Her Shell

Dec 2, 2012 by

The day came I was dreading and to be honest I didn’t know if I could go through with it. Sausage the pig had reached weight far quicker than I had anticipated.  The decision was made, the help organised, the abattoir arranged and the butcher lined up.

This is what I had traipsed up and down the lane for; everyday, in wind and rain and that was just the summer; to feed her.  She had been fed the best – rolled barley, fruit and vegetables and potatoes.  She had had fresh air, space to run and root and a lovely big deep bed of straw to sleep in when it was cold or wet.  She had a better life than the vast majority of pigs on the planet.

I had the help of a neighbouring farmer and a friend who is also a farmer. Neither had any experience of pigs, just cattle and sheep.  They assured me we would load her easily. In the end we did, but I think they were surprised at her strength when she knocked the gate out of their hands they were holding onto, to block her escape.  The trailer was pushed into the shed beside her sister and she was left overnight to calm down.

The next day I followed the trailer in my car. I felt as if I was part of a funeral procession.  In a way I was.

The abattoir is a small one and he had almost finished a consignment of pigs when we arrived.  The smell was all embracing – it seemed to settle in a gelatinous layer on me.   The screams of the pigs were blood curdling and I glanced at Sausage who had shrunk down into the corner of the trailer, fear in her eyes. 

She was unloaded and pushed into the shoot.

I was heartbroken.

I drove home and decided to go and pick up the other pig immediately to get the experience out of my mind.

Little pig is a an eight week old male Saddleback.  He has settled in now, but initially he wouldn’t eat as he was scared of a bucket.

Rasher getting to know little pig

Next day I went back to the abattoir to collect the carcass and take it to the butcher.  To my surprise I didn’t feel anything. What was carried out was her shell, Sausage was gone.  The relief was enormous and I know now I will have no difficulty eating her.

Everyone said to me it will get easier but I hope it never does.  It should be difficult.

The reality of living as a small holder.

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  1. Pigs are different even the farmer found it hard.

  2. We feel the same way when we dispose of one of the birds. Never easy but always delicious…so the balance hangs nicely. Well done. I am sure it is delicious after having such a great life x

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