Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sad, but necessary task

Today was butchering day.  Don’t worry; I didn’t post any pictures of the actual butchering as my Mom and Sister would probably end up yacking all over their keyboards if they saw the process in photos.  Honestly, I think that more people need to know where their meat comes from and how it got to their dinner plate, but that’s an entire blog post in itself.
One of Nettie’s kids from this spring was a male so we banded him, let him nurse on Nettie for ten weeks, then put him with Pan.  He was half Saanen & half Nigerian and after eight months he just wasn’t going to be getting any bigger or meatier so it was time to put him in the freezer.  I’m sure there are some people who butcher the male dairy goats earlier and we may do that next year.   
Last year we had two male freezer goats and they had a LOT of fat on them.  Meaning I was feeding them too much grain & not getting any more meat out of it, although in my defense I’ve never done it before. So this year I went lighter on the grain & also supplemented his feed with a lot of acorns. 
This one didn’t have much fat on him at all, so I’m pretty happy.  It’s cold enough in the garage that we’re going to let him hang & age for at least a day.  We’ll quarter him and I’ll wrap up the ribs, tenderloins, backstraps and neck for the freezer.  Instead of taking up freezer space on the front & hind quarters I’m going to slow cook them in the oven, pull off the meat & then freeze that in small zippy-bags for quick meals later on. 
I keep tossing out hints to Paul that I’d like to start a small meat goat herd.  Of course, that means more fencing, more feed….more work.  But when I see a meat goat & then look at the scrawny carcass of the goat we just butchered, I wonder why we don’t butcher them right after they’re weaned so we don’t have to spend any more time and money on hay & grain for them.  Just one more thing to ponder I suppose.
Tomorrow’s post will be “nicer”, I promise!


  1. This is a nice post. ;) It's given me some things to ponder, since I eventually want Nigerians, but planned on eating the male kids. But since they're not a meat goat, I don't know when is a good time to butcher them, etc., etc.

    So your comment about perhaps butchering shortly after weaning gives me something to plan for in the future.

    Thank you. :)

  2. Another thing to think about is the time of the year you'll be butchering. If it's hot outside you have to do it quickly & you can't hang the carcass to age. And, if you want to keep the pelts, summer isn't the time to do it either. So as much as I like the idea of butchering right after weaning, I also like the idea of being able to butcher when it's cold outside & the fact that when we want to keep the pelts, they will be ok for tanning during the cold weather.

    Good luck on your future Nigerian herd!