Essay Lamb: a Food, from Life to the Table

Submitted By amelia150
Words: 2141
Pages: 9

Lamb Lambs are like dogs. They are loyal and stupid. I guess lambs are like people too. The difference? We eat lambs and so does every other country in the world (Bagniewski). Lamb is a meat but also an animal that gives us many byproducts including wool. Sheep are fed, raised, and slaughtered then end up on our table. Lamb may not taste better depending if it’s on a factory feedlot or on a small hobby farm but I would like to think it is more humane and happier. When I was in Kindergarten my family received nine little lambs from my grandfather. At the time we lived on a small hobby farm and we were unprepared slightly for these strange new animals. Both my parents grew up on farms and had experiences with cattle and swine but didn’t know much about sheep. When we got those nine little lambs we made a pen in the garage. Yes, I did say in the garage. Over the next thirteen or so years there has never been a year without at least some sheep. We are no longer breeding in the winters like we used to but none the less every April, like clockwork, sheep come and every fall they leave to go get slaughtered. Some may ask why and my simple answer: to show. Showing sheep is not what you would expect. You prepare and work a lamb for four months to show it for ten minutes at a fair. You may then work it again for another month just to show it for another ten minutes at the state fair. Some though, like my family, show at multiple shows along the way and afterword. We work tirelessly with these animals and we fall in love. I do love lambs and I would like to think that a lamb that gets this much attention and gets treated and fed as a show lamb would at least taste better. That is not the case. Eating a lamb has a different significance after showing. I first had lamb about five years ago. I did not like it. It was bland and dry and the whole time all I could think was, “I am eating David.” Seriously, I was eating a sheep I raised myself for months. I gave it another chance though recently. Since I decided to purchase meat that didn’t used to be ‘my’ lamb I thought it may be a better. It wasn’t. Truth is I don’t like lamb. Not everyone agrees with me though. My sister Kathryn Bagniewski is one of them. She has been showing for over eight years and helping long before that. She said in our interview, “personally I like it. It can be very dry, but if prepared correctly it's one of my favorite meats. If not cooked rare, it can also taste really gamey. It must taste good, because it is eaten in every country of the world.”
Let’s get to the lifestyle of the lamb. Lambs eat too you know. Lambs that are going to slaughter on a feed lot are all fed together. They share a group trough and each lamb gets at least three percent of its body weight each day. The feed they are fed includes a type of grain mixed with crushed corn. They will also get unlimited hay/grass and water. On a side note, lambs that are to be show lambs are fed to keep a consistent weight. These lambs will still get three percent of their weight daily but they will be fed high protein show feed and steam rolled barley and have only some hay offered to them. (Bagniewski) Basically what Bagniewski is saying here is that these lambs get treated pretty decent, well on a small hobby farm at least. She mentions the feedlot slightly in here but she is mainly stating facts from her personal experience on a small hobby farm. You don’t necessarily feed lambs in a feedlot what you do on a small hobby farm. You can’t replace grain but you can supplement the grass with protein feed. You can also replace with sugar beet. These byproducts may be able to improve rumen efficiency because it is high in yeast fragments. (Trickett) The reason you can’t replace grain on a feedlot is because feeding an animal grain is what makes it get to slaughter weight fast. If they fed sheep only grass like the animal is naturally and historically used to then it would take a lot longer to get the