Whether you are operating a large farm own a backyard barn, there are several best practices and requirements to raise your pig for slaughter properly. Every part of the pig carries immense value and is used for a variety of foods such as typical ham and bacon, but also lesser-known dishes like blood pudding. Properly raising your pig is crucial to ensuring that you achieve high-quality meats.
Housing your Pig
Before bringing your pigs home, you must have a spacious, dry, and warm shelter prepared for them. A barn-like structure is ideal for keeping them out of harsh elements and safe from predators. In addition, the size of the barn must be proportional to the number of pigs housed inside. Each adult pig requires fifty square feet of space to roam and an area to eat that is spacious enough to fit all pigs. Pigs also need a way to cool down and regulate their body temperatures. So make sure you are providing some outdoor space with mud that will give them exactly what they need. This area should be protected by a wooden fence and another wired fence to help keep predators from digging underneath the wooden one.
Raising your Pig
Once you have brought your piglet(s) home, you must make sure they have clean water, plenty of food, and keep their living quarters clean of manure. Pigs can consume two to four gallons of fresh water daily, and all the table scraps you can feed them. What you feed them is crucial and must not include elements toxic to pigs, such as iron, iodine, copper, lead, mercury, and any plant that may be questionably toxic.
A 50-pound piglet requires feed that contains a minimum of 16 percent protein to grow into a healthy 200-pound adult, so check your feed to ensure it meets that threshold. A 200-pound pig can produce up to 3 pounds of manure and left unattended can cause health risks for the pigs and you. Manure should be removed regularly into an isolated location for use as fertilizer for landscaping, or to sell it.
Preparing for Slaughter
When your pig is ready for slaughter, the first step is to stun them, which is typically done by a .22 rifle, but a handgun can do the job too. You want to make sure you use this caliber to reduce the risk of unnecessary suffering. The next step involves slitting the pig’s throat, so they bleed out. A 6″ boning knife is sufficient to dig deep into the neck and hit the main arteries. To properly bleed them out, you will need heavy lifting equipment such as a tractor bucket to hang them upside down. Finally, you will need to skin the pig, which requires the use of a rounded edge knife to reduce the risk of puncturing the skin.
The remainder of the butchering process can be performed by a professional butcher or yourself if you have the expertise. Following these methods will increase the likelihood of high-quality meats.