Finishing lambs?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Lisa in WA, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    Is lamb okay to butcher if it hasn't been "finished" on grain? Our lambs were raised on creep, but have been getting straight alfalfa for the last few months. They have grown and muscled well. Will the meat taste as good if we butcher now, or should we go ahead and start graining them again, and for how long?
     
  2. Lora

    Lora Member

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    I'm sure that you will have several differing opinions on this one. I've butchered several lambs, and never have 'finished' one. However all of my sheep get grain every day along with grass and hay.

    So, when you think he's big enuf, butcher him!

    Lora
     

  3. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, do they have to be grain fed at all to finish a lamb? What about a pastured lamb? I know that sometimes they get a lot of fat but thats not that big of a deal with me.
     
  4. jimahall

    jimahall jimahall

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    Icelandic sheep are always raised on pasture. Iceland can not grow grain and thus have no choice. Icelandic lamb is a delicacy in Europe. There is a move on for more grass fed beef and other meats. I occasionally give a little grain to my sheep, but they usually just nibble and head back to the pasture. Have not tried any Icelandic lamb yet, but plan on soon. Fellow Icelandic breeders tell me that is has a more mild flavor than grain fed lamb. Would be interesting to raise two lambs. One on grass and one on grain and see the difference, if any.
     
  5. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

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    I've been advised by a lebanese friend to take in my pastured lambs and grain them for 10 days prior to slaughter. According to him, this will prevent the "muttony" taste that can develop when the meat is cold, ie leftovers. This is my first year with sheep, so that is my plan.
     
  6. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    It is our experience that we do not "finish" Lambs. We have pastured blackbellys and Pastured St Croix and they taste just fine without "Finishing"
    We slaughter before one year so we don't have the Mutton taste but we were just told that the St Croix don't get mutton tasting because they are hair sheep and don't have the lanolin that wool sheep have that adds to the mutton taste.
     
  7. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    So will lambs that have been raised on good quality alfalfa be similar to pastured lambs?
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Pasture lamb is lean lamb not fed alot of corn to "fatten" them. Its partly what they eat partly the added exersize. In all likelyhood the alfalfa fed lambs will be very similar to pasture fed, and I have to say I never really noticed much difference if they got a little grain at the end or not. There is certainly a difference in grains fed and flavour, I'd think wheat would impart a stronger flavour than corn but would be less fatty than corn. If you can still buy fishmeal as a protein suppliment I wouldn't as the flavour is passed to the meat.
     
  9. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Never heard of feeding grain prior to slaughter - only ever grass (in NZ at least)
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Philip, you will find that Americans feed HEAPS of grain to their sheep, partially no doubt due to climatic conditions. It would also be another reason that they find NZ and Australian meat quite strong as grain fed animals are comparatively tasteless.

    Quailkeeper, no you do not have to feed grain to finish a lamb. If you have sufficient pasture to take your animals through to a good size and weight, that's all you need. Why waste good money on providing a food that the sheep doesn't need when nature is already providing it for you in the shape of good green grass.

    Jimahall, it is my opinion that the Icelanders have got it right and consequently are producing a prime animal. Do your little experiment - I think I know which one you will be opting for.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie