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#1 2017-02-23 01:03:12

shaneb99
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Strathmore
Registered: 2012-08-28
Posts: 1422

Lamb questions

OK Shepherds I have a question about lambs.  I'm thinking of buying a couple of feeder lambs to grow out over the summer.  I've got lots of pasture so grass is not a problem but do they need any supplementary grain or is grass OK?  I'm not concerned about rapid weight gain, more about knowing where my food comes from etc,   The other question is what weight is best to butcher them at.  Is there a size that they are at their prime?  I've heard about 100 lbs is the best.

Thanks for your help.


Feather Feet - Light, Dark, Buff & Blue Brahmas, Black, Blue & Silver Laced Cochins, Black Copper, Blue Copper,  Blue & Wheaten Marans, Silkies & an ever changing flock of Call & Silver Appleyard Ducks, Geese, Muscovies, Turkeys, Guineas and Peafowl.  2 Akbash Maremma guardians keep watch and a very patient wife who tries to keep me grounded.

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#2 2017-02-23 03:32:53

Schipperkesue
Administrator
From: Carnwood, Alberta
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15097

Re: Lamb questions

It all depends on the breed you are getting.

I have Shetlands and grow them for 1.5-2 years before butcher.  I wether my ram lambs.  They get grass after weaning and grain and hay in the winter.

I think the meat breeds maybe treated differently.


Embrace your mistakes....they are life's most meaningful education.

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#3 2017-02-23 10:24:11

lornem
Growing Member
From: Drayton, ON.
Registered: 2016-02-21
Posts: 58

Re: Lamb questions

For the larger meat breeds usually about 105-110 lbs., multiple lambing breeds/fine boned breeds probably 80-90 lbs. They will be ok on grass only with mineral/salt licks but will grow better with a little grain. Whole grain is ok as they digest foods more thoroughly than most animals.

And for the cull ewes, nothing makes a better burger than a mutton burger (salt and pepper only) We used to do the whole animal into it.


Better to be dumb as a stump and learn as you go,...than to be a know it all and get stumped:
Live and learn while thinking outside the box.

Standard White Cornish, In development - Crazy-crosses Meat line:...........2017 project...Catalanas

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#4 2017-02-23 11:44:38

killerbunny
I Love A.C.E.
From: Brockville, Ontario
Registered: 2012-07-30
Posts: 2847

Re: Lamb questions

Oh mutton stew/curry. Mutton scrag end of neck oh drool!


Mixed collection of chickens, trio of Blue Columbian Wyandottes,BSW turkeys.
RIP Lucky the Very Brave splash Wyandotte rooster.
RIP little Muppet the rescue cat.

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#5 2017-02-24 05:33:25

shaneb99
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Strathmore
Registered: 2012-08-28
Posts: 1422

Re: Lamb questions

What's the difference between lamb and mutton? Age?  What's the cut off. I have no intention of going into the sheep business this will be a terminal journey.  We do this with steers every couple of years to fill the freezer.


Feather Feet - Light, Dark, Buff & Blue Brahmas, Black, Blue & Silver Laced Cochins, Black Copper, Blue Copper,  Blue & Wheaten Marans, Silkies & an ever changing flock of Call & Silver Appleyard Ducks, Geese, Muscovies, Turkeys, Guineas and Peafowl.  2 Akbash Maremma guardians keep watch and a very patient wife who tries to keep me grounded.

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#6 2017-02-24 06:04:15

lady leghorn
I Love A.C.E.
From: Okanagan Falls B.C.
Registered: 2011-10-26
Posts: 3142

Re: Lamb questions

Age is the difference.  Older sheep are mutton.  Older lambs are Lamb.

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#7 2017-02-24 12:40:57

Schipperkesue
Administrator
From: Carnwood, Alberta
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15097

Re: Lamb questions

lady leghorn wrote:

Age is the difference.  Older sheep are mutton.  Older lambs are Lamb.

The breed of sheep makes even more difference in taste.  My two year old ram may be technically mutton, but he tastes sweeter than any commercial Alberta lamb I have tasted.  No muttony flavour at all.  Shetlands may take their time, but even older animals are delicious.


Embrace your mistakes....they are life's most meaningful education.

