So we have two lambs that we have been raising since April and they are getting close to their "time." Our local butcher doesn't have any openings until next Spring. We could potentially drive them further, but I am wondering what sort of ordeal it would be to try to do it ourselves? My biggest concern is knowing how to dispatch them quickly/painlessly/humanely. How hard is it to do the whole processing, how long would it take a newbie, and how do you dispatch lambs (if there is anyone out there who does)?
I can have a deer/lamb/goat boned out and ready to package in about an hour. Gutting and skinning about an hour.
I think the first several deer I skinned probably took an hour and a half each.
I just cut up a cow. The guy who has done a bunch of butchering for us hung the quarters in his cooler. When I went to pick them up, he offered to break it down for me. It took him 20 minutes what had taken me 2 hours on the last cow I did.
I would recommend having a mentor. Either someone you can help with something of theirs, or someone who will come help you that knows what they're doing.
It can be a pretty intimidating project if you are all by yourself, even if you kind of know what you are doing.
If you do it yourself, an important piece of info about butchering sheep: don't touch the wool to the meat, and don't rover the meat with the same hand that was touching wool.
Me, my Hubby, and four Littles one horse - Cappy A burgeoning goat herd 35+ British White and Angus mama cows, and several bulls My milk cows: Faith, Chick and Freckles Heifers coming up - Dolly Dixie RIP
We had lambs a couple of years ago and honestly, if I weren't dealing with bum knees, I was thinking to ask my friend who hunts and skins her own deer if she'd help me with it. But realized that my knees weren't going to allow me to do that much work.
Three years ago, I cut and wrapped our heifer that had to be slaughtered due to a bad birthing. It was a lot of work and I only had help for a few hours of the work. I recommend getting a good book on butchering. This one is written by the author of the book Butchering Beef and I found it to be very comprehensive and easy to read. Without such a guide, I'd have been lost. He walks through the slaughter process, too, though I didn't have to do that part.
I hope you get more solid encouragement from someone who has already done it. Cutting and wrapping is very fulfilling, in my opinion. Nothing says "security" to me like a full freezer.
Lambs are super easy, due to their size. (Think about all the people that shoot deer....a lamb is essentially the same size!)
Here's how we skin our sheep - spiritedrose.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/how-to-make-a-sheepskin-rug-part-one/ - we do sheepskins, so it shows the method of pulling the hide instead of cutting the hide off. Even if you don't want the hide, I would suggest checking out the pulling method because you don't lose any meat in that method (because you're not using your knife to cut off the hide).
We use a 22 rifle to kill our sheep. One shot to the head does it. No pain, you can do it while they're eating a bite of grain or a flake of hay, so they don't even know it's coming. That's so much nicer than hauling live to a butcher.
Also, sheep don't need to be "aged" so we kill, peel hide, gut, halve or quarter, and hang in the shop overnight on a cold night. We process in our basement on a table covered with an old sheet. We get butcher paper and freezer wrap from Costco.
The book that Lew mentioned is a great one - we have the beef one (really, sheep are just small beef from a butchering perspective). If you want your official cuts or even just an idea of "stew meat comes from here" and "loin chops come from there" then a book or diagrams can be helpful.
Also, check out you-tube videos. Honestly, pretty much all my butchering "mentors" are just you-tube videos. I got to go to a lamb butchering class last month, and I actually thought the videos did better than the live mentoring... lol
One thing I did learn from the class - 100% lamb sausage (without pork fillers, etc.) is wonderful all on its own, no need to mix with other meats. And no need to stuff sausage into casing. I just took the bulk sausage and spices, mixed them together, then formed "links" and froze them in packs of four.
Jersey cow family: Samson's Rosita (age 3) & Virtuoso Briar Rose (age 2) An Akita, some kitty cats, 7 Border Leicester sheep & 53 hens
claytonpaul: A bull was put on her herd Late Last May so she was expected to be due between May1 and August. They quoted me August so I wouldn't be disappointing by a late arrival.
May 23, 2019 13:07:11 GMT -5
Trim: I'm baaaaacccckkkk!
Aug 31, 2019 17:57:22 GMT -5
alpacalexi: My mini jersey cow is pregnant, however the last couple days her udder has deflated. My vet saw her on the 23 and said delivery in a couple weeks Is there a reason for her deflating?
Oct 2, 2019 17:17:00 GMT -5
Trim: She probably aborted a while back. That happened to one of my animals. She was bagging up but within a short while of her "due date" she began to deflate. I had no idea what had happened. I was seriously bummed out.
Feb 8, 2020 20:46:23 GMT -5
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