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Farm Butchering

Farm Butchering

How hard can the transition from processing wild game into on farm butchering?  Well, not too hard skill wise, but the volume requires an entire different approach where efficiency really matters.  This is especially true when you are going to be selling these animals.  It is always important to us that we honor the animals and use every bit of meat possible.

On Farm Butchering Tools and Equipment

Before we dive into the different animals and their specific butchering processes, let’s discuss a couple essential tools and equipment needed for on farm butchering.

Sharp Knives: Anytime we are skinning or cutting meat maybe the most important equipment is our knives.  Knife quality may be less important than sharpness but investing in high-quality knives is not a bad idea.  Probably a good idea to have a breaking knife, boning knives, butcher knife and a honing rod.

Meat Saw: A handheld or electric meat saw will be needed at times to help break down larger animals as well as making specific cuts of meat easier.

Chicken Plucker:  I don’t know about you, but with minimum batches of 25 chickens I am not hand plucking birds.  These devices add so much efficiency to butcher day.  Plus they are easy to operate.  

Scalders:  Commercially produced or DIY you are going to need scalders for birds and pigs.  Commercial vs DIY is based on the volume of butchering.  Chickens for us are probably commercially produced.  Hogs will lean towards DIY scalders since we’ll skin if we are not butchering roasting pigs.  Scalders also allow for shrink bags around chickens.

Meat Grinder:  An electric meat grinder is essential.  In order to make sausage you need ground pork.  Using electric grinders is definitely helpful if you are making hamburger with multiple grinds.

Sausage Stuffer:  Sausage and snack sticks are a must with pork.  It’s almost as important as bacon, yea yeah… I said almost.  A powered sausage stuffer is a must, manually operated takes forever.

Scales: Getting accurate weights is not a bad idea.  Will let you track feed to meat numbers.  Plus measuring out ground meat or fat is needed to get your mixtures right.   Then of course weighting out portions for storage requires a meat scale.

Freezer Paper & Labels:  Wrapping in freezer paper can help reduce the dreaded freezer burn.  Labels are important so we know what cuts and how long they have been in storage.

Vacuum Sealer:  One of the best ways to store cut meat or processed meat products is to suck all the air out and seal with a vacuum sealer.  The combination of freezer paper and a vacuum sealer on portioned meat cuts helps hold the meat quality while in the freezer.

Chicken Butchering

Chickens like ducks, geese and turkey are some of the easiest animals when it comes to farm butchering.  You can do relatively decent size batches in one or two days.  It’s a simple process.  Dispatch, scald, pluck, eviscerate, piece out or keep whole, cool and store.  Great post on How to Butcher Chickens []

Pig Butchering

Pig butchering requires more time and effort. First, you need to quickly dispatch the pig with a .22 caliber rifle.  Then it needs to be scalded and scraped or skinned.  Eviscerate the pig and split the carcass in half.  Separate out the primal cuts and then breakdown further from there.

Rabbit Butchering

Rabbit butchering is pretty simple. First, humanely dispatch the rabbit by using a killing cone. Next, hang the rabbit by its hind legs, and remove the head and hide. Remove the organs and breakdown into individual cuts.

Turkey Butchering

Turkey butchering is similar to chicken butchering but requires some bigger muscles due to the larger size.  Make sure your killing cone is large enough to handle turkey.  Scald the bird the same as a chicken and depending on the size of the bird and your plucker… drop it in the plucker.  Otherwise, get to hand plucking.  Eviscerating is slightly easier due to the larger cavity.  Breakdown into smaller cuts.

Farm Butchering Articles