On Tuesday this week, the next batch were loaded into the trailer for the trip “away”. This time we used Dunblane abattoir, which is closer to us, and is in the town where we used to live. It is a credit to their operation that not many people know there is an abattoir in the town – we were amazed when we found out. Unloading was definitely easier, and less stressful than last time. I suspect that many would be uncomfortable discussing this, but it is an essential part of the journey for any livestock keeper who is producing for meat. So, when you buy meat from us, you will know that we have been involved all the way.

We loaded them into the barn two nights beforehand for a couple of reasons – it is easier for all being the most obvious – the last thing we or the pigs need beforehand is a chase around a paddock as we try and get them loaded. Getting them into a trailer is much easier if you can do at feeding time, and because any livestock should not really be fed before going to the abattoir, getting them in the barn a couple of days before hand is the sensible thing. It saves stress and time pressure. The second major reason is that the straw in the barn does act to clean them off, which again makes sense as it reduces the risk of contamination at the abattoir.

So in they went, and two unloaded without any problems – the last two needed a bit of coaxing, but the flat unloading bay is a real benefit meaning that the pigs don’t need to exit downwards on the ramp which is always a challenge. I don’t know if the reluctance to get out of the trailer was anything other than being difficult – can they smell something different?

The next step is to talk to the Butcher. All of these ones have a good layer of fat we think, so we will be making Bacon for the first time. We will have three types – smoky, sweet cure and unsmoked, pale bacon. Our butcher uses a dry cure which is rubbed on, and the meat is then turned regularly to ensure the cure goes all the way through. So in a few weeks, expect streaky and back bacon – hurrah! We are also trying out a few more sausage choices – Caramelised Onion, Sweet Chilli and Apple & Stilton. All will be available in large natural skins, and will be a bit more consistent this time in terms of size!!! We are aiming for 450-500g for 6 sausages – and will be charging £4.50 a pack. They will be on the website soon to get your pre orders in!

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