Whenever we are selecting animals to go off to the abattoir, we want to make sure that they are in top condition. One way we ensure quality meat produce is to actually weigh our animals so that we can collect longitudinal data as they grow. We can also use this information to make breeding decisions with an evidence base.
Up until recently, we had been weighing animals by hand, holding them onto the scales. But recently we invested (although I use that term lightly as it’s still an old rusty farm crate) in a cradle that allows us to weigh the animals without having to handle them.
The system is ingenious. The sheep, lambs and goats simply walk down the race and into the crate. Their weight causes the back to close, stopping the next in line. We hook up the battery powered scales to the base, use our ‘wand’ to read the electronic tag number, then record the weight into our data software. The animal is relaxed the whole time. When we’re ready to move on, we open up the front of the crate, and off it goes.
Last weekend we weighed 247 ewes, lambs and goats all before lunch, and all without having to grab and lift any of them! Not only does this mean that we can select the best quality meat, the animals do not experience stress throughout the process. We can also look closely at every animal, check them carefully, and see whether they need some extra special attention. Just another way we ensure our Ryeland Lamb and Boer Goat is happy, healthy and humane.