Each year there are a number of sheep that must be removed from our flock to make room for higher percentage Ouessant lambs. These are usually older, lower percentage ewes or ram lambs that cannot contribute to our goal of having a flock of Ouessant sheep. While we prefer to sell these sheep as live animals that isn’t always possible so we offer them for sale as mutton and lamb meat.
Here is how it works:
- What: You buy the whole animal and receive packages of frozen meat.
- How: We handle the processing according to your specification of how you want your lamb butchered — individual chops or rack, ground or stew, deboned or bone-in leg, etc.
Contact us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for more detail. We will also send you a form you can use to specify how the sheep or lamb should be butchered.
- When: We have “mutton” sheep now (2.5 to 4.5 years old) and will have lambs toward the end of the year. The exact timing of availability depends on when we can get a slot at the only nearby USDA inspected slaughter house in Massachusetts.
- Price: $4/lb. hanging weight for mutton and $6.50/lb. hanging weight for lamb.
- Estimated hanging weight: 30–45 lbs. for a mutton sheep, 20–35 for a lamb. The hanging weight is the carcass weight after removing the pelt, guts, head, tail, etc. It is typically about 50–60% of the live weight. The meat you get will consist of 70–75% “primal” cuts (hind legs, loin, rack, shoulder) and 25–30% ground/stew meat and organ meat (heart, kidney, liver). The weight of these cuts relative to the hanging weight will vary depending on things like how many deboned cuts you requested, whether you opted to take the organ cuts and shanks, the amount of fat removed, dehydration during aging, etc. and has ranged from 50 to 83%, averaging 65%.
- Volume: The packaged cuts fit into about 1 to 1.5 cubic feet.
- Description: Feedback has been very positive with regard to tenderness and flavor for both the lamb and the mutton. The mutton tends to be stronger in flavor and perhaps a little chewier but not tough or stringy.
- Other: We appreciate honest and candid feedback on the meat — taste, tenderness, whether it was too lean or too fat, etc. so we can learn what our lamb and mutton is like given the age of the animal, gender, feed, size, etc. If you are not happy with what you get, we’ll give you your money back.
Mutton vs. Lamb
In the US, lamb is the meat from a sheep that is up to one year old. After that, it is called mutton. The transition, of course, is gradual. Lamb does not become mutton overnight as the sheep reaches its first birthday. As a sheep becomes older it develops more flavor. Not everyone enjoys this flavor and prefer the milder taste of lamb. Others would rather have meat from an older animal. The sheep we are selling as mutton are between 2.5 and 4.5 years of age (born in the spring of 2011, 2012, and 2013). The lamb we will be selling at the end of the year will be from ram lambs that are 8 to 9 months old.