Author Topic: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer  (Read 3970 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« on: September 12, 2016, 06:43:00 PM »
For anyone who raises chickens/cows/sheep/pigs at home, do you slaughter yourself or do you send them off for processing?

My parents have just finished raising lambs and they are ready for processing.

If you do it at home, what sort of set up do you need?

More specifically, what do you do with the products such as skins, organs, etc? Do you sell these off, put them in the trash, bury them?

crispy

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 07:12:50 PM »
We always raised our beef and pork growing up, but we took them the slaughterhouse for processing and butchering.

MayDay

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 06:49:18 AM »
We have laying hens.

We are vegetarian, but a friend butchers them in her yard, no special equipment, when they are done laying. But we are talking 6 a year.

A local farm will also take them and butcher/sell them for those who can't bear to kill their own.

But that probably doesn't help you.

Fishindude

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 07:33:07 AM »
I do some home butchering / processing.  Do lots of deer, elk, antelope, have done a few hogs.   Smaller stuff is a piece of cake.
Have never done a beef, but I'm sure we could figure it out.

Don't have a formal butcher shop, just a clean shop building with good light, water, etc.   Also have a small walk in cooler for hanging prior to processing.
Built a big butchering table and pretty much debone everything with good sharp knives and cutting boards, no band saw needed.   Also have a heavy duty grinder for making burger and sausage, and a vac seal machine for packaging prior to freezing.

The only organs I typically keep is the heart, all guts, and bones just get dumped out back in the brush and the critters clean them up in pretty short order.  A gut pile is always gone within 24 hours.
Sometimes you can sell hides for a few bucks to local fur buyer.

I enjoy processing my own stuff and knowing exactly what I'm getting.  Also feel like we do a better job taking our time and being picky as opposed to some processors who just try to get it out the door as quickly as possible.   I've been sorely disappointed with the result a couple times when I took game to a processor and won't do it again.

Spork

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 08:22:37 AM »
We don't personally raise critters, but my SIL does.  Generally when starts a new batch she'll ask "does anyone want a pig (or turkey or whatever)".  We will pay for ours and give her a little money for feed and care.

Smaller animals (chickens, turkeys, etc) are butchered by SIL.

Pigs go to a butcher.  We generally ask for liver and heart.  If we were more familiar with other offal ... we might ask for that as well.  The rest is disposed of by the butcher.

Rezdent

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 08:54:49 AM »
Fishindude has great advice.
We do our own processing at home.  It's easy enough work, and you don't have to haul a live animal to a processor to pay for standard cut.

How many lambs are you doing?

If this is your first time, suggest doing one, then you will have an idea of what it takes.  The first one always takes longer than you think and it can be tiring work.  You'll gain speed and efficiency as you go.

A place to hang the carcass while skinning is best.  It can be done on the ground but ug - very tedious.  Have plenty of clean towels and water on hand.

Warm meat is difficult to work with.  Hanging the meat to chill after skinning but before cutting up is ideal.  We usually butcher in cold weather or use a walk in cooler.  If that's not feasible, next best is to break the carcass into primal pieces and chill in a refrigerator.  If that's not possible either, then just skip the chilling.  Be careful working warm meat, as the knife tends to slip easily.

How are you wrapping the meat?  If you can't vacuum pack, heavy waxed butcher paper would be my next choice;  I would double-wrap for better protection.  I would also put light wax paper between steaks to keep them from sticking.  Both of these are available from Sam's or restaurant supply stores.  Label and date everything with a sharpie.

We have an actual "meat saw" we use to cut ribs and chops but you can bone everything out instead.  I really enjoy bone-in chops.  I cut the other bones in smaller pieces to fit my stock pot and make stock to freeze. 

We keep kidneys, liver, heart.  You can bury the waste, but bury it deep.  Dogs and coyotes especially will dig it up.

