Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goodbye, Pig

Yesterday morning we loaded up the pig and took her to the processor's.  It was bittersweet, and even though I was sad to see her go, I am happy that she'll feed our family for a long time.  It's great to know that we got her as a tiny pig, and in just barely 6 short months we raised her to be such a big girl. 

Here I am with her on Tuesday evening, giving her some scratches and loving.  She loved when I brushed her with a scrub brush!

We don't have a livestock trailer, and the one we were going to borrow was in use, so we had to make our own!   We put a dog kennel on top of David's flatbed trailer, and secured it with ratchet straps.  It wasn't going anywhere!   To load her, we backed the trailer inside her pen and dropped the ramp of the trailer.  We covered the ramp (made of expanded steel) with a black moving blanket so it looked like solid ground, because she may not have wanted to walk up the ramp if she could see through it. 
I was a little nervous that she'd be difficult to load in the trailer, but she followed a bucket of feed right up the ramp like she had been doing it every day!  I'm glad it was so calm and easy, because I wanted to make sure the whole process was as stress free for her as possible. 

Here we are all loaded up and ready to go.  No, I didn't ride back there with her, but I would have liked to!
I gave her some treats (a cantaloupe and some corn) to keep her happy and busy.
And there she goes....

The ride to the butcher's was fairly easy. I'm sure we got some weird looks going down the road!  We had to wait a bit at the butcher's because someone else's was there blocking the unloading dock, and the pig started to get a little nervous, so I had to eventually go inside to ask him to move the truck.  We got her unloaded very easily, and the worker there was very patient as I walked her back to her pen, gave her a bit of feed, and said goodbye to her.  I'm sure to the workers this is so routine and boring, but I wanted to make sure she was calm.  This was the hardest part for me, because I couldn't control what was happening to her.  My first choice would have been for us to dispatch (a nice way to say kill) her at our house, then take her to the butcher for processing.  Unfortunately (for us), since the butcher we used is USDA inspected, they can only accept live animals.  We just made sure to choose a reputable butcher and trust that she would be treated as calmly and humanely as possible.  I spoke with the butcher when I made the appointment, and he was very nice and said 99% of the time it goes very smoothly.  Maybe next time we raise a pig we'll make sure it's at market weight in the winter, and try to process it ourselves. 

So all in all, raising her was a very good experience and I really did enjoy it.  Pigs are very smart and entertaining animals, and I'll definitely miss her around here.   I still have the 2 small boys, and they'll raised a little longer for a pig pickin'

We pick up the meat in about 3 weeks (it needs time for the hams and bacon to cure), and I'll write another post then!


Becky said...

Congratulations on raising a great pig! You sure worked hard to make the trip as stress free for her as possible. All pigs should be so lucky. Great job!

Susan said...

What a beautiful pig. She had a sweet, pampered life, and I bet that bacon is going to be scrumptious.

Momma/Deb said...

Great job Katie and Pig Pig! She looks so good and now the younger ones can have most of the food! I know it will be worth all the work and feed you put into her! Love you, Momma

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