we butchered a wether (castrated goat) yesterday. He was about 55lbs and we made out with about 14.5 lbs of roasts and a few cuts. It really is very simple and although killing anything isn't fun, the butchering process is very interesting. getting to poke around and examine the organs is pretty neat. a .22 rifle to the back of the head dropped him in his place like a rock. we slit the throat immediatly to take advantage of the last few heartbeats to pump the blood out. Hang it skin and gut it and take it inside to cut it up. the whole process took about an hour, but more experienced people could probably do it in less. its a good feeling knowing that we provided ourselves with healthy "happy" meat. The goat was busily munching on sunflower seeds when his life was ended quickly and humanely. he was never scared or stressed with a trailer ride or a new place. the other goats watched casually and never blinked or stopped chewing their cud. they didn't have a clue.
I wouldn't even think to ask!! if I want to hire a buddy to come out and butcher my animals for me then it isn't anyones business. Any animals that are butchered with the intent that the meat is to be sold have to have them done in a usda inspected facility. the way around that is to have the animal sold before its butchered. The idea of some law preventing me from hiring it out for myself boggles my mind. get ready though I suppose , the coming years might be full of such regulatory garbage. it will be passed because it will be in the fine print and the only thing people will hear is "food safety initiative" and they will follow like little robots.
we had a great leg roast the other night. I stuck it in the crock pot for 10 hrs on low with a bunch of onions . (onion soup actually, the real kind not the campbells kind ). yum. just like grass fed beefimo. but I didn't have to slaughter a 900 lb critter! and I raised it myself on a small acreage.
hahaha . maybe I need to entice them to eat a bit more salt and pepper!
paul - he got nothing but graze/browse and a good loose mineral free choice. I don't feed them out, it just isn't economical and not nearly as healthy anyway. I also let them nurse as long as they want which is very important. I think someone would be real dissapointed in growth if they weaned at 8 weeks. They haven't made the 10lb a month gain minimum for breeding animals but I didn't have to feed them much either. just fed the moms alfalfa for a few months after kidding to help them milk up.
It was pretty lush at least in the beginningof the season. honeysuckle, creeping jenny, poison ivy, wild cherry all of which are considered invasive and nuisance vegetation. Along with bermuda grass pasture which they resorted to when most of the other stuff was gone (intentionally). I'm thankful that we get to move and get more land so that I don't have to cull some good animals just because I won't have the browse/graze next year. I don't mind having the future breeding stock on full feed for growing out well and getting to breeding size but I want the adult meat does to hack it mostly on their own along with their kids bound for the freezer. My goal is to breed economically viable browse/grass fed meat goats and dairy goats that can make respectable amounts of milk on forage alone. I want a herd that is not dependent on the feed store and funky big farm products.
Doelings bound for reproduction are fed alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa pellets and beet pulp are sacked feeds that most closely resemble (nutritionally) good browse and pasture so I can get a good idea of which ones will do well in an unlimited forage situation and which ones are potential culls because they just can't keep up without grain. Up until now I have only been able to simulate unlimited browse for the whole herd and only the meat does with kids and their freezer bound wethers have been involved in the browse only experiment. hopefully soon I will be able to put some of my efforts and ideas to the test on a bigger chunk of land more suitable for breeding animals and can develop a herd that I can truly pick and choose my culls based on their genetic match in comparison to my criteria.
My experience of venison in the inland pacific northwest is that it tastes pretty gamey. I've learned that this is rooted with the animals eating a lot of "buck brush" (snowberry) right around hunting season. So I figure that if the animal isn't eating buck brush, it's probably a lot less gamey.
The meat was not at all gamey so all the stuff they were munching on didn't affect that. I looked it up and snowberry is apparently absent (in the wild) from my area. I honestly have never had gamey venison it has always been mild. The goat is more beefy than venison for sure. according to my taste buds. . It just didn't have the same fat in between the muscle fibers that most store bought roast do and had a firmer texture. Much like the leaner grass fed beef. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SYAL
one nice thing about moving to arkansas is the hunting opportunities. And the folks down there are tolerant of hunters vacations. My husband calls on many of the automotive businesses down there and he was shocked when deer season rolled around and the car dealerships were closed when he showed up because all the employees were hunting! Just about everyone hunts down there so hopefully we will get more opportunities to. to hunt near us now you have to have a private lease, your own land, or take your chances with the hundreds of morons with guns in the woods on public land.