Sheep and the freezer

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2 weeks 5 days ago #557448 by Bullandbags
Hi.

I am new to this all and would love some information on suggested ages/when the best time is to send a couple of sheep to your local homekill guy. 

 

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2 weeks 4 days ago #557449 by VioletFarmer
Replied by VioletFarmer on topic Sheep and the freezer
Howdy, do you like the taste of lamb or mutton? If lamb get them processed at 10 months or under, if mutton any age really, but under 2 years is good, as they get quite fatty after that. We get 2 wether hoggets processed at around 18 months of age, each year. The yield is good & its enough meat to last 2x adults a year, with family bbq's etc. 

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2 weeks 3 days ago #557453 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Sheep and the freezer
if they are under one year now, I would do one straight away and leave the other until later. It's quite easy to butcher your own sheep, kindest way to kill them is to shoot them whilst they are feeding at the fence, so get them used to coming up to you by giving them hand feed.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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2 weeks 2 days ago #557455 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Sheep and the freezer
You can't leave one sheep but itself. They're a flock animal. Kill them both at the same time. Its kinder.

We get ours done between 1 and 2 years of age, as we need the grass for other animals. They're full size around 18 months. We have Wiltshires.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa
Herd of Registered Dexter cattle
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry and Sicilian Buttercup poultry
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Polled Wiltshire Sheep, both black and white
An old Heading Dog called Lad and a cat called Pusscat,

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2 weeks 1 day ago #557465 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Sheep and the freezer
One sheep gone from a flock of 3 or more is ok, but not from a flock of 2.
Some people can taste the ram flavour in hoggets (sheep up to one year that still have their lambs teeth) in entire males. Most people can't.
We home kill our "lambs" between one and 2 years old for better size and flavour. We have found that meat tends to taste much better after it has been frozen. We didn't get enough fresh meat when we were younger to like the fresh taste.
Don't try to eat meat from animals that have had Facial Eczema. It stinks the freezer out, stinks the house out while being cooked, and tastes rotten. The butcher will be able to see FE from the hard liver that it causes even if he cannot smell the meat. We have dogs to eat this meat, but mutton and goat must be frozen for 7 days or longer before feeding it to dogs.

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1 week 6 days ago #557482 by smudge
Replied by smudge on topic Sheep and the freezer
You've had some good advice so far. If you have enough grass then keeping them for a couple of years is good. Most people won't like the taste of rams but the trick with any meat animal - well all animals to be fair is to make sure they have plenty of feed all the time.

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1 week 5 days ago #557487 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Sheep and the freezer
We prefer Hogget meat, which is over 1 year old and doesn't sell at top prices at the sales yards.   I recently put a ''home kill'' lamb in the freezer, and while it is very tender, I can distinguish the difference.   

Our shearer swears by that if you are processing any ram, to do so in the non breeding months.  Now I'm not too sure how that works for the younger ones, as we had some from a mixed pen purchase who seemed to be at it all year last year, however our older fellow was definitely resting over the winter months.

Either or, if you intend to have a home kill professional undertake the work for you, book them in now.  There is a very long waiting list in my part of the North Island as a couple of providers have semi retired or shut up shop.   

I would also urge you to consider not doing it yourself (the killing bit) unless shown by someone with vast experience (hunter) and proper butchery knives.  There are some cruel people with very blunt knives who do not untake things in a timely manner and now isn't the time for someone to bluff their way through it. 

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