Life at the end of the road

May 14, 2008

There’s a pig in my kitchen!

Filed under: daily doings, How I — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:34 pm

I can make light of it now because I’m on my fourth glass of wine but it’s been a very emotional day. For those not up to speed one of our 6 month old Tamworths broke a leg recently so I decided to do a ‘home kill’ rather than put her through the trauma of a trip to the abattoir. Well it would probably have been illegal anyway without an authorisation from the vet. She was one of 5 due to go within the next 3 weeks anyway and we had planned to keep a half for ourselves so by doing it ourselves we’d be able to keep the full pig as it’s not legal to sell or even feed a ‘home kill’ to anyone other than your household.

Mrs C spotted her limping a few days ago whilst I was at work and upon inspection I found her rear right leg broken. Now your average pig does not get much freedom but ours have several hundred acres of moor and woodland by the sea to grub about in. The advantage of which is they are lean fit and happy the down side is that there are a few hazards like cliffs and the occasional unwary motorist, despite several signs motorists still act surprised when they come across a live pig ‘at the end of the road’

I’ve killed, butchered and eaten many things, Deer, sheep, goats, lambs, rabbits and just about everything that lives in the sea. I don’t like doing it and I’ve even tried being vegetarian but call me eccentric if you like but I feel if you can’t do it or at least accept the reality of what’s on your plate then you shouldn’t eat it. So whilst I could have got someone to deal with it I felt I had to do it myself, so I’ve not stopped thinking about it for the last few days. What made it worse was that she was the most affectionate of the 5 and really enjoyed a good scratch or tickle under the chin. Whilst the leg has been broken for a few days the wee darling seemed to be in no pain and would quite happily let me feel the break so I left it until today to kill her as I’ve finished work for three weeks.

The preparation

Being probably the hottest day of the year  so far it was possibly not the best day to do it and of course there was no ‘R’ in the month but I was going ahead anyway as I needed to do it for myself as much as anything. First job was to fire up ‘Twinny’ the 7kw ST2 Lister to start heating the water in the ‘Burco’ boiler that I’d borrowed.

De bristling a pig requires lots of hot water so I kept boiling up the burco and emptying it into this insulated container. I then power washed some large tubs, one for the guts and one to lie poor sally in whilst I poured boiling water over her. With all my knives, tubs, gloves, string, block&tackle, bench and mind ready I set off with quad, trailer and rifle to find her lying in the morning sun with her pals. I put some feed on the ground and then shot her through the head and I felt terrible. Between blubbering appologies to my poor wee pig I managed to load her into the trailer and get her up on the block&tackle. I’d sterilized a bucket ready for catching the blood but was in such a state that I couldn’t do it and let the blood just drain into the tub.

Just click on the image if you want to enlarge it. Once the arteries in the throat were cut and the blood drained I cut off the head but this is probably best left on and if I have to do it again I’d leave it on as there’s allot of good eating in it but I was still feeling a bit emotional and I didn’t want mrs C to see it. With the blood drained I lowered her into another tub, started pouring boiling water over her and scraping.

The secret ( I think ) is to do a small bit at a time and not let too much water build up in the tub so you don’t cook the pig. I left a bit of hot wter in and just kept turning the pig, then once I’d got most of the hair off I hauled her back up in the air and finished her off with a blow lamp.

Once all the bristle was off I took out the guts which was done exactly as ‘Stonehead’ recommended in  this link

Once Sally was dealt with we hung her in the kitchen as it was the only place that the flies couldn’t get at her, we’d also turned the oil stove off the night before so it was pretty cool.

Only problem being that I’d invited our neighbour for dinner! When I phoned her and said ‘dinners still on but there’s a dead pig hanging in the kitchen she replied ‘ that’s OK it makes a change from the sheep that regularly hung in in ours’!

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