Slaughtering hair sheep ram lambs in the fall


Exploring the pasture
Jun 8, 2024
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I'm new to raising sheep. I have 14 St. Croix yearling ewes that I bred to a large NISP Katahdin ram last fall resulting in 17 lambs this spring. I'm about to wean and I'm wondering what to do with my ram lambs. My plan is to leave them intact and run them in a separate field with their dad until butchering them in the fall. We plan to feed grass only. I've had quite a bit of interest in their meat and was planning to sell most of them as wholes, while keeping a couple for our own consumption. I have 2-4 especially nice looking boys with great growth rates that I was hoping to sell as potential homestead flock sires. The rams' sire is a friendly-natured 5 year-old gentleman. The remaining lambs, I wanted to butcher in the late fall to take advantage of as much grass as I can before winter. Would the meat be tainted if I butcher at this time? Would I have to overwinter them on hay and spring-slaughter? Or would it be best to use a burdizzo on them now to ensure the meat is taint-free? Thanks so much for your input.

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