Author Topic: Animal Butchering  (Read 17095 times)

Offline akdentist

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2009, 11:32:37 PM »
I will second the 4H and FFA families.  We have belonged to 4H for many years - 1st with horses then migrating over to livestock.  After 3 years of raising pigs, goats and a variety of small animals, I took the leap and butchered my first pig.  One of the other 4H leaders offered to help me.  I am sure that in every 4H district in the country, there are several people who are do-it-yourself butchers that would be willing to help. 

All we had was a few sharp knives, a small reciprocating saw , a revolver and a clean place to work.  I set up a piece of plywood with some visqueen on it, hung the carcass up with my skid steer, but a come-along and a tree branch works as well. 

I was amazed at how little it takes to do.  We were done in about 2 hours - and when I say "we", I mean "he" as I was pretty much in the spectator section.  With the cost of professional meat processing costing more than the animal and the cost to raise it, it is definitely worth doing it yourself

Cheers!

Offline Citizen Zero

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2009, 11:41:28 PM »
Quote
Videos on the internet are available but it's one thing to watch it and a completely different thing to see and do the same thing up close and personal. A video on the 'Net is almost on par with knowing you get your meat from the grocery store.

You are very right.. The smells that you will discover are hideous!!

Yes, watching and doing are two very different things. Doing, you get all the neat additions like the stench of death, blood up to your elbows, fatigue from cutting and pulling, etc. The smell is the worst, the first time that I opened the body cavity of a deer I just shot, I almost puked from the stench! Slippery, slimy guts, no problem. It was the smell that almost did me in.

But, this is something that everyone in the US should still know how to do.

Someone had to slaughter, cut and package the meat that you find in the supermarket. Even better to know how to do it yourself!

Joel

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2009, 07:29:12 AM »
Consider the book "Basic Buchering of Livestock & Game" by John J. Mettler Jr.  You can learn everything you need to know about the topic. 
I have that book, and it's excellent.  I don't hunt much myself anymore, having become something of a vegetarian since bugging out to the boonies three years ago.  But there is a funny story concerning my son-in-law, an unfortunate rabbit, and that very book:

AtH The Assassin

Offline Granny Miller

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2009, 01:35:24 PM »
The USDA & many local ag extension services have put out good pamphlets on this topic (I hate the USDA so it's hard for me to admit this  ;) )
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2208
I agree it's best to watch someone first.

This topic is an important one and is dear to my heart.  I just this morning left this link
http://grannymillerblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-i-do-it.html

for Barb H. & Jack S. because of comments made on yesterday's show.
I strongly believe that if you're going to eat an animal and have the means - you should take the moral responsibility for that animal and not leave the slaughter & dirty work to someone else.


Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2009, 10:16:10 AM »
The USDA & many local ag extension services have put out good pamphlets on this topic (I hate the USDA so it's hard for me to admit this  ;) )
t.com/2008/07/why-i-do-it.html[/url]

for Barb H. & Jack S. because of comments made on yesterday's show.
I strongly believe that if you're going to eat an animal and have the means - you should take the moral responsibility for that animal and not leave the slaughter & dirty work to someone else.


Thanks Granny I checked out your post.  Just so we are clear we were talking about my raising meat birds which would die at about 2- 4 weeks old from the altitude here in Colorado - something we did not know when we purchased them.  It was so hard to watch.  I firmly believe in a quick painless death for anything I plan to eat whether it be an elk or a bad rooster.  You sound like a good farm lady!  Blessings TBM

Offline Granny Miller

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2009, 11:21:27 AM »
  Just so we are clear we were talking about my raising meat birds which would die at about 2- 4 weeks old from the altitude here in Colorado - something we did not know when we purchased them. 
Would maybe Freedom Rangers be a better choice for your area?
They're not like the big white zombie mutant chickens  ;D

Maryetta

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2011, 05:50:55 PM »
I didn't know how else to name the topic but here is what I want to know/do.

I believe it to be prudent to know how to:

- Kill, clean and fillet a fish

- Kill, pluck, clean and cut up chicken (and any difference to consider for other fowl)

- Kill, skin, clean and butcher a pig

- Kill, skin, clean and cut up wild game (deer, etc)

I would most likely not want to kill and prepare animals such as goats or cows, as I would want to depend on them for milk, etc.

Videos on the internet are available but it's one thing to watch it and a completely different thing to see and do the same thing up close and personal. A video on the 'Net is almost on par with knowing you get your meat from the grocery store.

I haven't had much luck finding a "school" of sorts to learn these skills and would really like to find someone within a reasonable distance of home (Nashville area) who would be willing to teach me (and maybe a group of others).

