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Are they ready for slaughter?

PUBLISHED: 08:11 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:43 28 March 2014

Are they ready?

Are they ready?

AUG 21, 2013: Jules Moore, who runs smallholding courses, gives advice on taking lambs to the abattoir

Jules Moore, who runs smallholding courses, gives advice on taking lambs to the abattoir


Q – I have two lambs which I think are ready to go to the abattoir. I have never done this before, can you help?

A – If you haven’t got any weighing scales, you will have to assess your lambs based on age and condition, which takes practice, but you could ask a local sheep farmer for some guidance. They are usually ready at about six months for a lowland breed and 18 months for a hill breed. You will find a list of local abattoirs on www.tracingpaper.org.uk or you can ask locally. Ring them up and book your animals in for a 'private kill' and tell them which butcher you are using (see below). They will tell you what day and time to drop them off. Make sure they have ear tags and fill out the movement paperwork to take with you.
You need to find a local butcher unless you want to cut up your own meat, but the abattoir may have one. Discuss your requirements with the butcher regarding cuts, vacuum packing, labelling etc (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Meat book has a very useful section on cuts of meat) and when the meat will be ready to collect, as they should leave it to hang before jointing it. It is hard to give an exact cost, but I paid £75 to have two sheep slaughtered and butchered.

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