Raising Backyard Pigs: Saying Goodbye

Posted on October 24th, 2012 by Tonia 31 Comments

We gave our sweet Piggy-pig her last back-scratch and her last meal this morning. We told her how pretty she is one last time. We thanked her for being such a good pig, and for feeding us with her body.

It was a sad day. We’re really going to miss her.

I’d like to share the butchering process with you all. I took pictures of each step, except for when we shot her. It was fascinating to me; seeing the inside of her body {bodies are amazing!} and learning where all the different cuts of meat come from {bacon is the belly!}, but I realize that not everyone is psyched about looking at photos of a dead animal…So, please tell me what you think, readers- do you want to see the process?


  1. Kim says:

    i would like to see the process. i am vegetarian, but one of the main reasons is because i don’t feel i could butcher and prepare my own meat, which i feel is an important part of the cycle from animal to food. i have a lot of respect for people who raise their own animals {with love and care} and kill them humanely for food. it takes a lot of guts to be able to face the process and accept that this is where your food comes from.

  2. Karen says:

    yes, yes, yes! so looking forward to raising my own pigs one of these days, and treating her ethically, all the way from birth to butchering, so i’d love to see your process.

  3. Pam says:

    We said goodbye to our pig, Olivia, a week ago and I struggled with this same thing. At first I was horrified, then cried (the shot), but as it went along, the whole anatomy part of it WAS fascinating. If you post it, I will look. I just couldn’t do it, myself. Sure does give me a whole new appreciation for where our meat comes from.

  4. tricia says:

    I’m interested in the process. I’m sure those that aren’t won’t mind skipping that post.

    I’m also interested in hearing more about your feelings about the whole process. For example – does that sadness prevent you from enjoying the meat? I’m worried I’ll give in at the last minute and end up feeding a couple of pet pigs forever.

  5. Abe says:

    Yes please. It is a good example of showing people the source of meat if not from supermarkets.

  6. I would be interested. I’m mostly vegetarian but will eat fish and have gutted fish, because i think if you’re going to eat something then you should be familiar with all the steps in preparing it.

  7. Sandra says:

    I’m a vegetarian also (whishing to go vegan which in Portugal is a very difficult thing to do because the offer of vegan products it’s rare and quite expensive)but, unlike the other readers, I don’t find the least interesting seeing the parts of a dead animal that it’s about to be eaten. I also feel that there’s no problem in humans eating other animals if they raise the animals themselves and if they take care of them with respect and love (which you do) but I can’t stop feeling that there’s something wrong in taking pictures of the all process of the meat preparation and displaying it in the internet (as you did with your chickens)… It feels somehow disrespectful… Sorry.

  8. Danny says:

    I think feeling sad about this process is probably the best thing. The fact that you feel that way means that nothing about that pigs life is being taken for granted. Most of us eat meat every week without having any form of connect to the lives that provide us with that meat. Killing an animal shouldn’t be easy and I think you guys couldn’t have raised your own food in a better way.

  9. amelie says:

    agreed! maybe a notice on the top of each post will help readers determine if they want to scroll down for that post. Personally I would be fascinated with reading about it. I’m vegetarian but dream of homesteading, and love your blog for its authentic honesty–butchering included.

  10. Tonia says:

    Thank you for your input, everyone. I feel the need to address Sandra’s thoughts because I completely agree with her. It *does* feel disrespectful to photograph and display photos of the butchering process, in a way. I can assure you all, however, that the utmost respect and love was bestowed upon this pig every moment of her life, and in her death. And as you will see when I share the butchering process- almost every part of her body is useable. Her life has not been wasted.

    As some of you pointed out, this blog is about homesteading and all the nitty-gritty things that come along with it…blood and guts included. I don’t want to perpetuate the idea that homesteading is all butterflies and rainbows. There’s a lot of work involved, and a lot of things that aren’t romantic or photogenic. I want to share the complete experience with you guys and I can’t do that if I hide the ugly stuff from you.