Hi Helen, Maryetta here. I'm in West Virginia and new to this site.  May I offer the suggestion that you purchase a whole Fryer (not roaster) chicken next time you go grocery shopping...  the reason being you can use it to learn how to cut up a bird ;-)
I've been butchering since I was big enough to hold a knife, and have done everything from squirrels to buffalo!  Once I'm better known here maybe folks will ask me questions - that would be great ~ I'm 58 and this knowledge should not be lost!

Anyway, I was not lucky enough to be the commercial butchers daughter so all we had to work with was a knife and a saw.  Because of this I learned to do what few people ever really think about: I "joint butcher" almost everything.

So, thinking of the joints on a chicken (or rabbit if your store carries them, usually in the frozen section if at all) and starting at the feet:

You will have the legs, find your joint, put your finger on it and move the leg at that joint, it will move on one side and be stationary on the other, that is your joint area: cut the leg off the thigh

Then you have the thigh connected to the back, find your joint and remove the thigh from the back. You can pull the thigh away from the back to find the joint a little easier - watch the fold in the meat when you pull it back, the joint will dimple somewhat.

Now, move to the wings, again, they are joints.  To make it easier, pick the wing up directly out from the body of the chicken and cut from the bottom up through the joint.  You blade will be pointed towards the neck area as the joint is ever so slightly inset.

Okay, you've removed both legs, both thighs and both wings - gee you've got 6 pieces of good eating there and there's still more left!

What you now have is the breast, chest, and back.  Looks like 3 pieces, right?  Well, what the commercial butcher doesn't tell you - or sell you - is there is yet another moist morsel in your dish: the wish bone!!  How many geezers like me remember making the Wish Bone Wish with the turkey on Thanksgiving??? Well, if you do this, you can do it with every chicken too (or game hen after it is cooked, just carve it this way!).

Holding the remainder of the carcass breast up, use your thumb to feel where the breast starts dropping off towards the neck area. Between 1/4" and 1/2" (depending upon the mass of the critter) there will be a small 'lump'. That 'lump' is the top of your Wish Bone!  Set your knife BETWEEN the lump and the remainder of the breast and cut straight down until you hit bone, then angle your knife to follow the bone (towards where the wings were) and finish cutting down through until you reach the area where you remove the wings from, then grasp the Wish Bone, bend it back and finish removing it from the carcass.

Now, you have the breast, ribs and back left!
Approximately where the wings were removed from, insert your knife clear through, sharp side towards the tail end - you are going to cut between the breast and rib cage to remove the breast from the ribs and back.  Cut the length of the bird, just where the ribs tips end. It will still be connected in the area where the wings were - that is where you are holding it; simply bend it backwards to separate the joints and cut them loose.
Whaaa~Laaa, the breast!

Now, you have the ribs and the back. 
Where the ribs stop, make an incision towards the center of the back on each side, lay your knife down.  Grasp the ribs, the cavity toward you, with your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and your thumb and forefinger on the back with the other hand and break it as if in half, finish the separation with your knife.
Now you have the back and ribs separated! Two more wonderful pieces of chicken!

If you want to split the breast, run your knife along the top if it next to the bone, as the bone curves continue to follow the bone with your knife. Once you come to white cartilage  you can cut through the cartilage with our knife, or use a cleaver to slam through the bone at which ever point you so chose - I don't do that because I don't like the bone chips.

You should now have: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 1 Wish Bone, 2 pieces of breast, the ribs (which can also be split if it is a big bird) and the back: 11 pieces of chicken, plus gibbets and neck if you use them.  The neck, by the way, is great fried.

If you have a family and have been buy chicken already cut up - next time count how many pieces the butcher gives you...

If you have any question, feel free to ask.  This will help you 'get your feet wet' so to speak and help you understand it can be done.

A fryer, a good sharp knife and the desire to learn is all any of us need!  Remember, Life lived to its' fullest is a wonderful adventure every day!

Bon App├ętit!!

Offline jbm555

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2011, 11:18:49 AM »


FWIW I learned to fillet panfish by watching a few you tube videos.  Once I knew what to do it just took a little practice to get good at it. 



Offline ladieu

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2011, 12:20:07 PM »
This is a great resource for chicken butchering

http://butcherachicken.blogspot.com/

Offline mike77

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2011, 06:05:11 PM »
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2011, 08:53:32 PM »
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?

DH saws up the bones into more manageable pieces and we bag them in black trash bags and put them out with the trash.  We do the same with chicken carcasses and have never had a problem.  Only time it was really fun was when we butchered three buffalo at once. :D  The dogs love (some of) the bones btw .  I don't know if there are any laws against this but our stuff goes to the landfill and is buried.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2011, 09:09:04 AM »
  We do the same with chicken carcasses and have never had a problem. 

one idea for chicken carcasses before they hit the trash bin... make your own chicken stock... it is pretty easy to do. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chicken-stock-recipe/index.html

I canned about 10 jars of turkey stock after thanksgiving

-Nick

Offline ladieu

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2011, 09:44:14 AM »
Relevant information for this thread: http://www.saveourskills.com/processing-pork-kill-butcher-cook-pig

Credit goes to Mark Shirah

not sure if he is on the forum or not

Maryetta

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2011, 12:29:54 PM »
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?