Dont worry TOO much about getting the perfect cuts.  However you cut it, it will be good to eat.  A meat grinder is great - but you can get by without it by cutting meat into smaller pieces (stew meat).

lthenderson

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 09:07:35 AM »
We had a table in the barn that we used for slaughtering animals. It has a rim on it and a drain on one end for catching fluids and made for easy rinsing. We just did ours in the fall when it was cool enough to hang the meat to skin and drain so refrigeration isn't necessarily needed. Like others above, we just throw the guts out back and they always get cleaned up right away. I have never slaughtered a sheep so I don't know what their skins are like but for cow, deer and some other small critters, there is generally people interested in buying them off you. For pigs, we just scalded/burned the hair off and left the skin on the various cuts of meat. There is always a fight for pig skin in my family. Back then, I learned from others how to butcher animals. These days, I'm guessing you could find many online videos on processing just about any animal you desire.

I would definitely invest in a good set of meat cutting knives and if you aren't very good at hand sharpening like I am, buy an electric sharpener. They are cheap these days and keep my knives razor sharp at all times which is a plus when butchering animals.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 10:10:26 AM »
I have family members who slaughter and process their own animals. My top recommendation would be to attend a slaughter with another farmer first so you get comfortable with the sounds, smells, set up, and process. Or ask a seasoned farmer to attend your animals' butchering, and basically mentor and walk you through it. You don't want the first time you witness a slaughter to be the one where you are the headsman and have no experienced back up present. We have layers and while I am okay with the concept of killing them when the time comes, my biggest fear is botching the job Marie Antoinette style. As a result, we would probably ask someone else to do it.

MuttIsMyCopilot

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 02:55:31 PM »
Regarding the scraps, maybe try to find someone who raw feeds their pets? I'd happily pay a couple bucks a pound for lamb heads and organs, basically anything except the pelts and lower digestive tract.

NV Teacher

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 05:22:34 PM »
I have family members who slaughter and process their own animals. My top recommendation would be to attend a slaughter with another farmer first so you get comfortable with the sounds, smells, set up, and process. Or ask a seasoned farmer to attend your animals' butchering, and basically mentor and walk you through it. You don't want the first time you witness a slaughter to be the one where you are the headsman and have no experienced back up present.

This is really good advice.   Someone with experience will be able to walk you through it and give you useful tips and tricks. 

As far as the guts and stuff, we dumped it out in the back 40 and then waited for the scavengers to came feast.  It gave us another opportunity to brush up on our target skills.

Fishindude

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 05:29:57 AM »
Something I've not tried yet and want to do is home cure some hams via salt cure or smoking.   Would also like to try and make bacon from scratch.
Butchering is just one of those self sufficiency skills like gardening and canning, home repair, etc.  Just about anyone can do it, and worst case you eat your mistakes.

Farmgirl

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2016, 06:49:24 AM »
We have chickens and alpacas.  We don't eat the alpacas, but folks I know who have done that use a custom butcher (someone who also does deer, pigs, beef...not necessarily a USDA facility).  We do have our laying hens butchered at about 3 years old.  A Mennonite man down the road butchers them in front of you for $1.50 a bird, only takes appointments on Tuesdays.  He is quick, humane, efficient and cheap.  Not worth it for me to deal with at that price.

Spork

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 07:16:27 AM »
Something I've not tried yet and want to do is home cure some hams via salt cure or smoking.   Would also like to try and make bacon from scratch.
Butchering is just one of those self sufficiency skills like gardening and canning, home repair, etc.  Just about anyone can do it, and worst case you eat your mistakes.

Scratch bacon is absolutely delicious and very simple to make.  The biggest hurdle is getting a nice even thin slice without a high dollar meat slicer.  But irregular home made bacon is still delicious!

Dicey

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 07:23:22 AM »
There's a book by Julie Powell, of "Julie & Julia" fame, called "Cleaving - My Year of Meats". It's not as good as "J&J", but it's all about what she discovers when she decides to learn about butchering. Quite on topic.

RosieTR

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 04:34:27 PM »
Regarding the scraps, maybe try to find someone who raw feeds their pets? I'd happily pay a couple bucks a pound for lamb heads and organs, basically anything except the pelts and lower digestive tract.

I'd be very leery of eating brain or feeding it to any pet. The research is still fuzzy as to exactly how prion diseases pass, but good dvidence that incineration is the only thing that really gets rid of it. Not sure the potential for scrapie in sheep, but eating any brain is asking for problems in my opinion.