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#8 2017-02-24 13:34:21

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 6775
Website

Re: Lamb questions

Agreed. After having grassfed Shetland meat and that very low fat taste I have trouble with the taste of commercial lamb and most of my customers agree.  One started her own flock to ensure she had a constant supply.  My wether lambs are all sold and there is a waiting list even before they are weaned.

I understand technically lamb is lamb until 18 months.

After working with cows it is nice to have a sheep breed I can catch and hold without killing myself.  The shearer likes it too. Different breeds have different flocking behaviour.  Shetlands like to be together but won't panic if separated, which I like.

Old primitive breeds tend to be slower to mature.  Late spring born Shetlands wethers are still small in the autumn, I wait until they are 12 months old before shipping.  Makes room in the barn at night for lambing and ensures they finish on green grass.

I have a few big meat breed ewes (crosses) and cross them to a Shetland ram and their wethers are ready go go in the autumn. But not as much great Shetland flavour and more fat.


Beltsville Small White Turkeys  -White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Highland Cattle, Shetland Sheep, Kerry cows and Canadienne cattle
www.tatlayokofold.com

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#9 2017-02-24 17:58:26

shaneb99
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Strathmore
Registered: 2012-08-28
Posts: 1422

Re: Lamb questions

Oh oh - shearing! If I bought a feeder lamb in the spring and expected to butcher in Sept say would it need to be sheared?

As a side note I had a lamb as a kid.  My grandfather brought it home from a customer of his and we bottle fed it then raised it in the house yard.  One day it disappeared.  My grandfather told me he had taken it back to the flock but I have my suspicions.


Feather Feet - Light, Dark, Buff & Blue Brahmas, Black, Blue & Silver Laced Cochins, Black Copper, Blue Copper,  Blue & Wheaten Marans, Silkies & an ever changing flock of Call & Silver Appleyard Ducks, Geese, Muscovies, Turkeys, Guineas and Peafowl.  2 Akbash Maremma guardians keep watch and a very patient wife who tries to keep me grounded.

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#10 2017-02-24 20:44:29

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 6775
Website

Re: Lamb questions

I had a rabbit like that.

I don't have my lambs sheared until they are 12 months old, so you'd be all right with most breeds.  Hair sheep of course don't need to be sheared at all.


Beltsville Small White Turkeys  -White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Highland Cattle, Shetland Sheep, Kerry cows and Canadienne cattle
www.tatlayokofold.com

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#11 2017-02-24 23:40:25

lady leghorn
I Love A.C.E.
From: Okanagan Falls B.C.
Registered: 2011-10-26
Posts: 3142

Re: Lamb questions

Only time I have ever tasted lamb, was at the Saturna Island Lamb Barbercue, that was held every year.  It was sort of like a

small country fair.   A few families got together and went on our friends large fishboat.  Then rowed to the dock.  Boat was too big

for dock.  It was always so much fun.  They had the lambs on the spit, basting them threw out the day.  It smelled SO good, and

Wow did it taste good.  Have no idea what type of lamb.  Probably bigger wool type sheep.   But then so many people started

coming from all over that they spoiled it.   I think? They finally packed it up because of that. :(

They used to have a contest to catch the greased pig, was hilarious to watch.  They won a money prize.   So the chase was really

on. It was in mud too.    Too funny.   But lamb was yummy.  Haven't had it since.

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#12 2017-02-24 23:42:44

lady leghorn
I Love A.C.E.
From: Okanagan Falls B.C.
Registered: 2011-10-26
Posts: 3142

Re: Lamb questions

Heda......Have you ever had a real tame Shetland sheep?  Or do they get very tame?

I have some cuddly ones.  Doug's job on the farm is to cuddle the lambs.  This results in about 1/4-1/3 being very cuddly.

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#13 2017-02-25 03:15:11

Schipperkesue
Administrator
From: Carnwood, Alberta
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15097

Re: Lamb questions

shaneb99 wrote:

Oh oh - shearing! If I bought a feeder lamb in the spring and expected to butcher in Sept say would it need to be sheared?

Khatadin (sp?) sheep also don't need shearing and have mild tasting meat.


Embrace your mistakes....they are life's most meaningful education.

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