If you have 'property', you can take the remains (guts, hide, etc) out for the buzzards and other critters who will feed on it, they will generally be all gone within 48 hours of discovery.
If you have dogs though, you may want to cut up the bones into manageable size pieces and wrap and freeze them for dog food at a later date, if you have freezer space to do so.  That will help with the dog food bill too, you can even take them out of the freezer and boil them in as much water as you want and use the broth on the dog food too, the dogs seem to love a couple ladles a day over their dry dog food.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2011, 12:41:04 PM »
If you have 'property', you can take the remains (guts, hide, etc) out for the buzzards and other critters who will feed on it, they will generally be all gone within 48 hours of discovery.
If you have dogs though, you may want to cut up the bones into manageable size pieces and wrap and freeze them for dog food at a later date, if you have freezer space to do so.  That will help with the dog food bill too, you can even take them out of the freezer and boil them in as much water as you want and use the broth on the dog food too, the dogs seem to love a couple ladles a day over their dry dog food.

great point.. ever heard of the "barf" diet?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding

Maryetta

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2011, 12:56:53 PM »
great point.. ever heard of the "barf" diet?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding

And we can hope it does not return to this, if it does, I'd be much more careful what I fed them...
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces

Offline ladieu

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2011, 01:02:38 PM »
And we can hope it does not return to this, if it does, I'd be much more careful what I fed them...
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces

it's happening right now in china

Offline TNDadx4

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2011, 01:48:33 PM »
I second (third?) the the book "Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game" by John J. Mettler Jr. we use it to understand the process and cuts, etc. although there is nothing better that having someone show you. We had the benefit of our pastor taking us hunting for the first time and showing us how to field dress, skin, quarter and butcher a deer.

Offline jbm555

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2011, 09:39:52 AM »

My first experience dressing and butchering was a nice large female doe a few years ago.  My cousin-in-law and his brother helped me through the process.  They both knew that I had never killed a deer but had some experience with chickens and small game when I was younger.  They tried to field dress it for me but I insisted that I do the work and they supervise.  I made a mess of it and it probably took me 1/2 an hour to accomplish. 

After it was field dressed I asked where I should take it to have it butchered and how much it would cost.  The price was way higher than I thought it would be but I told them I didn't have a choice since I didn't know how to do it.  They both laughed at me.  My cousin-in-law just told me, "It isn't rocket science.  Once you get the hair off just cut off the pieces that look like meat.  Well, took it back to his brothers shop, hung it from a rafter and started skinning.  In about an hour and a half we had it down to the bones. 

The next year my daughter got one and I did everything myself.  It took a little longer and it wasn't nearly as neatly done but I did learn a lot and will make a better job of it next time.  Keep in mind that I don't get real fancy with different cuts of venison.  Backstrap, tenderloin and an large pieces get turned into steaks.  Small pieces, especially on the lower legs get ground up to make summer sausage.  BTW.  I rigged a pully from the ceiling in my garage to hang and butcher.  Some of my neighbors didn't like it but there's no law against butchering your own game in your own garage.  Butchering is a fact of life they'll just have to get over it.  Besides, I really have no other alternative. 

In my opinion the best way to learn how to do this is to either gather as much information as you can (books, pictures, video) and just try it.  Or, find someone to talk/show you the process.  It's one of those things that you'll never get perfect without some personal experience.  I find myself getting better at it every time I do it.  Oh, if you feel a little squeamish about field dressing and butchering (I nearly vomited several times the first time I did it) That may go away with experience also.  I'm better about it now.  I try to look at it technically instead of emphatically.  I try to identify the various organs from a technical perspective.  It alters my focus and makes me think about what I'm doing and how I can do it better. 

Tip:  I buy those thin blue rubber gloves from the hardware store (nitrile ?) and keep several of them in my hunting pack stuffed in an old pill bottle.  Makes clean up easy in the field.  I also use them when I'm butchering.  I get them in boxes of 100 at the hardware store. 
 

Offline peytonriver

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2011, 05:35:49 PM »
Here is a link on the way that I process my chickens, no plucking but no skin.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html
The best way to gain any skill is to do over and over again. I never butched a chicken until two years ago now after about 150 of them I feel I ok at the skill but not great. If possible raise some meat birds and take them from day olds to your plate. start small and go from there. Good luck.

