Feedback from the abattoirRSS feed

Posted: Saturday 18 October, 2014

by Rosemary at 5:12pm in General livestock Comments closed

As regular readers will know, our abattoir arrangements changed this year. We used James Chapman at Shotts and a local haulier to transport all our fatstock in one trip. Although this wasn’t our original choice, it may have worked out for the best.

For two cattle, eight sheep and two pigs, the haulier charged £60. If we had taken the stock ourselves, it would have been four round trips of 180 miles. At 30p a mile, that’s £216, not accounting for our time.

The charges at Shotts are also lower than our nearest abattoir and we get money back on the skins, which we haven’t had before.

Of course, the welfare of our animals is important to us – we’ve looked after them for up to two and a half years, after all. We were very happy with the professionalism of the hauliers; we were the first pick up. There was a second pick up at Forfar market then the animals would be in lairage over night and killed first thing next morning.

It’s not perfect – I guess home slaughter would be best but it’s not an option. We were reassured by our dealing with the abattoir, by the presence of CCTV throughout the abattoir and by recommendations from other users.

We had weights back the following day – a new experience.

The pigs were a wee bit disappointing; last year’s two were 49kg and 44kg while this year’s were 39.3kg and 29.6kg. Dan said he thought before they went that they were smaller but, to be honest, I wasn’t sure. We won’t be getting any pork back – we’ll be going for maximum bacon and gammon, with the rest as sausages.

The two ewes were 37.9kg and 39.3kg. If deadweight is 50% of liveweight, then I need to review my assessment of liveweight for the purposes of dosage of wormer etc. I’ve been working on 60kg for ewes, though these two were big ewes.

The six lambs were between 18.8kg and 24.1kg, with four between 19kg and 20.9kg and averaging 20.5kg across the six. Don’t know how fat they will be this year. They are away a wee bit earlier than in previous years but it had been a good summer. Three lambs are destined for local freezers including our own, and three are going to an artisan pie company (along with the mutton).

The two cattle totaled 680.5kg deadweight; the bull was 356.5kg at 26 months and the bullock 324kg at 28 months. The butcher won’t have them back yet – they’ll be hanging still, so it will be interesting to see what the carcasses and meat yield are like. We’re currently marketing beef boxes locally. Shetland beef is fabulous – it’s only by eating these breeds and promoting their eating qualities that we can protect them.

So that’s it over for 2014. It’s not my favourite part of smallholding but I know the animals have had the best lives we can give them and that we’re helping to look after our rare and traditional breeds – and enjoying some fabulous meat as well.


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