Because age makes such a difference in the taste and texture of sheep meat, there are different names for different ages. Carcasses are called "lamb" if the sheep was 14 months old or younger at butchering time. In general thinking, sheep could become meat any time after 3 months. They're considered ideal when they reach 50-70 lb. A 50-lb. lamb will dress out to about 30 lb. meat. Most growers aim for some golden moment when the lamb is as large as possible but still young—and not excessively fat. The meat is called "yearling mutton" if between 14 and 24 months at slaughter time. Mature sheep weigh up to 100 lb., about 60 percent of which will be edible. Sheep is called "mutton" if the animal was over 2 years when butchered.
Continue reading here: Killing a Sheep
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