Offline hoping4better

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #50 on: May 30, 2011, 03:57:19 PM »
@Helen, I noticed you're in Middle Tennessee. Not sure what part, but so am I. I've got chickens and killed one for the first time ever (mean rooster) a couple months back using many, many youtube videos as my guide. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought, but pigs and such would probably be a whole other ball game.

If you do find someone to teach you I'd love to tag along (if possible, you can PM me if you like). Also, if a bunch of my chicks turn into cockerels, they'll need to be killed for the freezer, but that won't be for a couple months.

Lastly, I would strongly suggest against posting on craigslist. I've read of too many horror stories of PETA/ALF type people either trolling or flagging posts. Or at worst I read of a guy who sold rabbits for meat. They came to "buy" some meat, backed out, and stole his whole outfit that night (several dozen hutches in a tent outback). They can be some wicked wicked people!

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2011, 02:02:01 PM »
Some of the BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) programs offer courses in wild game butchering/meat preparation. A second the recommendation to check through your state and county extension offices as well. Another idea would might be to get a part time entry job at a small local butcher shop and learn from the pros!

Offline HelenWheels

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2011, 01:38:48 PM »
Hello all -

Sorry for the long absence... lots going on lately.

I did actually go to a small-game prep course a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I didn't get to actually kill or clean my bird like the rest of the class due to weather and location (rainy and muddy, the processing area was on different levels, separated by a small hill, which I was not physically able to navigate).

I believe the instructor (who was very good) will be doing more classes. Let me see if I can find out when.

The location was at his farm about 20 minutes SE of Henry Horton State Park.

HW

Offline Sweethearts Mom

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2011, 03:57:06 PM »
http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com/

If you will leaf back through this girls blog, she raised and helped slaughter her own pig; she has a travelling butcher in her area that for a reasonable price will come and butcher onsite; they were equiped with a large hoist on a truck and everything. I sure wish they had something like this in the N TX area but I haven't been able to find anything.
I had watched granny do chickens so when I went to kill my own I made all the mistakes that you can because I had not read up as an adult and was going off of memory. It was not pretty.

When it came time to rabbits, first I watched Backyard food production. That made me know I could do it. Then I talked a long time to my rabbit guy. He was nice enough to come over and help me through the process at my home. I am still not comfortable doing it and will find a butcher in my area that I can hire...just because I cry when i kill rabbits (don't judge me) but it is nice to know that I could butcher any animal if I had to. It is simply not worth what little free time I have right now.

 ;D

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #54 on: August 22, 2011, 12:31:14 PM »
Hello all -

Sorry for the long absence... lots going on lately.

I did actually go to a small-game prep course a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I didn't get to actually kill or clean my bird like the rest of the class due to weather and location (rainy and muddy, the processing area was on different levels, separated by a small hill, which I was not physically able to navigate).

I believe the instructor (who was very good) will be doing more classes. Let me see if I can find out when.

The location was at his farm about 20 minutes SE of Henry Horton State Park.

HW

What area/state?

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #55 on: August 22, 2011, 03:26:09 PM »

Offline ThePlainsman

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #56 on: August 22, 2011, 03:27:13 PM »
While it would be a good skill to learn, it might be a good idea to get to know a butcher in your area and in the event of a break down, he might be willing to do it in exchange for some meat. We have a butcher shop in town and I can drop a deer and get it butchered cheap. I never asked him if i could watch, but I should. I have seen my dad gut a deer when I was a kid, but I have always taken it to the butcher. I think in a pinch I could manage it, but it wouldn't be perfect.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Animal Butchering
« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2011, 03:40:45 PM »
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering?

When I lived in the bush I drove the carcass way out where wild animals (bear, coyote, etc) would finish it off in 3 days or less. But I did not dump them within 30 miles of anyone's home/cabin. In the states, I try to butcher the day before garbage day. Rabbits and poultry are easy, just line a 5 gallon bucket with a heavy duty trash bag and when it is full, tie it and put into the garbage and repeat as required.

When I had land, I would bury all the rabbit and chicken parts. Also sheep were buried since it is illegal to put it into a renderer or dump.

For the larger livestock, I don't cut through bone when I am butchering them out. I just do steaks and roasts (and hamburger/sausage/jerky meat). When I am all done, I split the legs at the joints, cut the pelvis at the H, and cut through the spine in 2-3 places as needed. I also fill garbage the garbage can with those. This fall, I will be butchering out 3-5 animals at a time and my small garbage can (I only generally toss 5# of garbage a week) won't hold all that, so I have a couple dumpsters in mind. Down here I feel it is too dangerous as an attractant for bears and coyotes for me to just dump the carcasses somewhere.

You may also want to contact a local renderer about the remaining carcass.
http://nationalrenderers.org/assets/4d9621f9dabe9d18b500004e/nra2011directory.pdf

Cedar