Originally published at Women Not Dabbling by emphelan of A homesteading Neophyte
I have been pondering today’s subject for awhile now. How should I approach the subject of home butchering without offending people? Then it hit me, I never cared if I offended most people, of course there are always exceptions. I still see the wisdom in approaching Butchering in a sensitive manner. On A Homesteading Neophyte I give me readers a couple days advanced warning. I realize that there are people out there that do not wish to hear or see the subject. I use to be one of those people. I was a vegan for 15 years. Things changed for me. But I will not and have never pushed my ideals onto anyone, be it carnivore, omnivore or herbivore.
When it comes to home butchering, I feel that anyone that eats meat should participate in the practice at least once. Many people spout about knowing where their food comes from, but in reality, they only know that it was raised in a certain area. To truly know your food, you must witness the evolution of your food, from birth to death. And to truly respect your food, and to be more gracious for it, you need to get your hands dirty.
I will not get into details of butchering here, in respect for the WNDN readers. I will link you about to various post covering the how-to’s of it. But be forewarned, those posts are graphic in their details and their content.
It is difficult to butcher your first time. It is emotional and you almost feel like it is wrong, until you realize that you already have a freezer full of meat. You come to respect the animals for their lives and their deaths. My first time was difficult, I was a suburban girl, these things were for the uneducated back woods people to do, not me. But it is a huge part of the journey to self-sufficiency. (vegans excluded) Don’t allow anyone to tell you that it isn’t. It might not be a requirement, and it isn’t about having to, it is about needing to.
You do bond with your animals on a homestead. You are dealing with them one on one on a daily basis. They look to you for food, and comfort. But raising livestock of any size will lead you eventually to the need of butchering. Usually when you have too many roosters in the bunch.
There are many local lockers in every one’s area that will butcher for you for a price. And I am not saying that it is wrong to do this. Having a locker do it saves you time, and keeps it out of sight out of mind. Call around, see who has the best prices, find people that have used their services and check to see their USDA inspection is as current as possible. Also make sure you have a list of the things you want back from your animal. If you leave anything out of that list, they will not give it back to you.
Now for the home methods. My first suggestion is that if you can find someone that has done it before, that is willing to help you, grab them. If not, if you like my ‘stead have to go about it alone, grab your favorite homesteading book (most should cover butchering in them). Be prepared for mistakes. Your first time will not be easy. And we find that peppering it with humor helped us on our journey.
If you are interested here is a list of links that will take you to various animals, and our first time doing it. And remember, it does get easier each time, so don’t give up out of frustration. (and believe it or not, these links are my most popular posts)
Fellow blogger Applehead has a good post on his first time with Rabbits. Warning, video.