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Author Topic: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?  (Read 4361 times)

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« on: September 14, 2015, 02:16:17 pm »
So not only is it going to be my first ever time taking livestock to an abattoir, they are going to be hebs and there is going to be a film crew for a national telly program filming it... nothing like pressure eh...

A neighbour who farms north country cheviots has been scaring me today telling me the abattoir won't take rigs or sheep with tails.. We found out half of our male lambs are rigs because we didn't know what we were doing during ringing them! And we didn't ring any tails because... they're hebs. He also said the abattoir will want to know what water they have been drinking?! Is he just winding me up?! (It's working!!)

My partner has been organising most of it and has contacted a butcher and some of his contacts in the restaurant world, so we have found homes for the carcasses. (Butcher was happy their live weight will make up enough dead weight.) I like to make life interesting and difficult though so I've been making noise about getting the fleeces and heads back.

I KNOW that this particular abattoir sell all their sheep skins to a sheepskin rug company because the rug company told me that was their source, but the abattoir says they don't keep the skins and won't give them back to me. I guess I'm taking profit from them when they would originally sell the skins (usually a waste product so people don't normally want them back) to the rug company, but I want them back so I can get the rugs from my own flock. Seems a hell of a shame to waste those lovely fleeces.

I want the heads so I can strip them and sell them as skulls, their horns are so impressive and it's just another avenue of using every part of these sheep.

It all seems so ghoulish! But I had a hebridean lamb burger the other day at a brewery and oh man it was amazing. And I don't want to pour all this money, time and love into these sheep just to have bits go to waste.

Any tips for a first trip to the abattoir? How to make sure I don't upset them too much (probably: don't ask for awkward things like fleeces and heads back!)? How to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible? Things to expect? I've been reading Tim Tyne's book on shepherding and he has some great tips but would love your guys views!

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2015, 02:44:55 pm »
No idea as I have never taken sheep to the abattoir.

When I visited Skye Skins they said that the abattoir just put aside interesting ones for them.  I am sure that they don't take all the skins as there is no way that they cure and sell thousands of plain white NCC skins. 

In trying (and failing) to get any offal back from my pigs last year I found them particularly unhelpful so you might be getting some of the same.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2015, 03:00:27 pm »
I think your neighbour is winding you up. The part about the water gives it away. 


With regards to getting the skins back you need a licence to be able to do that. You have to have the licence in advance. They are your skins so, if you have a licence, then I don't see how an abattoir can stop you getting them back, albeit you may need to pay for the pleasure and give them advance notice. Mine cost £1.50 each.
Sorry I can't help with the heads.


If you don't want to look stupid during the filming I would suggest that you just go with the basic meat needs this time round and worry about the other things next time.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 03:36:36 pm »
No idea as I have never taken sheep to the abattoir.

When I visited Skye Skins they said that the abattoir just put aside interesting ones for them.  I am sure that they don't take all the skins as there is no way that they cure and sell thousands of plain white NCC skins. 

In trying (and failing) to get any offal back from my pigs last year I found them particularly unhelpful so you might be getting some of the same.

Aye well I suppose so! But at the same time they do have to skin every sheep so.. what happens to the skins? Surely they can set aside mine, shove em in a bag or something. I guess they just don't want a difficult time.

Quote
I think your neighbour is winding you up. The part about the water gives it away. 


With regards to getting the skins back you need a licence to be able to do that. You have to have the licence in advance. They are your skins so, if you have a licence, then I don't see how an abattoir can stop you getting them back, albeit you may need to pay for the pleasure and give them advance notice. Mine cost £1.50 each.
Sorry I can't help with the heads.


If you don't want to look stupid during the filming I would suggest that you just go with the basic meat needs this time round and worry about the other things next time.

I'm not bothered about looking stupid... Have you seen Abz on the Farm? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06750kg And I've got two weeks to get my ducks in a row :)

What is the license for, holding the skins, processing them? Can you give me a link to some info on it? Thanks for the idea of cost for asking for the skins.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2015, 03:43:32 pm »
Yes, your neighbour is winding you up  ::)  The only things are that the sheep must be tagged, they must be clean and dry, and if they have very woolly bellies they may want them trimmed - oh and you have to sign a thing to say they have had no meds or treatments within the withdrawal period.
Ideally they should have been kept in overnight without food so they have empty insides to help reduce the possibility of contamination.  We get round this by taking the sheep in the day before, just before the abattoir closes for the day (by prior arrangement)

