Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Matter of Economy

It costs $85.00 to turn a lamb into lambchops.

That’s just the processing fee. There are other incidental costs: the delivery AND pick-up trip, the packaging and labeling. Then, there is the feed bill…do you have any idea how much a lamb will eat?

In order to make money in this venture, the lambs have to grow well and grow large. Generally, the lambs weigh over one hundred pounds when we take them to the butcher at six months of age. This rapid growth is not forced or in any way unnatural, it is just expected of the healthy, hearty breed. Never forget...this is a money-making venture (hopefully) and these animals are NOT pets.

There were a couple lambs that were just not growing out well. Unfortunately, this always happens. The late lamb, the bottle lamb, the odd and random small at birth lamb, all seem to lag behind the others. Most of the time, they are more susceptible to parasites and do not thrive. No matter how much effort might be put into them, they never develop like the others. Thankfully, there are far less of the “un-thrifty” ones than there used to be. We have become good shepherds.

Rather than feed the “loser lambs” out for the duration and HOPE that they someday grew bigger and we could finally get something out of them, we took a little trip to the stockyard. While this generally isn’t our first choice, because prices are less than stellar, this time it seemed the best option.

So, it was a very pleasant surprise when Friday’s mail included the stockyard check for far more than either of us predicted. What could have been an ongoing and costly frustration turned into a profitable venture.

An incoming check is always better than an outgoing one!

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