The main issue with home slaughter is how humane/efficient you can be with it. If you mess up butchering, well, there's slow cooking. If you mess up slaughter it can get traumatic and extremely messy very quickly. If you have use of a small pistol or can borrow a bolt gun, that's considered most humane for meat animals (bc you can't use chemicals). Next is kosher/halal slit the throat quickly while holding the animal's head. It's up close and personal, but some people consider it a bit spiritual because of that. There's no getting away from the fact you are taking an animal's life, and that can be meaningful. However, avoiding slamming a knife or axe down is probably better for both you and the animal, as a partial miss or off-target hit would be dreadful.

lthenderson

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2016, 08:34:38 AM »
Something I've not tried yet and want to do is home cure some hams via salt cure or smoking.   Would also like to try and make bacon from scratch.
Butchering is just one of those self sufficiency skills like gardening and canning, home repair, etc.  Just about anyone can do it, and worst case you eat your mistakes.

Scratch bacon is absolutely delicious and very simple to make.  The biggest hurdle is getting a nice even thin slice without a high dollar meat slicer.  But irregular home made bacon is still delicious!

I've never even tried to replicate the bacon slices you buy in stores. We just keep in chunks and then cut it with your standard chef knife into small irregular slices when frying.

Spork

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2016, 01:36:53 PM »
Something I've not tried yet and want to do is home cure some hams via salt cure or smoking.   Would also like to try and make bacon from scratch.
Butchering is just one of those self sufficiency skills like gardening and canning, home repair, etc.  Just about anyone can do it, and worst case you eat your mistakes.

Scratch bacon is absolutely delicious and very simple to make.  The biggest hurdle is getting a nice even thin slice without a high dollar meat slicer.  But irregular home made bacon is still delicious!

I've never even tried to replicate the bacon slices you buy in stores. We just keep in chunks and then cut it with your standard chef knife into small irregular slices when frying.

I have a garage-sale find electric knife I use to try to slice it thin and even.  A few of them are actually thin and even.  Most are not.  After I make it I freeze it ever-so-slightly (an hour maybe) and then slice the whole thing.

Rezdent

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2016, 10:36:10 AM »
Something I've not tried yet and want to do is home cure some hams via salt cure or smoking.   Would also like to try and make bacon from scratch.
Butchering is just one of those self sufficiency skills like gardening and canning, home repair, etc.  Just about anyone can do it, and worst case you eat your mistakes.

Scratch bacon is absolutely delicious and very simple to make.  The biggest hurdle is getting a nice even thin slice without a high dollar meat slicer.  But irregular home made bacon is still delicious!

I've never even tried to replicate the bacon slices you buy in stores. We just keep in chunks and then cut it with your standard chef knife into small irregular slices when frying.

I have a garage-sale find electric knife I use to try to slice it thin and even.  A few of them are actually thin and even.  Most are not.  After I make it I freeze it ever-so-slightly (an hour maybe) and then slice the whole thing.
I usually don't bother with thin.  I think part of the happiness of homemade bacon IS the thicker slice.

But if wanted, chill the slices until very cold.   Lay out slices on a wood cutting board and use the back of a large chef knife to make them thinner.  Pull the back of the knife along the strip. I angle slightly with small strokes to each side so that the strip gets wider and longer.
If the slices are really thick, pound them between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Goldielocks

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2016, 04:31:59 PM »
For pigs, we just scalded/burned the hair off and left the skin on the various cuts of meat.
Just returned from my friend's new hobby farm and her three pigs, assorted lamb / sheep and goats.   She is also first time to butcher this fall, and can't keep all the animals fed over winter, so....

Her 4H group is giving great advice / guidance to her (she has kids in 4H).   

The one thing I did not consider is that she is looking for an old bathtub, to heat scalding water in (over an outdoor fire) to scald the pig after slaughter..  to sanitize the skin prior to storage / further cutting.

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Re: Home Raising/Slaughtering of Animals - First Timer
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2016, 06:45:58 AM »
There are good YouTube videos out there for every animal imaginable but my personal preference would be to have someone experienced there in person. Most rural areas will have folks around that have done it.

Normally I can learn very well from books and videos but my first slaughtering went really well with other people there helping.

If you really don't want to do it yourself, many areas have small custom butcher shops or mobile slaughtering services.