I very much doubt you will get the heads back - the only way for that I can see is if a tup dies at home and you hack his head off before he's collected by the knacker - who may want the tags.  From the abattoir's point of view, and legally, the brain has to be disposed of on site and unless you have very special permission, and I've no idea how you would get that, you will not be able to take the heads.
What you can do, again by prior arrangement, is to get the horns back.  The first time we asked we got a few sets back, but the really beautiful 4 horned ones were absent - turned out the vet had taken the heads for his wall!  The second time, fortunately Mr F had gone to collect them, not me, because he was presented with some very indignant heads and a saw, for a bit of unusual DIY  :o

For the skins (not fleeces incidentally - those are shorn off), as you have problems you will need the license Bionic mentions.

For the tv cameras, just be yourself.  The sheep should be admitted by an abattoir worker, perhaps even the vet as they will be going by the book, so you will have help.  You do need to be able to reverse your trailer in public  :tired: so might be worth assessing the place first ie go and watch others delivering their animals to see how they do it.  When getting the sheep out of the trailer, we find it best to climb in behind them and move them out.  Don't drag them by the horns, or let the abattoir worker do that either.

ps the license is to remove the skins from the abattoir premises, and as proof that you have the correct facilities at home, to keep live animals from dead products.

There are various threads on here about how to deal with the skins once you have them.  For example, within a couple of hours of skinning you need to get them salted.

Our abattoir sends all their skins to a fellmonger who takes them to the tanners (in a horrid dripping pick up).  They used to be exported to Russia and other cold countries, but I think the market has shrunk.  We have no problem getting our skins back, we just don't get the extra we would be due if the abattoir kept them.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 03:49:33 pm by Fleecewife »
There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2015, 04:07:48 pm »
Yes, your neighbour is winding you up  ::)  The only things are that the sheep must be tagged, they must be clean and dry, and if they have very woolly bellies they may want them trimmed - oh and you have to sign a thing to say they have had no meds or treatments within the withdrawal period.
Ideally they should have been kept in overnight without food so they have empty insides to help reduce the possibility of contamination.  We get round this by taking the sheep in the day before, just before the abattoir closes for the day (by prior arrangement)

I very much doubt you will get the heads back - the only way for that I can see is if a tup dies at home and you hack his head off before he's collected by the knacker - who may want the tags.  From the abattoir's point of view, and legally, the brain has to be disposed of on site and unless you have very special permission, and I've no idea how you would get that, you will not be able to take the heads.
What you can do, again by prior arrangement, is to get the horns back.  The first time we asked we got a few sets back, but the really beautiful 4 horned ones were absent - turned out the vet had taken the heads for his wall!  The second time, fortunately Mr F had gone to collect them, not me, because he was presented with some very indignant heads and a saw, for a bit of unusual DIY  :o

For the skins (not fleeces incidentally - those are shorn off), as you have problems you will need the license Bionic mentions.

For the tv cameras, just be yourself.  The sheep should be admitted by an abattoir worker, perhaps even the vet as they will be going by the book, so you will have help.  You do need to be able to reverse your trailer in public  :tired: so might be worth assessing the place first ie go and watch others delivering their animals to see how they do it.  When getting the sheep out of the trailer, we find it best to climb in behind them and move them out.  Don't drag them by the horns, or let the abattoir worker do that either.

ps the license is to remove the skins from the abattoir premises, and as proof that you have the correct facilities at home, to keep live animals from dead products.

There are various threads on here about how to deal with the skins once you have them.  For example, within a couple of hours of skinning you need to get them salted.

Our abattoir sends all their skins to a fellmonger who takes them to the tanners (in a horrid dripping pick up).  They used to be exported to Russia and other cold countries, but I think the market has shrunk.  We have no problem getting our skins back, we just don't get the extra we would be due if the abattoir kept them.

Right gotcha, I totally get the brains thing. What a shame, nice horned skulls go for a ridiculous amount online! I'll go and visit and have a chat and see if we can work something out, I'm not adverse to sawing as long as it's sharp.

I've been practicing reversing trailers under pressure at the marts and will DEFINITELY go for a reconnaissance mission beforehand! Skyeskyns told me about the salting thing, I'll get in touch with them again to check everything over. I think I need a special leak proof container with “Category 3 Animal By-Products - Not For Human Consumption" written on it as well. Best to ring AHVLA, eh.

