April 3

The Corrected Low-down on Lamb Feeding

1  comments

I stand corrected.

Many thanks to readers Anne Mark and Esther Hoff for notifying me of an error in my On The Lamb post of a few days ago. I had written that lamb was a healthier meat because it wasn’t lot fed. Both ladies wrote in to correct me, noting that they had first-hand knowledge of large, awful lamb feed lots in Colorado.

Mea cupla! Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

I remembered having been told in some distant time that lamb was never lot fed, but obviously either I remembered wrong or I was told wrong. Perhaps the factoid I recalled pertained to only a specific type of lamb–say New Zealand lamb or something. In any event, that deficiency in my knowledge base has now been remedied, thanks to help from my ever-vigilant readership, and with this post, the blog corrected.

So, lovers of lamb chops, here’s the low-down on the subject: just as with beef, pork, or poultry, to be sure you’re getting the good stuff, ask for or look for the words “natural” or “organic” to be sure you’re not getting a bunch of hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics and the words “pasture fed” to be sure you’re not getting lot fed animals.

If such products aren’t available at your local grocer or farmers’ market, here’s one online small family ranch source (with which we have no affiliation, whatsoever) that ships direct to individual consumers. I discovered the Sexton Ranches Stone Valley Natural Lamb and Beef website by googling ‘natural lamb.’ There are many others, I’m sure, and I make no representations about their product or their service, having never bought lamb from them. Still, it’s heartening to see the photos on the site, not only of their products, but of the ranching couple themselves and their precious little children.

And the all-important words were emblazoned on their website: natural, pasture fed, no hormones or antibiotics. Looks to me like a place where one could get tasty, healthy, meat from contented animals.


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  1. As a New Zealander we were bought up on sheepmeat! My father was always keen on brain,liver,kidneys,toungue,sweetbreads(thymus glands)> I still enjoy offal meats when they are available. In new Zealand a sheep is a lamb till 12mths, a hogget until it is 2yrs or is used for breeding. Any sheep over that age is regarded as mutton. I don’t know of any establishments in NZ that lot feed sheep, so you would be pretty safe assuming that NZ lamb is 100% grass fed. I don’t think there is any beef fed in feed lots either although some farmers are experimenting in the dairy industry with fedlot technology for dairy but it is extremely rare.
    Whether I’m roasting a leg of lamb or mutton or any other cut for that matter, I still do what my father did and thats to pour about a can of flat dark style beer over the roast, this is especially good if you are cooking mutton that tends to be strong flavoured. The beer adds another dimension altogether.
    Cheers; John

    COMMENT from MD Eades: Yummy! I’m going to try the beer bath the next time I roast a leg of lamb. And here’s a hip-hip-hurrah! to the sheep and cattle ranchers of NZ for eschewing lot feeding–long may they prosper and may their American cousins all get on board with the program soon!

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