Sheep - Farm to Fork.

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Farmfresh
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Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:31 am

I got a good question on my journal today and decided we actually need a thread for the answers.

"...what is your 'calculator' for when to send them to butcher? Is it size, weight, age or??? "

Lamb is one of those things that can literally be eaten at ANY stage or age.

While it sounds totally gross ... there are people that will kill and skin any orphan lambs even right after birth and fry them up similar to how we would cook a chicken.

Then you have those people and cultures that want a lamb around 35 - 50 pounds live weight that do whole roast lamb for Easter and other holidays - much like we cook a big turkey for a holiday feast or roast a whole pig for a big party or family reunion.

The next break is probably most common - table lamb. Usually around 80 - 90 pounds. This is the age and stage for those nice lamb chops and roasts. There is another sub category of table lamb called Large or Heavy lambs. These heavy lambs are sold over 110 pounds - sometimes these are also called Hoggets - depending on their age. A Hogget is technically between a year and 2 years old.

Finally "lamb" can be eaten as a mature animal - over 2 years old called Mutton at this point. Mutton is usually cull ewes, but rams are also eaten. The rams are usually all ground lamb or stew meat. There are a few (very few) ethnic populations that prefer mature ram meat, because they like the stronger texture and taste. (although the rams I have eaten - Katahdin - we all still pretty mild in flavor) Mutton - being older animals NEEDS low slow cooking. It is best for long roasts, burger and stews. I believe that traditionally the Gyro sandwiches were made from mature sheep and goat meat. They cut it into thin slices, put it on a spike in layers and then sliced it a second time a second direction to the grain of the meat to make it easier to chew.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:09 am

Typically the "modern" American does not eat a lot of lamb, while the early Americans did... and I discovered why. It seems that during WWII when rations were short a lot of GI's including Americans were fed canned mutton that was sourced in Australia. Evidently, while it kept body and soul together it was some NASTY stuff. When they came home from that war the soldiers "never wanted to eat lamb again". The American market never fully recovered, until now. That recovery is largely due to immigration. All the rest of the planet it seems still eat sheep and LOVE it. Now the American sheep growers can barely keep up with rising demand.

Raising your sheep for market is the REASON we raise them. While there are markets for wool and sheep milk this thread is focusing on farm to FORK, so we are going to talk about marketing MEAT sheep. While there is a market for lamb meat year round... yes even in America... there are definite peak seasons. Selling your lambs or goats while aiming at that peak is the best marketing plan. If you can provide the right TYPE of lamb at the right TIME you will get top dollar for your product.

Note... some market are very specific. Animals use for religious holidays and celebrations usually have a very tight code of uniformity that is needed. For example some of these buyers will not buy a male animal that is castrated. Or sometimes an animal that is the wrong color is not even acceptable. For example a black lamb might not bring the high price if the religious holiday requires a lamb that is "pure", because the color could be seen as a fault, while a white lamb just seem more pure.

Here is some of what I have been finding out about the Ethnic market. A lot of this info came from the Cornell University.

Lamb Marketing Calendar - Days when lamb or goat meat is preferred.

NOTE: Many of these dates are based on religious holidays and a lot of them are based on lunar cycles or other changing factors. You will need to look up the new dates each year, but the market desires should stay the same.

Passover (Pesach) starts at sundown:
• 2020 April 8th – April 16th
Type of lamb wanted - 30-55 lbs, milk fed and fat.

Western Roman Easter:
• 2020 April 12th
Type of lamb wanted - 30-45 lbs live weight, milk fed and fat.

Type of goat wanted - Fleshy, milk fed kids with relatively light colored meat, 3 months old or younger. Suckling kids weighing less than 20 lbs are generally disappointing to buyers due to low meat to bone ratios and high carcass drying losses now that they must be marketed with the hide off. Kids gaining less than 10 lbs per month or 1/3rd pound per day after accounting for birth weight are generally not fleshy enough to be considered prime. Prime Easter kids are generally gaining at least 1/2 lb daily. There generally is a slight price (per lb of live weight) penalty for kids weighing over 40 lbs. Acceptable weights generally range from 20 to 50 lbs with 30 lbs considered optimum by most buyers.

Cull adult animals are also popular for stews and curries at this time.

Eastern Orthodox Easter:
• 2020 April 19th
Type of lamb wanted - 40-55 lbs live weight, milk fed and fat.

Type of goat wanted - Similar to Western Easter kids. A slightly larger milk fed kid (i.e. averaging 35 lbs) is considered optimum.

Mother’s Day:
• 2020 May 10th
Type of lamb or kid wanted - Suckling lambs and kids are in demand as well as 45 to 60 lb weaned market lambs and kids. Because of the shortage of market lambs and kids weighing 60 lbs or more in mid May, prices are sometimes high for these larger young animals as well.


