Drafting lambs for sale is an important exercise on sheep farms to make sure you’re selling the right lamb at the right time.
In this video, Michael Gottstein, Teagasc Head of Sheep, gives an overview of what to look for when drafting lambs for sale.
The advice he offers is as follows:
Identify which market you have. There are two main markets that most lambs in Ireland go for – factory type lambs and butcher type lambs.
- Factory type lambs – carcass range of 19-21kg;
- Butcher type lamb – significantly heavier, up to 50kg.
Assess lambs for weight depending on target weights. Gottstein says the live weights of lambs will vary depending on issues such as:
- Time of weighing;
- If their coats are long or wet;
- If they have been fasting.
“These factors need to be taken into account when you are weighing the lambs and when you are monitoring your kill outs. Ideally, the farmer should monitor the live weights of the lambs and correlate those to the factory kill outs. This will give you a good idea as to how your lambs are killing out.”
He says it is not possible to accurately and consistently guess the weight of the sheep, so weighing them is extremely important.
“What we want is a nice cover along the bones. We don’t want a lamb that is excessively fat, just a nice cover of flesh so you can still feel the bones with a little bit of pressure.”
“When handling lambs to weigh them or assess fat cover, it is extremely important to handle them carefully. Poor handling will damage the carcass and reduce the visual appeal of the meat and therefore the sale value of the carcass.”
Gottstein recommends clipping the lambs in order to improve their presentation and also to make sure the carcass is not spoiled.