Freezer Camp for Five Goats

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Wednesday, March 25, 2015 12:31 AM

Well, I finally did it.  I finally sent some home raised goats to Freezer Camp.  I've known that I would do so at some point, but I've always been able to sell every kid I've had in the past.  But I figured it was about time, after raising goats for a number of years, to finally reap the harvest so to speak.  So to be honest, I didn't try to hard to sell the kids from last year.

An the final tally is:
  • Meat cuts - 62.27 lbs,
  • Offal - 5.5 lbs,
  • Stock bones/meat - 8.375 lbs,
  • 5 skulls and 5 hides. 

 This is the first time I've processed goats for meat that I've raised myself.   Here are a few things I've learned from the experience: 

1) It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be emotionally, not to imply that it was easy.  Most likely the fact that the kids had grown quite big, my barnyard was over crowded, and they were constantly causing a ruckus. (i.e. They had worn out their welcome) all helped make it a lot easier.  In addition, I knew this was to be their fate, so I was mentally and emotionally prepared.  Although I will miss Gansbaai as he was quite handsome and sweet, I definitely do NOT miss the noise and a couple kids constantly jumping the barnyard fence.  Oh hell no!!!  But now?  All quiet on the western front... 

2)  I will definitely use  Nature's Bounty Meats in Vacaville again.  The owner was very nice, the service was quick and easy, and the price was amazingly affordable.  Because they are a USDA/CDFA certified and inspected facility, I wasn't worried about having the goats processed there.  The facility was extremely clean and the operation was very well managed.  Added bonus - After dropping the goats off, I was able to go to a local feed store in Vacaville and load up my trailer with 13 bales of feed hay.  That made for a very productive day!

3) Handling the butchery and packaging of primal cuts at home turned out to be a lot more work than anticipated.  Perhaps this was because I started out doing a lot of trimming and breaking pieces down.  After the first goat, I said screw it and just worked on getting the pieces in the freezer.  Basically, it took about an hour for each goat.  That means that it basically took me three evenings to finish the job, and I've been exhausted every night of the ordeal.  On the other hand, it would have been much faster with an extra set of hands.  But alas, there are no extra hands on my horizon.  When I do this again I will most likely use Gates Ranch Meats to handle the cut and wrap.  They are only about a 5 minute drive from the processing facility so it's super convenient.  Joe did a great job for me on a cow last year, so I will be happy to support his business again.  Love working with local independent small businesses.  I know this is an added expense that I really can't afford right now.  But did I mention I am exhausted?  Um, yeah...  Time is money, so to speak.

4)  I didn't assess my freezer situation in advance.  Not a smart move when bringing home a large amount of precious perishable product.  (Say that three times fast.)  Special thanks to Tina​ for lending me some extra space in her freezer. I need to re-arrange a few things in mine, make some tallow with some leaf fat I have frozen, harvest the honey frames taking up an entire shelf, etc.

I could probably add a few more lessons if I took the time to sit here and think about it.  But it's rather late (12:30 AM) and I have a plane to catch in the morning (not joking) so I best to tuck in for the night.

Ni Night!