Lamb and Goat Marketing - Terminology

Hot House Lamb: Young lamb weighing from 25 to 50 pounds live.

Feeder Lamb: Lambs weighing from 60 to 90 pounds that go on feed to be finished for market.

Market Lamb: Finished lamb weighing from 90 to 150 pounds live. Currently, the most desirable lamb is one that will grade "choice", with a 2 or 3 yield grade. The yield grades go from 1 to 5 with 1 having the least fat cover and 5 having the most fat cover. Most wholesalers and retailers prefer leaner animals with good conformation.

Sheep: Cull ewes and rams that are no longer useful for production.

Kid Goats: Young goats (under 12 months) with no permanent incisor teeth.

Suckling Kid: Young milk fed kid weighing from ~15 to 50 pounds live.

Feeder Kid: Weaned kid weighing from ~30 to 70 pounds in lean body condition that probably needs to go on feed to be finished for market.

Market Kid: Weaned kid weighing from ~45 to 125 pounds live with enough finish to go directly to market. Selection grades range from 1 to 3 with 1 having the most muscling and 3 having the least muscling (see USDA Live Goat Classification Criteria in the Live & Carcass Evaluation Section). Body condition does have some influence on selection grade as well.

Yearling Goat: Approximately 12 to 24 months old with two permanent incisor teeth.

Adult Goats: Animals over 24 months with 4 or more permanent incisor teeth.

Halal Slaughter: Muslim consumers may require their meats to be "Halal" or "lawful" to their religious scriptures.  For many Muslims, this means it should be slaughtered using "zabiha" methods.  During a zabiha kill, the animal faces Mecca and the Takbir (a blessing invoking the name of Allah) is pronounced while the animal is killed without stunning by holding its head back and using a quick, single continuous cut across the throat just below the jawbone to sever the windpipe, esophagus, arteries and veins forward of the neck bone. With the increasing number of Muslims in the United States, this is becoming a very important market for goats and sheep. Muslims view any livestock that has consumed any pork (including lard or bloodmeal) products to be unclean.  Other feeds that might be categorized as "filth" may also lead to rejection of the animal.  A 40 day period prior to slaughter of "clean" feed will generally suffice. 

Kosher Slaughter: Named for Jewish "Kashruth", which are the dietary laws of the Jewish faith as set forth in the Old Testament and other Rabbinical rulings.  Kosher meat may come only from cloven-hoofed (split-hoofed) animals such as cows, sheep, and goats that graze and chew their cud. The animal is killed without stunning by a specially trained religious Orthodox Jew using a properly sharpened special knife with no hand guard, who subsequently inspects the carcass and organs for defects.  If the meat is to be certified as "glatt" Kosher, a stricter Kosher standard, the carcass from a small animal such as a sheep must have no lung adhesions. Animals that are exposed to conditions predisposing them to pneumonia are most likely to have lung adhesions. The sciatic nerve and various veins, fats and blood are prohibited for Kosher consumption and must be removed. In most cases, only the forequarter is marketed as Kosher and the hindquarter is sold through other marketing channels. 

*** Note: It is important to understand and be aware of the various ethnic and religious periods that are celebrated or worshipped during the year. Be aware that at times, meat consumption will increase OR decrease during these periods.  Check out our Holiday Calendar.