Sheep

Picked up the sheep that was for the dogs this morning.  Surprisingly, he dressed out at just 10 pounds more than the younger sheep.  I would have thought he would have dressed out at closer to 100 pounds, but I guess the wool was deceptive.

I packaged up the quarters and put them in the freezer and then went through the garbage bags full of hide, guts, etc. I pulled out the hides and heads to bring down into the far back field.  Then I squeezed the contents out of the stomachs and bagged up the stomach linings for green tripe.  After that, I picked through the rest of the organs for the hearts, livers and kidneys and bagged them up.  What’s left is in a pile out in the side yard for the dogs and chickens to pick through.  I’ll bring what’s left down back tomorrow.

The smaller lamb dressed out at 50 pounds.  The processor said we should get 20-30 pounds of meat, but none of it will go to waste as I left instructions for all of the bones and trimmings to be set aside for the dogs.  We should be able to pick up that meat mid-week.  Say we get 25 pounds of meat, that will work out to about $2.20/pound.  Since there’s very little money into feeding the sheep, that’s pretty good.

Over the winter, we’ve gone through about 200 square bales and maybe six round bales.  The square bales cost us about $400, the square bales probably cost $150 total.  This is to feed 60 +/- sheep and four +/- goats.  I feel sure if we were feeding cattle, one cow would probably go through that amount of hay in a winter.  This year we will do only round bales.  They are more economical and easier to feed.  Of course, we need to factor in the labor in transporting the sheep back and forth to the ElectroNet and of course setting the ElectroNet, hauling water both down to the ElectroNet and out to the fenced-in area.

Raising animals isn’t cheap.

What I was glad to see was how lean the meat looked.  There was very little fat on the meat.  While the sheep were at Wally’s, he grained them, but since they’ve been here, they’ve been completely grass/hay fed.  A few weeks before we breed the sheep this year, we’ll grain them to increase their fertility, but other than that, they’ll remain grass/hay fed.  It’s amazing the condition they stay in on just grass.  They are much easier keepers than goats.  My dairy goats only get grain once a day, mostly when they are on the stand.  I only put a little bit of feed out for them while they are waiting to be milked.  Other than that, they eat hay.  I wish I could get them out with the sheep, but they won’t stay in the ElectroNet.  I have been getting them some vegetables from the grocery store like carrots and cabbage to supplement their food.  On Saturday Wally and I are going to go to a feed store in Statesville to pick up a bale or two of Western alfalfa hay.  I want to see what feeding that does to their milk production and the taste of the cheese.

Speaking of cheese i just mixed up about a half a cup of goat cheese with some chopped basil and garlic.  It is really good!  For the most part, I’ve been eating the cheese plain.  I’m looking forward to trying different things with it.  While I got a lot done today, I spent some time going through cook books and flagging recipes.  I love good food.

Until later …