On Saturday the 22nd, the butcher came to ply his trade. The girls were getting too big to handle and too expensive to feed, and they were looking just about right for the freezer. I won’t go into detail, but I can say that our butcher was fast, clean, and efficient. The one hitch: we didn’t think to ask how tall their truck was. It wouldn’t fit under the eave of the woodshed so they couldn’t get into the back yard. Consequently, quite a bit of the action took place in the driveway. I don’t think there were any witnesses.
Not being overwhelmingly large consumers of pork, we got these pigs for the garden and not for our tummies. We like the smoked bits (bacon and ham) and the occasional sausage, but we don’t eat pork roasts or chops. We got the piggies because they are nature’s perfect rototiller and they poop constantly. As per the original suggestion by buddy Kent, they rooted up and manured up the garden quite well. So the pork is really just a side benefit.
Over the course of the (seemingly long) 5-1/2 months we had the pigs, Matt managed to do a fair bit of wheeling and dealing (seriously, he put some old-timers to shame). The result of all this trading and cross-trading was that one of the pigs belonged to next-door neighbor and logging partner Ed, who paid for half the food as well as reimbursing us for the cost of the pig herself. That halved pig prices, food prices, and slaughter, too. Matt also managed to get his mom to pay for butchering (cutting, wrapping, smoking, and whatnot) in exchange for half the meat off of our pig.
So here’s the math:
Feed (for 2)_______$361.94
Slaughter (for 1)__$50.00
Butchering (for 1)_$83.63
Half the feed___$180.97
Brings us to a total of $310.97, or $3.27 per pound for the pork we kept (our half weighed 95 pounds). However, if you subtract how much we spent on manure last year ($105.00), because we have been saved that cost by the pigs’ enormous amount of “by-product” that brings the total down to $205.97, or $2.17 per pound. This may not seem like a substantial savings over the meat-counter price, but the meat that we got was bacon, ham, some ribs, and a crapload of ground pork. Decent hams and bacon go for more than that (our favorite shoulder bacon is almost $6.00 a pound). Some of the ground pork will be transubstantiated into British-style breakfast bangers and white pudding, which cost us about $5.00 package each at the import store, so we’ve saved money there, too.
Will we do it again next year? Probably. We’ve already got requests rolling in now that the neighbors have finally discovered that we were hiding pigs out in the open.