Slaughtering Pigs

If you're keeping pigs for their meat, the day will inevitably arrive when your pigs have to be slaughtered. Although this can be a difficult day, knowing what to expect and being well prepared will ensure that minimal stress is experienced by you and the pigs.

How will you know that it’s time to slaughter your pigs? It’s a combination of age, weight and condition.

Term Definition
Porker A pig reared to pork weight, normally about 60kg live weight, rather than to bacon weight. Usually achieved between four and six months of age, depending on breed.
Baconer A pig being reared for bacon rather than pork, and which will be slaughtered at 80kg - 100kg live weight, at about 8 - 10 months of age.
Cutter A pig between pork and bacon weight, raised to produce larger joints.

Weighing pigs

You can estimate the liveweight of your pig using the following method:

  1. Measure the length of the pig from ears to base of tail in inches
  2. Measure the girth behind the front legs in inches
  3. Multiply girth x girth x length and divide by 880 to get the weight in kg or 400 to get the weight in lbs.

The killing out percentage for pigs is about 72-74%, since all that is removed is the blood and internal organs. The percentage of usable meat is about 64% of liveweight, with prime cuts being about 48% of liveweight.

Dan Champion

About Dan Champion

A self-confessed geek, Dan would spend 20 hours per day in front of a computer if he didn't live on a 12-acre smallholding in the east of Scotland (and if his wife would let him). He also built this website.

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