snuffle around nearby unbothered. I'll not go into huge detail as not everyone reading is interested in the process but it certainly met our own personal very high standards of welfare, caring and respect for an animal that we have cared for, tended and raised over the last 7 months of it's life.
We are unable to carry out the traditional scalding of a pig here on the croft so we skin them which means no crackling but our animals due to their slow grown, outdoor life do not have massive amounts of fat anyway. Skinning beasts is something Ady is getting pretty good at - this week he was involved in skinning two deer during a venison processing session. Pigs are much smaller but trickier due to a layer of fat that deer don't have and nothing like the same level of hide. We did it in under an hour though, then we butchered it into various cuts - roasting joints, ribs, liver & heart, meat for curing, meat for mincing and meat for stir frys etc. In total we had over 20kg of pork.
We had the whole lot done and back up at the static in bags within 3 hours. The meat for curing - we should have bacon, gammon / ham and pancetta/ lardons is in salt, pepper and juniper berries. The rest is bagged, labelled and in the freezer. We are planning to do the other two piglets over the next two days at which point we will use the combined livers & hearts to make pate, mince all of the meat for mincing and make sausages.
|butchering 'in the field'|