Assessing whether lambs are ready for slaughter is best done by hands-on feeling the lambs’ back, ribs and tail, and also weighing the lamb.
Each market outlet has its advantages and disadvantages and it is up to you which market you want to target. Jim Nisbet, Sorn Mains butcher, uses top quality lambs with E to R conformation and prefers a good covering of fat. Colin Mair, Farm Stock Ltd, does not look for lambs to be quite as fat as lambs for the butcher.
There are many livestock markets over the country and there is fewer abattoirs. At the market the seller has the option to take the animals home if they are not happy with the price bid for them – this does not happen when selling to an abattoir. The abattoir gives the seller feedback on the carcass grade and the price paid is dependant of this grade (there is no feedback on the quality of the lambs carcass when selling live weight at the market). Smallholders may opt to sell their lambs to the butcher, or ask the butcher to take their lambs to the abattoir and butcher the lamb for them so they can then sell the lamb themselves or keep the lamb for their own use.
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