Sunday, 15 December 2013

Today...

Today was a landmark day for us (and for our lambs). Today we took our first two lambs to the abattoirs.

Big Mumma's boy on the day of his birth
It has been our aim to raise happy and quiet sheep. We have spent time in the paddock with them so they are familiar with us being around. We have taken care to move our sheep on foot without dogs or bikes or horses and as a result they move with minimum stress. As we have predictable routes around the property, often the sheep move where we want them to move with little direction from us.

We have watched the lambs being born,  play with each other, climb logs and look down wombat holes.

Playing on the way to the lambing paddock
We have kept the foxes at bay with their guardian alpaca friends.

Eric and Leslie on duty
We have grazed our sheep entirely on our plentiful  and mostly native pasture - no grain finishing or feed lots.

The main dam
Now our lambies born in August have grown so quickly. They are all strong and chubby and practically lift their mothers off the ground when they suckle.

Today, it was time to take two our the biggest lambs to the abattoirs to stock the Christmas fridge, feed some of our friends and family and to do a practise run with the butcher for our lamb paddock to plate venture.

Today, all that work we have put into having the sheep comfortable with us paid off. Today, when we drafted, loaded and transported the two chosen lambies, all went smoothly and calmly. It felt good to say "thank you and goodbye" to them when they had had such stress-free lives.

I have always loved eating lamb - it is truly my favourite meat. I have never before however had to take responsibility for their birth, health, life and death. I have in the past, like most of us, simply bought lamb from the butcher.

I thought that today I would feel terribly uncomfortable with taking the lambs off the property where they were born on a short trip to the abattoirs but I didn't. I did feel a sort of pathos but is was more of a tenderness and gratitude rather than pity or sorrow.

While I am not at all religious, it has always seemed a proper thing to thank an animal (not a God) for its life. Today I had to live that (at least to an extent).

I think they had good lives, certainly they had lives where gentle care and handling was of great importance.

Thank you lambies and thank you sun and grass for keeping the lambies well fed.

New born twins

8 comments:

  1. When I was young we often had a carcass hanging in our carport which would later be cut up on the kitchen floor. I suspect the whole process might have worked better had we (like you) got a butcher to do it (often the meat wasn't great and I suspect our knife skills or lack of them didn't help either.....).

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    1. Wow! That's pretty full on! I

      I am a firm believer in the fact that we don't have to do EVERYTHING ourselves. People have really valuable skills and facilities - proper slaughtering, proper butchery etc and that using those skills means we pay due respect to the animal and the skilled person.There are other things I can do, like (hopefully) good sheep husbandry and growing vegetables. In the end I am really looking forward to not buying much food soon. I love the idea of supplying our own lamb and selling it too! We are not going to become rich on it but we will close the gap between producer and consumer , by-pass the supermarkets and tell people about how we raise our babies.

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  2. Lovely post, I hope it all goes well and you soon have a freezer full of lamb. It will taste all the better knowing how it was raised etc.

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    1. Thank you Liz. If we lived near each other we could swap some lamb for your beef!

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  3. This is a really touching post. I think it's sad that most people are so removed from the meat that they consume. It's a really special thing to be able to be so involved in the life and death of the animals that you consume.

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    1. Oh thank you Jess. I guess that's a fact of city living. But I also think that the growth of Farmers' Markets means that people do want to be closer to the source. Tomorrow I am talking to the butcher about how I want the cuts!

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  4. I totally agree with you in respecting and acknowledging the lives and deaths of the animals you consume. They are such gorgeous creatures and appear to have had a very happy life (who couldn't be happy in such a beautiful place) and I hope you enjoy them after they are back from the butcher too.

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  5. I applaud you on you care and love you have invested. If I actually liked meat (which I never did) I would like to think I would go in the same direction. They really look like they have had a marvellous life. I am sure they will satisfy all those who sit at your table

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