There’s more than one way to not kill a goat.

Today we found out you can not kill a goat very effectively by using a kitchen knife.  The blade didn’t even hold an edge long enough to break skin.  We were starting with the oldest and biggest, the doe Jewel and she just kind of looked at us like “Are you trying to tickle me?  You dragged me out here under this tree to tickle me?”  It was embarrassing to stand there in front of the goat with a dull knife and a few neck hairs.

We had planned to just cut and skin and process immediately, in the manner of people who butcher where it’s too warm to hang after skinning.  We figured not having to shoot might help the first time go faster.  OH WELL.

So we went to Fred Meyer, which is almost but not quite like Wal-mart and bought a .22.  But there is no ammo, and I am not sure where to go to get any.  So the goats will live to party in our driveway and try to walk into the house another few days until we solve the ammo problem.  We solved the knife problem by purchasing an actual skinning knife, which has a very different shape precisely because it needs to get the job done quickly and easily.

So that was our day in a nutshell.

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3 thoughts on “There’s more than one way to not kill a goat.

  1. Oh, dear! I have not done it myself on a “big” animal, but the people who come to my farm to do it and whom are very proficient at it, I’ve noticed, stick the knife in the center of the neck (behind the jugular) and cut outward/forward, through the windpipe and jugular veins, in one swift motion. That way, it minimizes the knife’s contact with hair, which is so dulling. They mostly seem to use small, pointy knives- almost a pocket knife will do, if it’s sharp. It is incredibly fast, and the sheep lose consciousness in moments from the blood pressure drop.

  2. For throat cutting a 14″ chefs knife works pretty well; you can get the commercial version of this knife at the costco business in lynnwood for about $8. When I do this I prefer a longer knife, and it’s better, much better, if it’s razor sharp.

    When I shoot sheep I make an X by drawing a line from the opposite ear and eye, and shoot at the intersection. Animals flinch when things approach their heads. Take your time and make a careful shot. I shoot down from the forehead to the center of the breastbone between the front legs to get the right angle.

    If you shoot with the goat tied or in a pen, if you miss you don’t have to chase them so much. Have a knife ready and cut the throat immediately afer the shot.

    So the final suggestion is to practice this a couple of times: have someone to hand the gun off to, and who hands you the knife. “bang”, hand the gun over, get the knife, kneel, flip the goat on its back, cut the throat, step back. Actually practice this. Hand the unloaded gun over, and get the knife. Figure out where people have to stand. do it until you’ve got it down, and then do it for real.

    When you cut the throat you’ll be cutting the windpipe and all arteries and veins. You’re cutting from the front of the throat to the spine. A long knife makes more effective drawing cuts. A skinning knife is a little short for my taste.

    I think that holding the knife is something everyone who eats meat should do. Good luck.

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