Long Day’s Night


White Stretch Pig Limo Interior – Wet Bar not shown
See future Stainless Steel Liner

It was a 24-hour day. Plus some. We left at 7 PM on Wednesday and returned at 7:23 PM on Thursday. We had loaded up pigs including a big boar and were concerned about them getting down to the slaughterhouse quickly. They were calm but it was too close to a ton of pig. Even with the windows open, ice cubes in their sparkling mountain water and the fan blowing the air around in the back of their luxury limo we didn’t want them stressing there for too long. Our pigs ride in comfort taking up the majority of the interior of our E-350 extended body van but we still like to minimize their road trip time.

The other reason it was such a long day was I for, “the head of Guy Noir.” This entailed waiting until he came up in the slaughter queue and was processed. He was a big boar with massive tusks. Getting the head whole with the tusks in it maximizes the value of the pig. Warm and fuzzy is nice but this is not an piggy old folks home. The farm must pay its bills and every bit of the pig is good, even the teeth. Especially big tusks.

We are really looking forward to the day when the long weekly drive will be a thing of the past. I am too. Without knowing it, so are the pigs.


Updated Stainless Steel Interior of Pig Carrier

Later we updated the pig carrier by sheathing the interior with stainless steel which protects the body of the van from urine and manure as well as being super easy to clean out.

Outdoors: 68°F/43°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/67°F

Daily Spark: Abstain from perfection.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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16 Responses to Long Day’s Night

  1. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    Daayum, you folks must want to get on-farm slaughter online!! Sympathies to Holly.

  2. Sally Hurst says:

    I’m thinking of doing something similar to my farm truck (which is a 1998 Chevy conversion van.) I have already removed the back bench seat and have rigged it temporarily several times for use as goat transportation using a tarp on the floor and hog panels tied behind the middle seats to block goats going farther forward. Your plywood box is more necessary for pigs than for goats, but I love the (I assume waterproof) painted floor. What did you use? I had thought of trying to use vinyl flooring to replace the carpet in my van. The cheap stuff seems rather pliable, and that would be especially important as I fit the flooring up the walls and over the wheels.

    • The sturdy carrier in the back of our van does several important things that would benefit you with goats just as much as with pigs:

      1) Pee drains out to drip across the stainless steel sheet over the bumper and onto tailgaters. Don’t drive too close.

      2) Manure and hay are easily washed out.

      3) The animals can’t tear apart the interior of the van

      4) In the event of an accident the animals can not be thrown forward thus protecting the driver from harm. This also protects the animals as they’re already up against their forward surface. This is very important for driver and passenger safety. The carrier is made of welded steel to make it strong and the carrier is bolted to the frame of the vehicle so it can not move.

      5) The smooth surface of the floor is excellent for loading full pallets and crates of things like spent barley from the brew pub, pumpkins in the fall, etc. Free food. Run loaded and back haul a careful delivery route.

      The ‘paint’ is a heavy duty epoxy. Water proofing is achieved through a combination of layers including fiberglass molded in place. The plywood sheet shown at the top is to protect those layers below from the animals and pallets. The plywood can then be replaced as needed. Sometime I’ll post details about how we built the carrier. Photos are ready.

  3. Susan Lea says:

    Yeah, I guess you don’t want a ton of pig thrown forward into you in case of an accident!

  4. Jesse says:

    How old was Guy Noir when he was slaughtered? I thought you were keeping him for one of your herd boars…son of Spot, wasn’t he?

    • Guy Noir was about two and a half years old. He has been a breeder in our south herd. I’m working on moving our genetics towards more upright smaller ears which is good in our cold northern climate and I have upcoming boars that look just as fine as Guy Noir but have better ears so it was time to change partners again. His breeding buddy Speckles remains.

      • Jesse says:

        Gotcha- wouldn’t want to risk frostbite in a Vermont winter if I was a pastured pig living outdoors! How big is Speckles now? You said he was getting pretty huge and that was some time ago.

  5. skeptic7 says:

    What do you do with the whole pig’s head? Do you have a market for the skull or the teeth? Why did you decide to get rid of Guy Noir? He was a beautiful boar in the earlier post.

    • For the big boars and sows I save the skulls and tusks. They can be worth as much as a whole pig. For finisher pigs we often sell the whole heads for roasting or soup making. There are many delicious recipes based on pig heads for making soup, luncheon, stews and such. It is a very good thickener. Even there the tusks are recoverable although they’re smaller from a mere finisher since those pigs are only 250 to 300 lbs in size.

      • skeptic7 says:

        There are many interesting recipes for pig’s head on the net. Did Guy Noir end up as head cheese? soused pig’s cheeks? How big a pot does it take to cook down a whole pig head from a full size boar. Was Guy Noir a thousand pounds when he was butchered?

        • Way, way too big a pot. I don’t have one big enough for him. Guy’s head went into our head pile which is a special compost pile for particularly nice heads for the ants and other critters to eat of and out the flesh leaving behind the bones, the the teeth and occasional bits of skin. To miss-quote comedian song writer and performer Tom Lehrer. It’s a long slow process.

  6. Megan says:

    Nice box! I had to take a dexter cow to be bred by a bull 45 minutes away one time so I took out the seats of our family van, protected the carpet as best I could with tarps, and opened the back door. This is a Toyota Sienna. As I was in the process of loading her I was caught in the deed by my husband so I asked him to walk behind her. At this she climbed up in and I tied her to the welded seat loops that are in the floor and usually hold the seats in place. In about 3 miles she had somehow gotten loose (bad knots?) but was so happy to be going for a drive with me that she calmly spent the rest of the trip looking out the windows and enjoying the drive. Someday they will buy me a horse trailer. Until then I don’t wonder when my children opt to take their own vehicles places.

  7. Shelly says:

    Why don’t you just use a trailer?

    • Because we live on a steep, narrow, rocky, winding dirt road on a mountain. A trailer would be an extremely dangerous thing to try to pull down and backup the mountain on ice, snow and mud which encompasses most of our year. The van is far safer. The van also has the advantage of getting better gas mileage, lower annual fees, safer to drive on the highway and the livestock get to be in the comfort of the interior instead of out in the cold or heat. Lastly, why a van rather than a pickup one might wonder… Our reason is that the van can be converted between different functions very easily and quickly, such as carrying more people or more cargo, freezer, etc, and the van offers a covered interior to keep things dry in wet weather.

      • Irma East says:

        I agree, I have a mini van and most of the time I have the seats removed so I can haul tools. I don’t have animals yet. (unless you count my dogs)

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