Welp, had to butcher one pig a little earlier than planned. He decided that being outside the pen was worth the electric shock. Which also means that shooting him was more like hunting than livestock. Three of four contained still and still being fattened up!
Many lessons learned. Lesson 1: pigs are heavy. Even small pigs like kunekune. Do not underestimate this. Lesson 2: use a pulley and something sturdier than 2×3 dimensional lumber to hoist. Lesson 3: if you don’t have the setup to dunk, just skin. I know many say they used a wet towel to scald and scrape successfully, but after about two hours I ended up skinning him anyway.
All in all, this pig was a lot of work, but very rewarding to see all that meat in the freezer! Of course, I’m not looking forward to doing it three more times, but I am looking forward to taking it easy this winter with farm stuff, and I know my wife is too!
On that note, let’s talk poultry. Chickens are fun. They’re entertaining. Eggs are good. Meat is also good. But pay attention to the economics of it. I lost track of that this year, and my wife was the one who pointed out that we are inputting much more in feed costs than we are getting in eggs. Of course, some of these birds are three years old, too. They slowed down a lot last winter but this year it’s barely fall and they have stopped altogether.
So, time for a cull. Of thirteen chickens, nine have been selected for processing. That might seem excessive, but they are not pets. Last winter we spent too much on feed for not enough eggs. Not doing that this year. Unfortunately most of the birds are the same age so this cull is bigger than it could have been. Will try to stagger ages better in the future.
Rabbit population also got out of hand, so nine of them went as well (well, one escaped but I’m gonna get him!) leaving only our two best does, our buck, and a litter too small to process. Lady McFarmFace has an excellent idea (that I should have listened to a few months ago…) that we should treat the rabbits more like the turkeys. Start selling babies and simply process those that don’t sell for our meat. So watch for a new section of this blog being launched soon!
Phew. Time to take a break, right?