How to Purchase
Custom-Processed Lamb — First Read #1 — A to F — the 6 areas for custom-processed lamb ordering.
Scroll down to #2, #3, #4, and #5 — information about our Ewe and Ram Breeding Stock — 4-H Project Lambs — and Ewe Breeding Services.
#1. 2023 Custom-Processed Lamb — from Our Farm to Your Table — information.
Our lambs are raised on grass & hay — plus they get a high quality textured Sheep Developer feed from the Farmers Co-Op in Frederick, MD. Lambs get no growth enhancing additives — just good quality grass, our own hay, grain, exercise and environment.
We believe lambs that are both grass-fed and grain-fed have an excellent flavor — a better flavor than just grass-fed lambs. Lambs grow faster and reach their genetic potential. People say “it’s the best lamb they ever had”.
We do not slaughter on our farm — Reason: we don’t have the proper wash-up facilities. We’ll recommend a farm to call — which has the proper on-farm facilities.
A. We sell either whole lambs or half lambs. Custom-processed 2022 lambs are sold from April, 2022 to January, 2023 — and are 6 to 12 months old. We sell no custom-processed lambs over 11 months of age. We do not sell individual cuts of lamb.
Lambs in the 130 to 145 lb. weight range will produce the best sized cuts for lamb chops, rib chops, rack of lamb, roasts, steaks, etc.). And customers get the best value for their dollar. Lambs in these weight ranges will be 8-11 months old — and since the lambs are Suffolk lambs — they are well muscled.
The lambs you see in most stores are around 110 lbs. live weight, when processed — and hopefully, still in the 8 to 11 month age range. Often lambs sold in grocery stores and at Costco are imported — not American Lamb.
Our lambs are custom-processed at Hemp’s Meats, 3740 Jefferson Pike, Jefferson, MD 21755. Hemp’s is a small town butcher shop that’s been in business since 1849. Hemp’s has an excellent retail store. Customer’s can purchase Hemp’s custom-processed beef that’s been raised on their own farm — or many people raise their own steers to be processed at Hemp’s Meats.
Click on the Hemp’s website for details: www.HempsMeats.com
We provide customers with our 2021 Lamb Information Form & Price List — and a 2021 Lamb Meat Order Form — which lists all the various cuts. Lambs are properly aged for 10 days, then custom-cut, portion controlled per your order — vacuum packed, labeled, and frozen — to be picked up at Hemp’s Meats by the customer.
B. 2022-2023 Custom-Processed Lamb Prices — lambs are sold by live weight.
- up to 80 lbs. — $3.40 lb. live weight — small, not much meat.
- 81 to 95 lbs. — $3.20 lb. live weight — weight range for Greek Easter and EIDS customers.
- 96 to 110 lbs. — $3.00 lb. live weight — good weight range for a BBQ lamb — Greek Easter — cut into cubes for a stew.
- 111 to 125 lbs. — $2.90 lb. live weight — good weight range for lambs cooked in a China Box – or a larger BBQ system, or individual cuts. Photos of a China Box charcoal cooker are on the website: BBQ Lamb.
- 126 lbs. and over — $2.70 lb. live weight — best weight range for individual cuts: larger steaks, rib and loin chops, bone-in roasts, boneless roasts, rack of lamb.
- Plus Hemp’s custom processing cost — a flat $115.00 — no matter the weight of the lamb — custom processed as steaks, rib chops, loin chops, roasts, etc. — any kind of cut you want. Larger lambs will be no more than 9-11 months old.
- To just kill, skin, clean — and customer picks-up the whole carcass, or two halves for a BBQ — Hemp’s charges $65.00.
- To kill, skin, clean, and cut-up the lamb carcass into 3 in. chunks for stew/soup and bagged — Hemp’s charges $80.00.
- Halal lambs — must be processed on the customer’s own property — or at a farm that provides on-farm slaughter.
C. Smaller 85 to 105 lb. live wt. lambs (44-54 lbs. hanging weight) are used for BBQing — and BBQing in a China Box. Go to the “Lamb BBQ Photos” tab for a few examples.
D. A few customers want their whole or half carcass fresh. The customer then does their own butchering and packaging.
We also have customers who want their lamb cut-up into 3 in. pieces and bagged — and they pick-up their lamb, fresh at Hemp’s Meats. One customer begins with the carcass, and grinds his own lamb burger — and mixes ground lamb with ground beef.
E. On-Farm Harvesting — Halal Lambs. We’ll try to help by referring customers to a farm that has the facilities for on-farm slaughter.
F. Sweet Italian Lamb Sausage and Lamb Burgers — we do not sell individual, packaged lamb cuts. We use the whole lamb, not just the trimmings. Sausage cost: $11.00 lb., in 1.0 lb. to 1.1 lb. packages with 4 links. Lamb burgers are 5 oz. patties — 4 patties per package = 20 oz. or 1¼ lbs. Cost: $10.00 lb. We can provide sausage and lamb burgers for food stands at a Fair and catered outings. Call: 301-371-4111.
