IS IT WORTH THE TIME AND EFFORT TO RAISE YOUR OWN MEAT?

guinea hog 3

Good Morning again.  Yes it is early here again, about 6:30.  Why so early?  Well I am up anyway whether I want to be or not so I might as well use the time and I choose this instead of say starting the mowing I need to do with the tractor a chain saw or any other loud obnoxious equipment this time of the day.  Not everyone gets up early.  That and the fact that it takes me a while to do one of these and there is always things I could be doing outside.

I had a hog slaughtered on Friday.  You might remember I had bought a couple of Guinea hog boars a few months back to try them.     A heritage breed and smaller than most other breeds on today’s market.  I wanted to see if they were as good as reported.  Also I wanted to get some idea as to not only the yield of this breed but a hog in general as compared to cost of raising one for self consumption.  I am going to give you some poundage numbers that I accumulated and a few photos of the cuts and where they came from in hopes of clarifying for some how and where certain pieces or cuts come from.  I know it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words but if there is no background knowledge of the subject it can also be confusing so I will try as best I can to explain it in as few words as possible.

So here goes.  About 4 months ago we bought two reportedly year old male guinea hogs.  Reportedly about 100 pounds each.  Reportedly pasture fed.  I keep saying reportedly because I have no personal knowledge of the people I bought from or the conditions these animals were raised.  I doubt the 100 pounds and would guess them to be about 75 each at best.  Age?  I have no way of knowing, they were not small pigs.  They were in fair to good condition but small for age.  Two months ago we slaughtered one but I kept no record of the weights and yield on that one.  They were still kept on pasture such as it is and I supplemented with about a half quart of corn every other day.  Enough to put on fat but not enough to totally meet their feed needs.  Let them forage and let’s see what we get.

Friday when I took him to slaughter my guess is that he weighed 150 to 175 lbs.  An estimate, I did not ask them to weigh him.  They did however weigh the carcass.  112 pounds of dressed weight.  Now Pauline takes exception to the term, dressed.  It is her opinion that if anything we are undressing this animal and I must say I have to agree with her.  Everything is taken off.  Hair, hide, head and all internal organs.  A 48 lb. or roughly 30% loss right off the bat.  But actually that is about average from all I have read if you factor in the liver and heart that can be used the average is even better.  Just about everything inside can be used if   someone wants to but most of us are not going to be bothered with that unless times get hard indeed.

Here comes the hard part for me.  You will note in the pictures that a coffee cup is seen quite often.  I placed it there for a point of reference to give perspective to the size of the pieces of meat.  It is 3.25″ in diameter and 3.5 inches high.  I can’t tolerate that much caffeine any more  although I do still drink it.  Actually it doesn’t bother me so much but Pauline says it runs her up the wall when I do.  How can that be?

frt qtr perspective

complete hind qtr. intact                                  

hnd qtr cuts

1 ham 1 side of ribs and b loin and rib center cut chops come out of it  

frt qtr cuts

Front qtr. yields rib end chop, pork steaks, shanks, brisket small piece of spare ribs and sausage meat. Note the excess fat to the left. Shanks, brisket pieces and small neck pieces used either for seasoning or cooked separate.    

fore qtr.

Front Qtr. from rib end note excess fat and relative size of chops also note lighter color of eye of chop. That is marbling

 

frt qtr intact

Front qtr. intact

Tried to give a little visual aid here as to what comes from where and the relatives sizes.  Most of the more modern breeds will be at least twice this size and with less excess fat on the animal.  When we lost the outside fat we also lost the marbling or fat inside the muscle as well which in my opinion means we lost the taste and juiciness of the meat as well.   Now I agree there is a lot more fat on the outside than I would prefer.  That is a waste of grain and money since good health says I am not allowed the lard or the cracklings from it.  A real shame as there is a LOT of flavor  there!

OK so here is what we ended up with.  Two approximately 2 lb. sides of spare ribs, 12 lbs. center cut chops, 9.5 lbs. of pork steaks, 9 pounds of assorted bone-in pcs for seasoning or however. I LOVE braised or slow cooked shanks. 36 pounds of sausage meat, that I have to make when I finish this and 32 pounds of fat I cannot use.  So 70.5 pounds of edible, little to no bone, meat.  Almost a 50% yield.  70 pounds, that runs right there with the charts of the more modern animals yields that I have seen.  And I get to keep the flavor and taste that go along with it.

For us the size is right,  They are easy to work with, almost like a pet,. They graze well and ours did very little rooting.  My conclusions?  I am going to stick with the Guinea Hog.

Did it save us any money?  Let’s look at that.  $100.00 purchase price.  My estimate is I put 50 lbs. of corn into this one.  $5.00 where I get it.  So I have a $105.00 investment plus my time and labor.  Don’t forget the gas to get them and the gas to take to have slaughtered as well as the $40.00 kill bill.

$145.00 investment and 70 pounds of edible meat yield that you know what they have eaten.

You tell me.  If you are buying from the super market  are you paying more than $2.00 a lb.?

That’s about it for now, drop me a note and let me know what you decide.

Bob

cutting room

Our cutting room. 7X10. It is tight but it works

 

 

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