Selling, Butchering and Processing Your Goats
By Jean Jajan
With winter coming on, many goat breeders thoughts turn to what to do with those excess young males or cull kids. We don’t want the expense of wintering too many non productive animals. There are many options open for the breeder.
The first and most common is to advertise that you have goats for sale. This can be done in the paper, through a sign on the bulletin board at the feed store or an ad on Craig’s list. Also depending on the area you live in you might try to post a sign in the ethnic grocery stores. This way you can target the Hispanic population or the middle eastern population depending on your area. One thing to remember though is that usually the middle eastern population wants a completely intact male only. This would mean only buck kids that have not been castrated or disbudded. They do not take females. There is a member on the Oregon coast who sells her wethers to the Hispanic population for $100 a piece for the weaned kids and they go like hot cakes.
When I sell an animal for slaughter I do not allow it to be dispatched on my place and I know many other sellers that don’t either. This is a personal choice as I don’t know what technique they use and would rather not be present. While I hope all the animals I sell for meat are dispatched with a properly executed gunshot, I know that many have their throat slit and are bled out.
The second way to sell off those meat kids is to take them to a sales barn. Many rural areas have a livestock sales barn and you can consign them there. When I did this I dropped them off and preferred not to remain. They tend not to handle the animals the way we do and I prefer not to see it.
The third option is becoming a member of a meat goat association. These associations help members market their goats. The association I was a member of had a livestock buyer come to a central point and weigh and buy the goats. There was a pool coordinator whom the member would call and commit their kids to the pool. When there were enough committed to fill a truck the sellers met at a location with a scale and the buyer weighed and paid for the kids then and loaded them up and took them to the slaughter house.
There are also livestock buyers that have a schedule of coming every few weeks to a public livestock scale and buying livestock. Check with the local feed stores as they might know of one that does this. I take a lot of my kids there as I know I only have to wait a few weeks and I call him to find out what he is paying.
My favorite way of getting rid of my excess kids though is to put them in my freezer. Why not put your great hormone free, antibiotic free, low fat, low cholesterol meat on your own table. If you are a hunter you might want to dispatch the goat yourself and dress it out like you would a deer. The preferred way to dispatch a goat is to use a gun with a 22 long rifle hollow point bullet. The proper way is to place the barrel of the gun right behind the poll or horn area and angle it toward the front of the lower jaw. This will instantly kill the animal. A goat should not be shot through the front of the head as the skull is very hard and dense in that area.
There are several web sites that show how to butcher an animal. One that I find informative is http://www.ozarkjewels.net/homebutchering.htm.
For those of you who, like me, do not hunt or feel that they can’t dispatch one of their own goats here are a few good options. One is a full service butcher who runs a slaughter and will do the kill and cut, wrap, and freeze. All you have to do is drop the goat off the night before or early morning of the butchering and pick up a nice box of frozen goat meat ready to drop in your freezer a few days later. Check with feed stores and custom butchers. In our area it runs about $120 per goat.
The second is to contact a mobile farm butcher. Ours has his ad in the paper several times a week and is booked weeks in advance. A mobile butcher will come to your farm and slaughter the animal there. He will skin and dress the animal and take it to his butchering facility or possibly one you choose in his refrigerated truck. He cleans up and hoses the area down afterwards and leaves almost no trace. My farm kill truck charges $60 per goat for the kill and takes it to any of the several custom butcher shops in the area. The cut and wrap costs about another $60.
How you have your goat cut up is all a matter of preference. I like meat in something, so I generally do not have chops or steaks cut. They tend to be rather small and a bit dry. I will have one or both hind legs done in a boneless rolled roast. I have the loins and tenderloins taken out from the spine and packaged. The ribs I have cut from the spine and packaged. The rest of the meat I have half of it ground and half of it cubed. I have the butcher crack the neck bones and shanks and package them for soup stock.
If I have an older buck slaughtered I have him packaged separately and the packages marked. Some tend to be a bit tougher and a little gamey so I want to know which is which as I use a more tenderizing method of cooking and more seasoning.
As for how to prepare goat, I don’t feel there are any specific goat recipes. I use my favorite recipes for stews and casseroles. I use the loin meat for fajitas or something that I need the most tender cuts for. Braising with its lower temperature, moisture and covering during cooking is the secret to cooking with goat.
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