We’ve finally come full-circle and are taking her back to the mainland from whence she came.
This time in little pieces!
After a summer of mowing my in-laws’ lawn with her flock-mates, she headed off to the slaughter house and came back as about 55 pounds of meat. We cooked up a roast last night, she’s DELICIOUS!
Because I felt like death through pretty much the entirety of Agnes’ growing season, the initial drop-off was the only time I met her. I never did see Gloria and Miserere while they were alive.
Agnes was probably about 1.5 months old when we got her. Most likely recently weaned, since she had no idea what to do about the first bucket of grain she got when the hot sun meant the sheep ran out of an adequate supply of grass. By all accounts, the sheep were almost entirely pleasant, excellent groundskeepers, and remarkably easy to get into the truck for their final trip. They put the “laughter” in “slaughter!”
Our start-up costs were not insignificant (about $1000 for the pen, yard, electric fence and sundry other small supplies & feed). But the lambs themselves were about $150 each. Plus a processing fee. They ate primarily grass, so growing costs were almost nil. Aside from any repairs needed to the plywood roof over the winter, and some extra electric fencing this summer’s experience showed would be nice to have, next year’s costs will only be the sheep.
Looking at the current grocery rates, BC Lamb is going for anywhere from $27/lb for a rack of lamb down to $4.50/lb for a shoulder roast.
Our lamb ended up costing $2.75/lb plus the cutting fee (about $0.50/lb if I recall correctly). We’ve got roasts, racks, shanks, stew, bones for stock and even some offal for the dog. And if the roast we had last night is any indication, we’re in for a winter of amazingly tasty meals.
We also have the added benefit of knowing most of our lamb’s history, what she was fed, and that she lived a perfectly lamby life, eating grass and cavorting in a pasture with other sheep.
My only regret is that we don’t have a better idea of her origin (we don’t actually even know what her breed really is) and her earliest days. Our auction experience was pretty disturbing (another post, coming soon), and I’d hesitate to purchase animals from that particular auction house again. Sadly, most literature I’ve read on the livestock industry and its seedy underbelly claims that our experience was closer to the rule than the exception.
But! On the bright side, we do have a freezer full of lamb that lived happily and lambily for the majority of her life.
Now, who wants to come for dinner?