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Large animal slaughtering/processing Hides

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#1 Severian



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Posted 06 November 2022 - 01:02 PM

I'm super grateful to have connected with a very generous couple who have a herd of buffalo

I was invited to a slaughter- first time I've ever participated in anything bigger than chickens and ducks ... Super mega powerful-

They tied the buffalo up super tight- and after that, it clearly submitted/accepted what was happening. I was able to look it in the eyes and thank it for it's life before they slaughtered it.

Which they did by cutting its juggular- took far longer than I expected to die- that was uncomfortable to watch.

I drank a 16oz glass of it's blood fresh fresh- less strong tasting than expected but a bit difficult to get down at the end cuz it was beginning to coagulate- when the rancher asked me how much I wanted and offered 'un vazo' I thought he was offering me a much smaller cup!

It took about 2.5 hours from start to finish to process the whole animal. Was very surprising how quickly they could break it down

I was given the hide as a gift, was not at all expecting to leave with a buffalo hide! Thing is super heavy! 90-100 lbs easily.

It was salted immediately, and that was two evenings ago- I brought it home yesterday evening and spent what little light was left trying to get a feeling for the fleshing process-

I'm working with only the tools I have immediately available - a bit broke at the moment, so while it would be ideal to buy some lumber to make a proper stretching frame, I'm using what I have- which is a bamboo bedframe a bit too small for the whole hide.

I have a friend coming to help me finish fleshing here shortly- I'm considering either cutting the hide smaller ( currently about 7 x 8 feet) to fit my makeshift frame- after that, not quite sure what the next step is

Washing it well I think, or scraping off the hair- and then thinning the skin

My intention is to turn this into soft wearable leather eventually, and make a vest- as well as learn how to make some drums.

Though, ive jumped into entirely new mediums/projects enough at this point to realize my tendency is to expect perfect results the first time- and reality generally doesn't mirror those expectations! So I'm more relaxed with this project. Hopefully!

Does anyone have experience slaughtering large animals or working hides?
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#2 Moonless



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Posted 09 November 2022 - 08:23 PM

That is fucking wild! I just dissected an entire animal for the first time and physically discovered how the skin, muscles and layer of fat are all connected yet distinct from each other. I was dealing with a rat in a lab but I still felt so strange and foreign. I cannot imaginable how it felt to watch such a large and powerful animal be slaughtered like that! Thank you for sharing because it was really interesting to read about the process. Best wishes on getting the hide ready. I think you are doing good! I imagine that it needed a good wash and you have to get the layer of fat off the skin. I'm sure there is some Youtube video that shows someone doing it. Actually learning how to do it take practice I'm sure. So excited for you to have gotten to experience that! Your style boutta be vibin; for sure B)

Edited by Moonless, 09 November 2022 - 08:26 PM.

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#3 Severian



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Posted 10 November 2022 - 07:20 PM

Ya- up close and personal with all the fascia and fat was super interesting- One of my 'professional hats' is massage therapist- and I do calisthenics In my spare time- so I've done some good reading as far as anatomy goes in relation to the fascia- it's only relatively recently that the scientific community has realized it's fae more than just an inert wrapping- but reading about it is way different than getting to see up close how it acts as a super web binding everything together-

Way interesting too how the composition of the layers of fat/fascia/skin was totally different in different areas of the hide

Took me around 18 hours over 4 days to get all the flesh/fat off- and thats with the butchers doing a great job!

Turns out my initial technique was wanting- only figured out the flow/technique at end of day two- and didn't realize how much of a difference a sharp machete made-

Next time I could probably do the whole fleshing process- in 6-8

Now it's washing the hide, and then soaking it in a lyme solution to remove all the hair for two weeks.

I'll post a photo of the finished fleshing tommorow.

Intention is to turn this into a sweeet leather vest among other things- ive semi an idea of what I want it to look like but I've never done any clothing design before so it's going to be an adventure- I went to talk to a friend who went to college for fashion design- she's going to be a major help when it finally comes time to turn it into a finished product.
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#4 Arathu



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Posted 02 December 2022 - 05:02 AM

If you are going to go further with such work, a proper beam and a Necker 600 fleshing knife will be your friend.


You can likely get that job down to an hour or two (depending on your physical condition)


Buffalo hide is serious're correct, you will have to save some allowance in a jar for a bit just to get one though....$60.00 to $100.00 I believe but WELL worth the expenditure.....


My wife thinks I'm nuts and warped for hunting, trapping, even some of the fishing I do....and of course the fur handling and butchering of animals.....


IMHO her mind will change if Walmart and the Dollar Stores don't have anything on the shelves....Personally I think that corporate farming and feed animal production is some evil stuff.....


I hope to fill a deer tag tomorrow and the freezer over the next day or so's time for mushrooms and venison stew here.....


Are you going to try and tan that yourself? Be prepared for some serious consider sending to a pro tannery IMHO...



Edited by Arathu, 02 December 2022 - 05:06 AM.

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#5 Mycol



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Posted 02 December 2022 - 12:26 PM

Very cool stuff. They must’ve worked with those buffalo very closely to be able to get them tied up and close to them . We’ve slaughtered a couple pigs here in the last couple week and have two more to go .
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