I came across the video above the other day that shows the complete steps of processing a pig from start to finish. Those with a weaker stomach may want to skip it.
Raising an animal for food is a natural progression for those looking to live a self-sufficient life. First comes the herb garden, then perennials, and before you know it; you have chickens running around the yard.
Chickens are often referred to as a gateway animal and they have been the downfall of many homesteaders. Once you have fresh eggs daily from your flock; your mind runs rampant trying to decide what other animals you can legally add to the backyard; without upsetting the local code enforcement or your spouse of course. Personally; my wife scares me more than the code enforcer!
Raising a pig is usually one of the next animals that a person trying to live self-sufficiently attempts. If you have the space and are allowed to raise them; you should do it. Pigs are a joy to have around the homestead and provide a number of benefits over other animals.
- They process feed more effectively then cattle, goats or sheep.
- Help prepare soil for planting by rooting.
- Will gladly take care of any extra vegetables from the garden.
- Will gladly eat any scraps from the kitchen; just be careful what you feed them.
- If you have a dairy animal, they will be more than happy to take care of any extra milk you have.
- Make cleaning the garden at the end of the planting season a snap.
- They are an intelligent and loving animal if handled daily.
Should you process them yourself, or take them to a meat cutter is one of the biggest emotional dilemmas faced by people who raise their own animals. I try not to get too attached to my pigs, but anyone that can raise an animal from a baby without any type of emotion has lost a little bit of their humanity in my opinion. It is probably the biggest reason why we use a local butcher.
Division of labor is another reason why we have our pigs processed elsewhere. We are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible but sometimes it is more efficient to not do everything yourself. I would never be able to utilize the knife work and speed the animal is broken down with as shown in the video above; they have years of experience that I could never gain. My time and energy would be better served elsewhere; for example; making the garden bigger, digging a pond or expanding the pigs pasture area.
Below is part two of the video series which goes into more detail on the preservation methods of the meat. This I can, and gladly do.
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