Scottie’s summer slaughter

…was messy but went decently (no contamination of anything we wanted to keep).  66lbs of meat plus offal was the approximate final tally, which means a live weight of about 200lbs.  He did have a full belly though, because we weren’t planning to slaughter this weekend for sure, so we didn’t restrict his food to reduce that.

More on Monday, including pictures!


Slaughter success and breeding victory


Skinning Bart. He was very bony.


With the help of some relatives, one of the ram lambs, Bart, was finally slaughtered, skinned and broken down over the holiday weekend.  It didn’t take very long and we now have some Icelandic lamb in the freezer.  We should have Scottie and Dingus taken care of in the next week or so.

As for breeding, all the adult ewes are finally in with Shaft and hopefully everyone gets pregnant.  Due to the ewes’ cycling not being synchronized, they’ll be in there until January, or when they show conclusive signs of pregnancy, whichever comes first.  So we are going to have May lambs, which means April spring shearing.

Bart was a light yield, about 15lbs of finished cuts including the organs we kept.  That is a hanging weight somewhere past 20lbs, but not much past.  He weighed more before the weather got colder, but he was in fact weaker than Scottie and Dingus and lost some weight the last month.  Dingus has inherited excellent parasite resistance, as he was stunted but has a well formed, meaty frame.  He is smaller physically than Bart’s rangier, lankier frame, but will give more meat.  So that’s good.

My husband feels pretty good about his ability to slaughter sheep going forward.  Bart was stunned unconscious and then had his throat slit.  It all went very quickly.  The cold weather has helped a lot.

Now that Thanksgiving festivities are over (we celebrated with friends and family and it went pretty well and was delicious), I have to get back to the fiber prep.  Speaking of weight gain, we have a baby that went from 16 to 17lbs over the course of Thanksgiving week.  And still waiting to hit three months old.  I guess he’s taking lessons from the lambs.

The goats have journeyed to freezer camp

I just drove them up to a local butcher that provides onsite kill service and they took care of the goats on the spot.  I didn’t understand that with live kill, I could have just taken the carcasses+organs+hides all in one day, so I only brought enough containers for the organs and hides.  Next week it’s off to pick up the cut and wrapped carcasses.

It was very quick, they did fast, clean work.

And yes, despite all the horrible trouble they gave I kinda miss the goats running around the yard bleating furiously and scampering.  I hope they taste good!



There’s more than one way to not kill a goat.

Today we found out you can not kill a goat very effectively by using a kitchen knife.  The blade didn’t even hold an edge long enough to break skin.  We were starting with the oldest and biggest, the doe Jewel and she just kind of looked at us like “Are you trying to tickle me?  You dragged me out here under this tree to tickle me?”  It was embarrassing to stand there in front of the goat with a dull knife and a few neck hairs.

We had planned to just cut and skin and process immediately, in the manner of people who butcher where it’s too warm to hang after skinning.  We figured not having to shoot might help the first time go faster.  OH WELL.

So we went to Fred Meyer, which is almost but not quite like Wal-mart and bought a .22.  But there is no ammo, and I am not sure where to go to get any.  So the goats will live to party in our driveway and try to walk into the house another few days until we solve the ammo problem.  We solved the knife problem by purchasing an actual skinning knife, which has a very different shape precisely because it needs to get the job done quickly and easily.

So that was our day in a nutshell.

We’ll be learning to kill and butcher on-farm

Since the goats decided to start acting crazy during hunting season, we can’t find anyone to butcher them for us until Thanksgiving or later, so we’ll have to do it ourselves.  My main concern is cutting wrong and spoiling the carcass.  But it is a bridge we’ll be leaping in the next week or so.  It was certainly on our list to learn to process goats, sheep and poultry for personal use– it is worth knowing how to do all the small animals, as they can easily be done solo with enough practice.  We just didn’t expect to *have* to do it ourselves or else have no goat meat.

This is partially a regulatory problem, separate from the goats’ bad timing since we got the big mean sheep that make them fretful.  At least right now they are finally staying put instead of scampering around taunting the neighbors’ giant dogs and dancing in the street.