First time butchering a goat coming up, and lambs in the future, wanting some advice.

goats&sheep19

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Recently, I had a thread about a wether goat with a bad leg. I have decided to take the plunge and cull him for meat, both because I don't think his leg will get better the older he gets, but also (almost more so) because I really want to get in to raising more of my own meat, and knowing what a good life it had.
So, this is going to be the first time I butcher anything other then chickens. I want to do it all myself, apart from the odd helping hand if need be from my dad. (but he has never really butchered anything, and isn't that keen to help!)
I have a few questions; we need to buy a bigger freezer first, is there anything in particular that one ought to look for? Also, with the chickens, I keep them in the fridge for a few days, before they go into the freezer. I can't see how that will be possible with a goat, does that matter? What to other people do?
As far as the actual kill goes, I can't use a gun as I don't have one. (and can't easily get one because I don't have a license) I have however, got myself a captive bolt gun. Is there anything I ought to know about using it, other then just following the instructions? (it has got good instructions, including how to use it on different animals)
Anything else I should know about?? I have watched some videos on how to skin, and clean, but does anyone have any that you could recommend particularly?
And just how hard is it, physically? I'm a fit, young woman, do you think I can do it on my own?
I also want to go on to lambs eventually, is there anything that should be done differently between species?
Sorry for all the questions, and thanks very much for any help!
 

frustratedearthmother

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I'm a not-so-young woman and I've butchered pigs, goats, a sheep and lots of chickens. It's not hard, and I'd rather butcher a goat or sheep than a chicken or pig! Haven't ever used the captive bolt method though so no advice on that. We shoot first and then I generally cut their throat and try to get them hanging as soon as possible.

On a goat or sheep skinning goes pretty quickly and I gut immediately after. Be careful around the bladder - you don't want to rupture it.

Usually, after skinning and gutting, I'll quarter it up and leave it in an ice chest to 'age' with ice under it and over it. If it's hot we'll drain the water and add fresh ice daily. We generally do that for at least a couple of days - sometimes 4 or 5. Then it goes in the freezer. Easy peasy!
 

Mini Horses

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Good book for home butchering at TSC....or the library. It's something that explains how, what, where and from start to finish. Where to cut, how to remove innards without mistakes, etc. Go get one, it will answer so many questions you don't know you have. 👍

I've helped with an adult goat. A location away from other animals, withhold feed night before, give water. With a calm animal, a neighbor did the shoot, we quickly slit the jugular and hung to bleed out...that's important. Goats skin is tough. Skinned, gutted, quartered and put on ice for 3 days. I then cut & vac sealed meat. This neighbor harvests 8-10 deer a yr, experience! A young goat, easier as less weight to handle.

Preparation is key. A place to hang by hind legs is best. If you have a tractor, hang from FEL works! Have ice/tubs ready, knives extremely sharp -- several, different sizes --a hand saw. Plenty of plastic gloves, containers, big table, some clean towels to dry meat to cut. Trash bags and plans to dispose of skin, guts, etc. It's a messy day. Plus it's summer. In heat you have flies, start early.
 

goats&sheep19

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I'm a not-so-young woman and I've butchered pigs, goats, a sheep and lots of chickens. It's not hard, and I'd rather butcher a goat or sheep than a chicken or pig!
Thanks very much for the reply!
I was thinking I should be able to manage it, so if you can I can't see any reason I wouldn't be able to.
Usually, after skinning and gutting, I'll quarter it up and leave it in an ice chest to 'age' with ice under it and over it. If it's hot we'll drain the water and add fresh ice daily. We generally do that for at least a couple of days - sometimes 4 or 5. Then it goes in the freezer. Easy peasy!
How does it work with an ice chest? Do you just put the ice touching the meat? Wouldn't it freeze some bits, where it touches it? I expect you can tell I really have no idea, lol!
 

goats&sheep19

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Good book for home butchering at TSC....or the library. It's something that explains how, what, where and from start to finish. Where to cut, how to remove innards without mistakes, etc. Go get one, it will answer so many questions you don't know you have.
I think we have a book on it somewhere actually. Sheep, not goats, but I can't see it would be much different.
I'll have a rummage around and find it.
Preparation is key. A place to hang by hind legs is best. If you have a tractor, hang from FEL works! Have ice/tubs ready, knives extremely sharp -- several, different sizes --a hand saw. Plenty of plastic gloves, containers, big table, some clean towels to dry meat to cut. Trash bags and plans to dispose of skin, guts, etc. It's a messy day. Plus it's summer. In heat you have flies, start early.
Would a pully over a tree branch work, do you think?
Thank you for all the thoughts, there are a couple of things I hadn't thought of there.
And I'm actually on the other side of the world, so its winter here in the moment :)
 

farmerjan

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Pulley over a tree branch is fine. Get it up high enough to hang, and bleed out and not get dirty. Easier to skin out that way too... you can work around it and not have to move it.
Yes, ice directly on the meat, it won't freeze or damage the meat. We put the chickens in an ice chest of ice and chickens to cool them as fast as possible and a little water to help with the chilling and to clean the blood off/out of the meat. I do deer meat that way, "age" it a bit with ice and draining off the water. But I am lucky as there are several deer hunters here and I can get a quarter or a half off them....
Have never used the captive bolt either so can't help you there.
 

Baymule

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I butchered hogs and took pictures. It may help you on skinning and gutting your goat. Keep reading and I took pictures of cutting up the meat and vacuum sealing it using a Food Saver-you can buy one at Walmart.

 

Baymule

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With the hog hung up and skinned, I used a meat cleaver to cut through the bone between the back legs, right in front of the anus . I skinned around it , leaving a small patch of hide. I had to hit the back of the cleaver with a hammer to cut through the bone. Once opened up, I carefully cut around the anus and intestine, then I tied a string around the anus, preventing poop from leaking out and getting on the meat.

Also, don’t feed the goat the day before slaughter, but provide water. Then the guts won’t be full of food. If you nick intestines it will help keep the contents, poop, from getting on the meat.

I also packed on ice, draining water off, adding more ice, as I processed the meat.
 

Mini Horses

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Well....reread, make notes. We don't always think of all the issues we faced at once :lol: there are plenty! Ask questions. At the end, let us know how it goes.

You're in winter -- perfect!! 😁

By the way, goat meat is good. Very lean. So careful cooking or can be tough. If grinding, you'll need fat to add. Mine had some fat cover but, they don't marble as well as beef. Also breeds differ as to carcass results bone/meat ratio and quality of meat as to tenderness. Meat/dairy breeds, etc.
 
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