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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping pigs
...Farrowing pigs
...Feeding pigs
...Pig breeds
...Pig Selection
...Weaning piglets

This is the end of the production line.

Pork pigs are ready at between 120-130 Ib live weight. If you are aiming to sell the meat privately, take the pigs to the slaughter-house and collect them when they are ready. This will not be the same day as the pigs must be chilled. It is difficult to cut a pig that has not chilled sufficiently and if the slaughter-house is amenable, it is best to leave them in the chiller for two days.

The slaughter-house will probably cut and wrap them if you want but much of your profit then goes in their charges. You could always do as a friend of our did who enthusiastically bought a whole pig from us some years ago. Armed with a sharp knife and a saw, she reduced the whole carcass to six-inch-wide joints. As you can roast any piece of pork this was acceptable but not to her husband. He rebelled at being faced with continual nameless pieces. Now she buys them already jointed.

If you are producing bacon pigs, you must rear them to the weight your customer wants. There is a small market for suckling pigs which are totally milk-fed piglets. Most customers want them at about twenty pounds dead weight. It is sometimes difficult to get a slaughter-house to deal with them but the point to remember is that they are extremely likely to 'go off. They must either be delivered immediately to the customer or deep-frozen. In any case, certainly avoid doing it in hot or humid weather.

In other countries such as France and Italy, the pigs are killed and then processed into pates, pies, salamis and so on by the farmer. That is not done very much in Britain but we do process a fair proportion of our pigs that way. It is very useful to be able to process the head, collar, hand and spring and belly into pates and pies. Then you can sell the loin and legs at a very competitive price.