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Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:57 pm
by tosca
To all those who raise their own livestock, can I ask how long have you been doing it and how did you cope with the first time you had to send an animal for slaughter?

Although I am a veggie, OH eats meat and at the moment we are buying meat from out lovely neighbours. Over here it is the time for killing the stock to save on winter keep. Last week the steer, this week pigs, next week sheep.

There was a huge amount of spare veggies going from our garden to next door during summer and autumn. In fairness they had planted the garden for us anyway before we moved out here, and filled the space with squash and pumkins, pictures of the resulting mountain appeared on here, and we ended up with a good few in the cellar. We will be growing more for the chickens next year, and although we only have half an acre it is more than enough space to over grow some things as there are only two of us.

I have told the OH he will have to look after any meat animals, as he does 'his' chickens, for obvious reasons. The neighbours have had someone in to do the deed, that is the way it is done here, but I don't know how I, or even OH will cope if a pig we have got used to having around made the incredible din that the one next door did. He's not bothered, but not sure how he would be with his own. I realise once it's done you would soon get over it, but I have been dreading the run up to Christmas for the very reason that it is cause for celebration and excitement when the time is due. We were invited next door for rakia on steer day, but I was cooking and just the sight of all the meat hung between the gardens was a bit traumatising. I have got over it of course, and helped OH to sort the huge chunk of haunch we bought.

Just wondering how others coped, or is it easier in the UK when you have to send them away.

Tried a photo but for some reason it is unable to determine the size of the photo

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:50 pm
by doofaloofa
I have killed animals for meat for 15 years or so, and I find it emotionally quite tough and feel guilt imediatly before and after

I tend to make a deal of thanking the animal before hand

To do the deed I flip the switch, and just focus on doing the job, not contemplating the morality of it, and then the processing occupys my mind

I am usually haunted by the sounds of ghost animals for a few days, though only the noisy ones like turkeys and pigs

The MO is also important. My first pigs were stunned with a sledge hammer. This method was brutal and i didn't like doing it. Now i have a .22 rifle to do the job which is way easier

Simmilarly, beheading poultry I find easier than kneck wringing , as i do hitting rabbits on the back of the head rather than the traditional kneck wringing

My biggest fear is not killing the animal quickly, and it comeing back to life during gutting/skinning

If you haven't done it before it will be hard, but the same baggage should be attached to all meat that is consumed

On a side note, my wife was a veggie for 10 years until I fried our first home raised, home cured rashers, now she bites the heads off chicken (not realy)

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:44 pm
by tosca
Thanks for that doofaloofa. Turkeys were another thing he was thinking of. To be honest he is perfectly capable of dispatching birds and the like, and small furries. He has worked with animals for many years and kept exotics. But as with you, things are different here. I have no idea how he goes about things, I just leave him to it.

However, we have spoken since I posted and it seems the other pig next door was dispatched while he was in the garden and it has left a bit of an impression on him. :shock: so he is now unsure about going down this route. There seems to be a chap who does the deed so it is not something you have to do yourself, but he will have to do some more research. I believe our English neighbour found himself at a ritual killing once so it may be a good idea to speak to him. Like moving out here, this needs a lot of thinking about and where I did most of the internet research when we made the decision to move here it is time he did the research which will affect him most.

Although, as I said, I am a veggie, (30 years!) I find this sort of thing interesting as I like to know how the locals do things, and also to support him in whatever he wants to do. I actually knew more about the winter slaughtering than he did and have had sleepless nights worrying if our neighbours were the sort to make a big deal of it in the street, but she, at least, reveres animals and is always keen to cuddle our chicks. However, I will not be looking after his beasts if he goes down that route, I will end up giving them names and belly scratches! :oops: But I will help prepare for the freezer, to a degree, and cook for him.

Once again, thanks.

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:54 pm
by doofaloofa
Seeing an animal slaughtered is a moving experiance, especially the first time

It is hard with the kids too, and we have had many tears. My mantra is "It's not a pet, we will be killing it", so they are pretty clued in now (one has turned veggie), and some times help me with the processing

Personally I think one should be prepared to do the deed if one wants to eat meat. I think more people would be veggies if they had to do the killing

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:04 pm
by tosca
Indeed. Thank goodness we have a good supply of walnuts from our tree, it's amazing what you can do with them! Quite a few went to the pigs though. Although the neighbours know I am a veggie, she still sends us soup with meat in! I think it is a bit alien to them. And she is convinced I am not feeding us well enough I think. They are lovely.

I will leave OH to think about what he wants to do over the next couple of months.

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:17 pm
by doofaloofa
On the bright side, if he can kill a pig he has raised he is well equipt to protect you from robbers

Re: Livestock for the freezer

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:29 am
by tosca
doofaloofa wrote:On the bright side, if he can kill a pig he has raised he is well equipt to protect you from robbers
:lol: :lol: :lol: