Sunday, 2 September 2012

The last supper.......

Not much has happened since my last post, but today has been very eventful!

This week we prepared the open stable for the pigs' last day.  We found with our previous  pigs it was a good idea to move them into this clean environment the day before they went off to slaughter. This meant they could be kept clean. Abattoirs don't like dirty, muddy pigs turning up. Most abattoirs only slaughter pigs on one day of the week, so we need them to be clean, otherwise a whole week goes by (and about £20 in feed for 3 pigs at this age). Ultimately the thought prevails, would you like to eat muddy meat? Probably not, therefore clean pigs are better for everyone!

So, this morning I moved the pigs from their outdoor pen, which is about the size of a tennis court, to the open fronted stable (with the help of Devon (4) and Olly (2)!).  They seemed quite happy, but 2 hours later they had escaped through a tiny gap in the gate and where rampaging around the paddock! This prompted an outing to our local DIY store to buy some more rope to tie the gate to the front of the stable.  A few hours later they were happily back, and what we thought was secure in the stable.

Then the awful task of ear tagging started. Both the Oxford Sandy and Blacks, were quite easy to tag.  But the Gloucester Old Spot was a different story......we just couldn't get the tag in her ear and she became quite distressed.  I therefore decided I will try again in the morning. It is DEFRA legislation that any pig going to slaughter must have a herd mark or tag on them.  We have some pesky metal tags, which in hindsight were a bad purchase, but you live and learn.

So last meal fed and seemingly quite happy, we left for home and a night of preparing our kitchen for tomorrow's delights. 

No more than an hour later and a call came to say the pigs are Houdini's nemisis' and had escaped into the paddock again! I seriously don't know how a 120kg pig can fit through such a tight space, but she did. All 3 girls were now safely back in their original outdoor pen and bedding down in their ark for the night.  Ok girls, you win!

So tomorrow's final fate looms nearer and will start at about 8am, with the loading of the pigs into the trailer.

I have mixed emotions this evening.  This of course is the ultimate reason you start on this journey. But death always comes with a heavy heart.  However, these pigs have lived a beautiful life, being fed on amazing fruit and vegetables alongside their normal diet in a lovely enclosure. Rooting, wallowing and lots of sunbathing for the past 6 months. Pigs doing what pigs should do, but sadly for most commercially produced meat is not the case.  In death, as a butcher says, all but the oink will be used of the boundary pig herd No 2.

Tomorrow we will make a few different types of blood pudding including good ole fashioned black pudding. Later in the week we will take delivery of the rest of the meat and a day of vacuum packing and sausage making will ensue.

Farewell girls. It's been great fun and strange as it sounds I will miss you.

  Devon, Matilda and Olly helping out today

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