I'm so relieved that horrid neighbour was just winding me up. Now I need to work out if he was winding me up about taming bulls too... And here I was thinking he was being so helpful.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2015, 04:18:36 pm »
When I'm asking an abattoir or a butcher for something that I know is not their normal way of working, I always preface it with, "I realise I am asking you to do something different and I am happy to pay extra for it."  Quite often that's all you need, and they don't charge you any extra.  They just like some recognition that it isn't your right to have them do something differently for you (and you're probably a very small fry customer) when you are paying them standard rates for a standard product.

Sometimes there is an extra charge, but in my experience, that'll be because there's an extra cost.  For instance, the abattoir will get paid for the skins they send away, and that revenue is built into their slaughter charges.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2015, 04:24:07 pm »
When I'm asking an abattoir or a butcher for something that I know is not their normal way of working, I always preface it with, "I realise I am asking you to do something different and I am happy to pay extra for it."  Quite often that's all you need, and they don't charge you any extra.  They just like some recognition that it isn't your right to have them do something differently for you (and you're probably a very small fry customer) when you are paying them standard rates for a standard product.

Sometimes there is an extra charge, but in my experience, that'll be because there's an extra cost.  For instance, the abattoir will get paid for the skins they send away, and that revenue is built into their slaughter charges.

Very wise words Sally, thank you for that.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2015, 04:46:14 pm »

With regards to getting the skins back you need a licence to be able to do that. You have to have the licence in advance. They are your skins so, if you have a licence, then I don't see how an abattoir can stop you getting them back, albeit you may need to pay for the pleasure and give them advance notice. Mine cost £1.50 each.


I'm not bothered about looking stupid... Have you seen Abz on the Farm? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06750kg And I've got two weeks to get my ducks in a row :)

What is the license for, holding the skins, processing them? Can you give me a link to some info on it? Thanks for the idea of cost for asking for the skins.


I don't have a link on the info about the license other than it was on the list of 'must haves' from the tannery explaining how to go about collecting and preparing the skins. 
I don't know where abouts you are, I am in Carmarthenshire. I spoke to Animal Health here and they sent me out the form to complete for the licence. About 5 pages I think. Its just a formality but it does't cost anything.
Yes, I did see Abz and I can't say on a public forum what I thought  ;D
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2015, 06:03:11 pm »
I got in touch with Skyeskyns and they have been really helpful, gave me their contact at Munros and said they deal with the licenses and salting there and they pick it up directly with the others! So no worries.




Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2015, 06:48:38 pm »
Skyeskins do some beautiful work  :)  I wish we were closer, as I think they have quite a small catchment area.

As a matter of interest, do you know how much they charge per skin?  It would seem to be far more sensible for us to get them done in Scotland than sending them down to the far south-west.
There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Cheekierdiagram

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 10:36:52 pm »
Some abattoirs don't take buy tup and rig lambs after about November time so your neighbour wasn't totally winding you up.  Although the water thing may have just been a cheeky line.????

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2015, 10:52:13 pm »
You will need an animal by products licence issued by animal health and in Scotland they will do a home visit.  As long as you have a sealable box to keep the by products ( skins,horns)  in that's kept well away from any animal feedstuffs you should be OK..as for whole heads, unless you home slaughter it's never ever going to happen.

Tighnaneun

  • Joined Apr 2015
  • Rogart, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2015, 11:10:10 am »
Skyeskins do some beautiful work  :)  I wish we were closer, as I think they have quite a small catchment area.

As a matter of interest, do you know how much they charge per skin?  It would seem to be far more sensible for us to get them done in Scotland than sending them down to the far south-west.

£43.20 per skin but they can do discounts for more than 20. They send out a tanning advice form when you initially get in touch, tanner@skyeskyns.com, that tells you about how to prepare the skin and how to get it to them (I discovered yesterday!)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: First time taking hebs to abattoir - any info, tips, advice?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2015, 12:43:22 pm »
Skyeskins do some beautiful work  :)  I wish we were closer, as I think they have quite a small catchment area.

As a matter of interest, do you know how much they charge per skin?  It would seem to be far more sensible for us to get them done in Scotland than sending them down to the far south-west.

£43.20 per skin but they can do discounts for more than 20. They send out a tanning advice form when you initially get in touch, tanner@skyeskyns.com, that tells you about how to prepare the skin and how to get it to them (I discovered yesterday!)

Thanks for that Tighnaneun.  You'd need to be sure you sent only the finest skins, but it would be worth it for those.

I love your avatar - very stylish  :thumbsup:
There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

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