The Math of Live Weight to Frozen Cuts in Lamb
Live to Hanging Weight
Sheep lose about half their weight going from live weight to hanging weight. Live weight is just what it sounds like- the weight of the animal “on the hoof.” Hanging weight is just after the animal has been butchered and it’s “hanging” on the rail. At that point, you subtract the hide, head, blood mass, the internal organs, and typically the leg below the front knee and hind hock joint.
The weight loss between live and hanging weight varies- partly by breed. But the biggest influencer is what the animal is “full of.” Pastured animals are full of more water and fiber, so will lose more weight during butchering than an animal that has been largely grain-fed. Animals which are transported for a day before slaughter will also yield higher percentages, because they’ve “emptied out” of most of their water and food. I believe a really excellent yield for a transported, feedlot lamb is around 58%. Pastured animals are lower, hovering around 50%.
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