Tips n Tricks for 1st time lamb butchering??


Herd Master
Oct 16, 2010
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Virginia is for Pasture Farmers!
Well, the buyer for the wethers had to call it off. =/ So, if they don't sell in the next month or so, before I start hay feeding everyone, then I'll process them.

I've butchered pigs, fowl and rabbit, but these will be the first sheep.

I want to save the hides for sheep skins. They'll be small, but I had washed the lambs a month ago and they have 2-3in wool that is really soft and pretty. Thus I want to save it. Should I brush out the lambs before butcher? I don't want to risk tearing or pulling wool out once the hide is off.

I'm assuming lamb butchering is the same as ither animals, but any tips n tricks from the seasoned lamb butchers?

I don't use the organs, not a fan, so those will be for the hogs. The lower legs and head for the LGDs. I plan on deboning and giving the bones to the dogs. Any tips on how to do this? I've deboned rabbit, tricky with all those tiny bones! Hoping it's much easier with lamb.

Will a .22 work on them? They are naturally polled, so have 2 weak spots, though, I feel more comfortable using the X point instead. I've used the .22 on hogs, so hoping it will work on them. If not, have more powerful guns, though, I only have experience with the .22. Any tips on dispatching lamb?

It will be sometime in November when I butcher, should I hang them outside or cut up and let them rest in the fridge? Never left anything outside before and I don't like how they dry out. So is it best to hang outside anyway? I'll be doing just one and the other later on, don't want it to get dark on me.

Does anyone know how much % of meat there tends to be from live weight of regular lamb or miniature lamb?

Anything I've left out, anything else I need to know, do or be aware of?

Thanks a ton!


Herd Master
Nov 23, 2012
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Southwest Virginia
I don't know much, we have only butchered a few lambs, but my biggest piece of advice is to shoot the back of the head in the center where the spinal cord connects with the skull. A .22 is fine.

You don't have to let lamb rest, but I would be wary of hanging and dry aging--you might lose some of the exterior meat and lamb doesn't have a whole lot of meat to begin with. Not speaking from experience here, but heresay. We have wet aged large cuts in the fridge with good results.

Dress percentage is usually about 50%, so if you have an 80lb lamb, you'll have a 40lb hanging weight, and if you de-bone you'll probably have close to 20lbs of meat.

Other than that, my experience is that it's just like processing a really big rabbit! Wish I could help you out on the hides but we have so far just composted them/given them to the dogs. Good luck!


Loving the herd life
Jan 16, 2015
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Our friends do their own lambs, it can be a one person job.
First they're loved up and kissed and cuddled goodbye.
Stand over their back so they're held between your legs, and cut the throat/arteries so they bleed out, they're usually gone in about 2-3 mins, then hang, skin and gut, and then hang up in a cool room whole or chop up and put in the fridge for a couple of days.

Glad to hear they sold though!