Sheep Slaughter Course

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This weekend say another great course up at Balnagown Hunting.

Interestingly (ironically?) we saw more deer on the trip down to the hut than a fortnight prior during the deer course, including a close encounter with a stag jumping over the bonnet of the truck as we made our final approach.

A large group, but we were still able to make sure anyone who wanted to get hands on could do so. While it’s often the case that people dispatching their animals will use a firearm of some description, in order to educate those where it wasn’t an option, the sheep were dispatched with a knife.

The kill itself was quick – the animals were quickly moved from the pen to the ground and quickly dispatched by slitting their throats and breaking the neck. The death occurred within seconds, but of course, the nervous system continued to cause spasms and bleeding out for several minutes.


It is important to keep a high level of respect for the animals both during their life and in their death – they are ultimately fuelling life through their own – this is carried on through their death by ensuring we use as much meat and product from them as we can. A quick death not only ensures they don’t suffer, but additionally the quick death optimises the meat you get from the animal. A stressed animal can cause excessive adrenalin to pump through the system, creating a quicker PH change in the body after death and ultimately resulting in tougher, ‘gamer’ meat. This also applies to hunting – a wounded animal, or one that had been chased through the bush by a pack of dogs, is going to do through a massive amount of stress through their death. A quick, clean kill should always be the goal.

logoOnce the animals were dispatched, Richard went through the process of dressing the animals – one notable difference between a fallow deer and a sheep is the extra amount of fat on the sheep. You see this under the skin, around the kidneys and ultimately, transferred onto the knives.  The wool is another factor – requiring more knife maintenance to keep a razor’s edge to the blades.



ridgeline-logo-pantone-green-pms-348-940x510With the animals dressed, morning tea was had, and the two animals dressed were swapped for two that had been in the chiller overnight. The lads from Country Meat Processors the took over. Callum and Josh are two very skilled butchers who again made taking a side of an animal quick and easy. The seperate cuts were then demonstrated, with the final result being a pile of steaks ready for the BBQ. In addition, the ribs went on and after it was asked, the brain as well.

It was my first time eating brain. While the flavour was personally, really nondescript the texture was somewhere between uncooked tofu and slightly runny egg-whites. I am sure someone thinks it’s a delicacy, but I don’t really feel the need to try it again.

The real winner on the day was the Salami the lads brought down – smoked for four hours in it’s preparation, with minimal filler – the salami was just spicy enough and very, very quickly disappeared. Without a doubt, the next deer I put down it going to them for butchery and turning into those tasty salamis. A BBQ finished the session.


Another great course, where I am sure people walked away with a pile of new skills and understanding regarding the process.

The goal for us was to educate people about the slaughter and dressing of sheep – while I would always encourage people to have a go at also butchering their own animal, watch the guys cut up the animal again reminded me just how much more efficient (and how much more meat there is) the guys are in cutting the animal up into the primary and  further into steaks.

Certainly, their salami sealed the deal for me – I am keen to get my next one over there and made into small goods!

Again – thanks to Skellerup and Ridgeline for their support – this will be out last course for the year, but have a first aid course coming in January and Deer and Sheep Processing to be advised.

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