The slaughtering process while relatively simple is possibly the hardest part of butchering your own meat. Our livestock is raised for certain functions, sometimes that function is putting meat on the table. The care that we give our livestock ensures that they are happy and healthy but also allows us to have some level of a bond with the animal. Knowing that the animal was happy it’s whole life and only had 1 bad second will help to give you peace of mind. If you are raising and processing your own livestock and you don’t have some sad feelings when slaughtering day comes you shouldn’t be raising livestock anymore.
For the 12 hours prior to slaughter and butchering we withhold feed. For about 4-6 hours before slaughtering we withhold water. Withholding food and water helps for a couple reasons. The hog will be much easier to move to where you will be slaughtering when they are hungry and you have a little bit of food. Restricting feed and water will also mean that there is less feed and water in the animal when you are cleaning the carcass.
When slaughtering a hog a properly placed .22lr will do the trick. The key is to properly place the shot. Having the pig contained is best. We use our slaughtering pen or one of our small buildings. If for some reason you miss the mark you want to be able to quickly finish and not have the injured animal running from you or injuring you.
If you look at the pig’s head from above you can visualize an “x” between the eyes and the ears. You should place your shot from just behind the ear towards the opposite side eye. This shot will quickly and humanely slaughter the pig.
After slaughtering the hog you want to hang the hog by its rear leg(s) and cut the main arteries in the pig’s neck and drain the blood. It is a good idea to have where you are going to hang the pig at the same location that you slaughter the pig. This will allow you to immediately get the hog hanging and not have to move the slaughtered pig from one location to another.
If you want a chance to get hands on experience learning the aspects of producing your own meats check out or upcoming basic hog processing workshop where we will cover the whole process from paddock to freezer.