    On that note, I promise that the photos of the butchering are actually very UN-bloody. There was almost no blood at all in her body when we opened her up, so you will see intestines {sausage casings!} and such, but no blood. I will post a note at the top of the post so that those of you who do not care to read/see it can skip it and come back when there’s a new post that’s NOT about butchering animals {I promise, there will be plenty of happy posts in the future!}

  11. amanda mae says:

    I’m interested! It’s something we are thinking about doing in the future. I’d love to learn more about your experience. I just read “Farm City” – my interest is peaked! Ps… Good for you guys, being connected to your food!

  12. Caitlyn says:

    glad I got to see her one last time, you guys are brave and amazing- I can’t imagine dealing with all that meat. Good luck, and can we have some bacon at Christmas brunch please?

  13. Tonia says:

    Caitlyn: Bacon at Christmas brunch– most definitely!! I’ve never seen such incredible {or so MUCH} bacon in my life!!

  14. Aaron Moralez says:

    I would be very interesting in seeing the photos, I find this blog as a great way of learning about a more sustainable and alternative lifestyle that I am working towards myself. So I am interested in these details.

  15. J says:

    What is wrong with you? That is disgusting and part of what is wrong with this country. Animal cruelty has got to end- if you really loved your pig, why the hell did you murder her?

  16. […] being gone. I promise, though…hog butchering post/photos coming soon! Thank you all for your comments and interest on the subject. I’m looking forward to sharing the process and discussing the […]

  17. beth says:

    Thinking of you and your turkeys this weekend. I’m giving our big turkey girl lots of special treats these last few days, and am very thankful and very sad.

    I’m having a hard time finding consistent recommendations about how far in advance to kill a turkey. Any brilliant insights from my favorite homesteaders?

  18. Tonia says:

    Hey Beth! Have you butchered her yet? As hard as it is to do, I would do it sooner rather than later. Their meat can become tough if you wait too long. Also, domestic turkeys were not meant to live long lives. If you don’t butcher her soon, she will just drop over dead one of these days anyway. They’re not like wild turkeys, who can live for years. Ours are WAY overdue to be butchered, too. It’s so hard…I’m pretty attached to them. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

  19. […] here it is. The promised pig butchering post. Please be aware that the images in this post are upsetting–even to those of us that eat […]

  20. Dan says:

    I think you are a terrible person.

  21. Heather says:

    Your disgusting and you should be the one cut open hanging upside diwn

  22. Tonia says:


  23. Lisa says:

    This is murder. Your meal lasts minutes and you’ll never remember it and for it you unnecessarily take an entire life. That is called the height of arrogance and it’s nothing but violence. I hope you awaken to the compassion you were born with and stop the unnecessary violence and killing. And do spare me any insensitive reply. That on top of your act makes it more horrific. Having no heart is not a point of pride. What you outlined here is the work of psychosis. Seek some help to get well.

  24. Stacey says:

    How can possibly claim to “love” your pig and then kill it. I don’t kill things I love. Disgusting

  25. Scarlett Baume says:

    Psychopathic C**T ! Gains the trust of her Pig while raising him, unbeknownst to the Pig who now trusts his sub-human caretakers, that he will be murdered so they can eat bacon. Gawd, we live a sick fucking “civilization!”
    I hope you meet the same fate one day, sooner than later.

  26. Lara says:

    I’m mortified. How could you do this and sleep at night? How could you bond with an individual and then kill her? Your pig didn’t not want to give her life, you stole it from her. For what? For some fat and meat that your body does not even need? Is this better than a factory farm? I don’t know. Neither is necessary. And most people in the world wouldn’t have the privilege to do this anyway. To feed the world and be kind to every living being, go vegan. Teach that kind of respect next time.

  27. Jemma says:

    This is disgusting and disturbing. Anyone who thinks this is ok is messed up. This is sick. Poor sweet pig. Stop murdering innocent animals.

  28. Angela torres says:

    You should go see a Psychiatrist as soon as possible. Your ability to disconnect is a trait shared with Psychopaths and Serial Killers. You’re a Monster! Scary! I’ll show this post to people on Halloween…evil at it’s best!!

  29. Tonia says:

    Ironic that people so passionate about kindness towards animals are so easily cruel towards another human. I’m not sure what the intended effect was supposed to be, but your comments say a whole lot about you.

  30. Rebecca says:

    This has to be the saddest and most sickening thing I’ve ever seen. That poor animal did not wave to die. How could you? Just sick.

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