Lamb Meat

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Jena, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    I know nothing about sheep/lambs. I am not going to raise them, just buy lambs to take to slaughter.

    What breeds are the best for meat? If I get them and they have wool, is that worth harvesting before they are slaughtered? Do lambs even have harvestable wool?

    I would be buying them from the producer and am not concerned about them being sick, but are there any health concerns that could affect meat that I ought to be concerned about? I know goats have that thing that creates abcesses in the meat...something like that?

    I have been told a lamb ought to weigh around 100 pounds live to dress out about right. Is that correct?

    Anything else I might be missing?

    Thanks
    Jena
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    The abcess thing is called CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis) it's not an issue in slaughter lambs usually. There are two types of lamb (meat) sales light lamb at holidays and heavy lamb year round. The main buyers of light lamb are ethnic Greek and Italians (and no doubt all Mediteranian people) and Easter is the number one sales time with Christmas a more distant second. This is a producer's market, we sell creep fed 6-12 week old lambs that end up eaten more like a holiday turkey than a freezer order lamb. Its easy money witha 25-40 pound lamb bringing as much profit (and often much more) as a finished lamb. The heavy lamb market requires lambs 80-130 pounds. I forget the forward contract ideal target but I think it is 115 pounds and there is a back fat range you have to score into as well. I never bothered with it as I already sold direct to packer or consumer. 100 pounds isn't a bad average weight to look at but a 100 pound Dorset will have more fat than a 100 pound Suffolk. Lamb should not be marbled with fat, it is a lean meat and although feedlot lambs can be finished lean grass fed is probably what you should be looking for to start. Simply put the feed lot groups are probably already sold before they got in. What are your choices for lambs locally? Some are definately a meat breed, Some are really wool only. Leicesters spring to mind as they are not great meat animals, but have dandy wool. There are dual or even triple purpose breeds. The wool is not really worth much off the animal, the hide might be if you can get it processed cheaply enough. The Muslim market here wants very lean white faced wool breed ram lambs as cheap as they can get them. You'll end up happier selling to a Halal lamb butcher than a Halal lamb eater. In most cases at the retail level, across all groups of people, you sell lamb to lamb eaters, there are few buying who have never tried it and some who have eaten poor lamb are next to impossible to convince there is a difference. Get what they expect to taste.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Forgot a couple of points. Buy vaccinated lambs, why chance your money with their savings? They get the same 8 way as cattle. Actually the same kind of preconditioning you'd expect to find in calves should be there for lambs. Shrinkage is a bigger issue in lambs and sheep than cattle, some pretrucking ideas would include adding electrolites to their water, and use a quiet truck and trailer with a rubber matted floor. The shorter the haul the better.
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    The lamb breeds that I know of around here are Hampshire and Suffolk. I don't know what they are good for. If they won't work, I'll just have to look further.
    There are other producers around here...

    Someone else told me that muslims don't like to pay alot. If they want to buy the whole animal, then all I have to do is buy them, haul them, tell their muslim blessing guy when to be there and then pick up the meat and deliver. I can just mark them up a bit and make a little money. Right now they are driving 3 hours to get the meat, so I think there's room for some profit.

    I have had other customers asking for lamb. I'll just get them all blessed so I don't have to worry about selling a non-blessed lamb to a muslim. I suppose the non-muslims won't be the wiser and wouldn't care less if their lamb was blessed or not.

    I hope Hampshires are a good breed. I like the guy who raises them, he does raise them all-natural and I know I could work a deal to buy all his lambs. He sells a few as breeding stock and the rest just go to the sale barn. There's someone else who raises Cheviot (sp?) but his are all on contract.

    Jena
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Hamps are a terrific breed, fast even growing (compared to Suffolks who grow frame first) ideally suited for heavy lamb sales. They can be a bit hard headed is their main fault. As I said before I'd get the Halal butchering requirements required by your customers absolutely correct. There is more to it than a simple blessing, although I'm sure there are as many Muslim ideas on religion as there are Christian.
     
  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    After looking on the internet about halal....it seems that what is acceptable to one group, is not to another. This guy said he just wants them blessed, though my processor said they can kill them as long as they sign a release form.

    If I get any other muslim customers not associated with this guy, I'd be sure to clearly explain what was done so they don't accidently eat something they would not find suitable.

    I don't plan on using the word "Halal".

    Jena