Have you ever wondered what meat you should expect when you purchase a whole lamb?
Terms Commonly Used
The weight of the entire live animal. Also known as "on the hoof" or "hoof weight".
The weight taken immediately after slaughter, but before final trim. The weight of the meat as it hangs in the butcher's cooler once the head, hide, feet, organs and blood are removed. Also known as "on the rail" weight.
Also known as "take home" weight is what you actually put in the freezer. When the carcass is broken down into recognizable cuts, there is some loss when cuts are de-boned and fat is trimmed away. The final weight will also depend on the types of cuts you selected (especially the amount of boneless cuts you choose).
"Beanie" Case Study
When we sold our first lamb we collected as much information as possible so that we can use it as an example for people that are new to buying whole lambs. Remember this is one animal, the details will vary from one animal to another.
Live weight: 135 lb
Beanie was 8.5 months old and was raised on a 100% grass fed diet. He is the lamb in the center of the photo with black spots.
Hanging weight: 67.5 lb.
This is 50% of the live weight which is typical for sheep.
Final weight: 46.7 lb.
Joe (that purchased Beanie and did butchering) was nice enough to provide us with a lot of detail. Below is the photo of the final cuts he got from Beanie.
Remember, the final weight will depend on the type of cuts you select. The list below shows what Joe got for the cuts he selected.
What Joe thought about the meat
"The lamb is fantastic. I have heard that hair sheep are not as "lamby" and this agrees. It is not too strong or too mild. This is the breed I want."