#2. Ewe Lamb Breeding Stock – Purchase and Lease
We select no more than the top 20% to 25% of ewe lambs born each year as potential breeding stock. We begin with around 20-25 ewe lambs in the late Spring. As they grow during the summer and fall — we evaluate and begin to cull out those ewe lambs that don’t meet our standards for breeding stock. These lambs are then sold to our customers as custom-processed lamb.
Usually we end up with around 8-12 registered ewe lambs that we believe will become very good breeding stock. Some of these ewe lambs are loaned out (leased at no cost) to 4-H’ers who show at various County and State Fairs during the year. We only sell ewe lambs for breeding stock that we would keep as our own replacement breeding stock. Ewes are sold beginning in the summer months — ready for your County Fair and State Fair. All ewe and ram lambs are registered with the United Suffolk Sheep Association.
Click on website: United Suffolk Sheep Association
We do not breed our ewe lambs. Why? Our policy is to have our ewe lambs reach their genetic potential as a yearling. When a ewe lamb is bred at 8-9 months of age — to lamb when she is around 13-14 months old — the ewe’s pelvic area is not fully developed — the ewe is more likely to have lambing problems — and the ewe’s growth can be stunted.
#3. Ram Lamb Breeding Stock – Purchase and Lease
We only select the very best two to five ram lambs as future show and breeding stock. The ram lambs are kept as replacement stock, sold as breeding stock to other Suffolk producers — or leased out.
The best 2014 ram lamb was Vorac Ram Lamb 1446 RR/NN. As a late junior ram lamb, Ram Lamb 1446 was only shown at The Great Frederick Fair and was the Reserve Champion Suffolk Ram in the Suffolk breed show. Ram 1446 was shown as a yearling ram, but he was beat out by our Vorac 1538 RR/NN Ram Lamb as the Champion Suffolk Ram in 2015.
Each year we put two good ram lambs on the Pennsylvania Ram & Buck Goat Performance Test.
Two of our very good 2020 ram lambs (2001 RR/NN and 2018 RR/NN) were on test at the PA Livestock Evaluation Center. Ram 2001 was sold privately — and Ram 2018 had the best adjusted loin area of all Suffolk rams on test. Ram 2018 will be shown as a yearling and is for sale.
In 2021 we consigned ram lambs 2101 and 2103 on test. These two ram lambs should have the best adjusted loin measurements of the Suffolk Rams on test — and hopefully, the top two indexed Suffolk Rams. The 2021 Sale Catalog is on the PA Livestock Evaluation website.
PA Livestock Evaluation Center website. (highlight, right click “Open Link”) https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Animals/livestock-evaluation-center/Pages/Livestock-Evaluation-Center.aspx
When rams are available, they can be leased out.
#4. 2022 4-H Project Lambs (also called 4-H Club Lambs, or 4-H Market Lambs)
Interested 4-H’ers and their parents come out to visit beginning in mid-March to mid-April — to look over available wethers (castrated males). We’ll look over possible lambs, weigh the lambs, discuss your 4-H project goals, 4-H weigh-in dates, rate of gain goals, and County Fair dates. 4-H Project Lambs have been $300.00 to $400.00 for the past four years: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Most 4-H Project Lambs are $350.00. Call to arrange a date and time to visit and look at possible 4-H Project Lambs.
4-H Project Lambs are picked-up by early to mid-May — their weights match the 4-H’ers County Fair dates. Most counties have their weigh-in date from mid-May to early June — and have daily rate-of-gain requirements — and minimal Fair weights.
County Fairs begin in mid-July and run up to late September — so when lambs are purchased, initial weights should reflect the buyer’s County Fair dates, rate of gain requirements, and the final weight goal for their 4-H Project Lamb.
#5. 2023 Ewe Breeding Services
We provide breeding services for small flocks who do not have a ram. From 2015 to 2021 we bred 12 to 16 ewes for other shepherds each year. Our limit is breeding 16 ewes for other shepherds.
Go to the next tab: “Sires & Breeding Ewes” for information on our current rams.
Contact Us to Schedule 2023 Ewe Breeding Services — for your 2024 lambs:
- In the summer of 2023 — call to set-up breeding dates for your ewes — based on when you want your lambs to be born in early 2024.
- For 2024 lambs breeding costs are the same as past years: $70.00 per ewe, plus the same $1.00 day for hay, grain, worming if needed, any shots needed, hoof trimming, and minor vet care that we can take care of is included.
- Ewe must be in good shape — not too fat, or very thin, recently sheared, feet trimmed within 2 weeks of delivery, up-to-date on shots, wormed, no foot problems. If feet have not been trimmed, there will be a $10.00 charge per ewe.
- No Ring Worm, no skin infections that are contagious — and if an aged ewe — did she lamb the prior year.
- The plan is to begin breeding by August 25, 2023 — for late January and February 2024 lambs.
- We’ll be using 4 breeding rams for 2024 lambs. All our rams are RR/NN — genetics are Bill MacCauley, Tom Slack, and Russell Sheep Farm.
- Blood tests for Scrapie sent to the lab are extra. Do you know if your ewes are RR, QR, or QQ?
If interested: contact Peter and Kelly Vorac
Phone: 301-371-4111 — to discuss breeding your ewes.