Tuesday 11 February, 2014
Because we're relatively new to sheepkeeping, this is the first year we've had to cull animals.
In 2007 we bought ewe lambs; in 2008 and 2009, they went back to the breeder to be tupped. We bought our first tup for autumn 2010, then sold him in 2012 to a neighbour. However, the tup we bought to replace him is now done here, as his daughters will come into the flock in October, so we're culling him.
Last spring, we had two barren ewes; one we let go to a pet home and the other we gave a second chance to, but she's barren again this year, so she has to go.
We sell all our tup lambs privately as lamb boxes, so we've never sold through the ring and, to be honest, I really didn't fancy putting our two to auction, knowing that they could end up transported who knows where.
Thankfully, I've been able to sell them as Ryeland mutton to a local pie-making business, so we'll be taking them to Dunblane w/c 3rd March. The carcases will go to our usual butcher and prepared for sale. I reckon it's going to cost about £120 for killing, transporting and processing the two sheep, but the margin will depend on how much saleable mutton we get from them. I think the ewe is about 70kg and the tup, 90kg, but that's just a guestimate because we don't have a weigh crate. Both are in "good" condition - actually both are probably quite fat :-( but at least I haven't had to feed them any bagged food to get them that way :-)
This is a new experience for us - we've never culled anything because of poor performance before but we're not a petting zoo, so we need to just get on with it. At least this way, we can see it through to the end. And a few pies :-)