Start of Ramadan:
• 2020 April 24th
Type of lamb wanted – Weaned market lamb 60-80 lbs.

Type of goat wanted - male and female kids with all their milk teeth (i.e. not older than @ 12 months). Males can be whole or castrated. Overly fat kids are discriminated against. Optimum live weight is about 60 lbs but weaned kids from 45 - 120 lbs. are accepted by different buyers.

Id al Fitr (The Festival of the Breaking of the Ramadan Fast):
• 2020 May 24th
Type of lamb wanted - same as for Ramadan.

Type of goat wanted - same as for Ramadan.

Rosh Hashanah, starts at sundown:
• 2020 Sept 18th – 20th
Type of lamb wanted - Forequarters from weaned lambs 60-110 lbs.

Navadurgara, Navratra Dashara, Dassai or Dashain
• 2020 Oct 17th – 30th
Hindu holiday honoring the goddess Durga. In Nepal the holiday runs for 15 days while in India it runs for 10 days. Goats are generally slaughtered during the latter part of the holiday after which families meet together and celebrate with curried goat while receiving family blessings. Female goats are not acceptable for this holiday. Relatively tender male goats are generally used. Size of carcass depends on number of people expected to be fed. Weaned, market kids or yearling wethers are most in demand.

Id al Adha (Islamic Festival of Sacrifice, Eid)
• 2020 July 31st
Type of lamb wanted – 60-80 lbs. However, heavier old crop lambs are also in demand and may command the same price as new crop lambs.

Type of goat wanted - Prefer yearlings (i.e. animals with one set of adult teeth) that are blemish free. Large kids 60 - 100 lbs also in demand.

Animals with broken horns, open wounds, torn ears or physical injuries generally do not meet the criteria. In some cases, castrated animals or lambs with docked tails are frowned upon.

Muharramn (Islamic New Year):
• 2020 August 20th
Type of lamb wanted - same as for Ramadan.

Type of goat wanted - same as for Ramadan.

Diwali (Festival of Lights):
• 2020 November 14th


Other holidays when goat meat is commonly consumed include Christmas (December 25th ), New Year’s (Jan 1st), Cinco De Mayo (May 5th), the July 4th weekend, and the numerous Caribbean holidays in August - Carnival, Carifest, Jamaican Independence Day, etc.
The Christmas and New Year’s market is for milk fed kids and lambs. These young animals are rare, because they must be produced by out-of-season breeding in April/May for Sept/October births. Kids and lambs as light as 18 lbs may be readily accepted. Cull adult animals are also popular for stews and curries.

The Hispanic market for goat is for 15 to 30 lb live wt suckling kids for cabrito, and large weaned market kids for seco de chivo and barbecues. It is especially strong in some regions during Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), a popular Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of Mexican Forces over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Goats and sheep for July 4th weekend are animals suitable for barbecue, generally suckling lambs and kids for small parties and weaned market lambs and kids 55 to 120 lbs. for large celebrations.

Optimal goats for the Caribbean holidays are young, smelly 60-80 lb bucks. However, older animals of all sexes are often in demand and customers may prefer to buy them rather than pay the extra price for prime young bucks.

The Chinese market for goat according to Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is "limited to the six colder months” especially around the Chinese New Year. The preferred weight range is 60 to 80 pounds live, and goats in good health are required."
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Old Fashioned
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Re: Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Old Fashioned » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:10 am

Thank you soooo much for this thread cause I've got questions as lamb/sheep was never really part of my research for a farm and only in the last few years have even considered them. All mainly due to not ever having eaten lamb or mutton, though I knew many others did. I did try some store bought years ago and had always heard it needed special herbs or seasoning and cooking. But we didn't really care for it and it was probably due to my inexperience. I've had it since and was great.

Anyhoo, another reason it's not as popular is the price. Holy cow!! For the price of a dozen lamb chops or 3 small rib racks for one meal, I can buy a whole lot more beef, pork and/or chicken for several meals. :eek:

So for another question here.......those wethers (casterated males). Will having this done (casteration) have an effect on the taste of the meat? Or is it done for taming(aggression)/grooming(smell) purposes? Cause I wonder at doing this if the animal is butchered at such an early age if not left to mature AKA young animals are easier handling than when mature. Though weight gain may play a part here???

|em22|

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Farmfresh
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Re: Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:41 pm

Nah... mostly for convenience. I imagine that if you kept them until they were hoggets it would probably keep them a bit more tender however.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Re: Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Rhodie Ranch » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:44 pm

Daddy hated lamb due to that WW2 mutton. Mother only fixed it for us when he was off on a flight mission.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Sheep - Farm to Fork.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:53 pm

It must have been some awful stuff to get an entire nation off of lamb for the table. I wonder why it was so bad?
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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