A Guide To Butchering Sheep

Butchering begins with properly cared for and healthy animals.

Any animal to be butchered should have its food taken away 36 hours prior to slaughtering.

After the animal is killed (see provided movie on shooting and sticking the sheep) it should be hung to bleed out and cleaned of any dirt and blood.

 Once hanging and bleed out. The sheep is skinned. Start this process by cutting around the hock of both back legs(make sure you do not cut the leg tendons). Then make a "V" cut up both inner legs.
 Then using just the tip of your knife, pull the hide away from the carcass and cut the connective tissue. Using your hands and fist to separate the hide is always better then the knife.
 Once the hide is pulled off the back side of the legs, look for the tail bone and cut it. This will expose the anus. Using your knife, make a wide circle cut around the anus, giving yourself a lot of room. Then pull the anus tube high enough to allow you to tie a string around it, preventing any fecal matter to escape.
After the anus is tied, continue skinning the hide off the body. 
 Here is a picture clearly showing the tied anus, cut tail bone and hide with connective tissue holding it to the carcass.
As you move down to sheep's body, you will encounter the front legs. Begin to remove the hide by running your knife up both front hocks, connecting the cut to the middle cut running down the sheep's belly. 
You can see how both front legs have been skinned out with the breast meat and hock meat visible. 
 The neck is a challenging area to skin out. I prefer to cut the hide in a straight line from crotch area to bottom of jaw. Then it is a battle to pull hide away from the neck as you cut the connective tissue.
 Here is a picture of a skinned out next with knife showing the exact spot the sheep had its slit. Notice that this cut is far away from the wind pipe.
 Before cutting off the head and finishing the skinning job, the wind pipe should be exposed and tied off. You don't want any meat becoming contaminated.
 The front leg hoofs are removed by bending the hoof towards the body, locating the position of the tendons. Then the tip of the knife is slid in between the joint, cutting the tendons on both sides of the joint. Take the now cut joint and snap it free over your thigh.
 There are many activities in life that should never be rushed and gutting an animal is one of them. Take your time! Start by placing the knife tip just in front of the crotch area. Place two fingers inside the cut opening and have your finger tips press out on the sheep's stomach lining. Then put just the tip of the knife blade inside the opening and working with your fingers, move down the body cavity. 
Here you see my none cutting hand getting set up to begin the gutting process. 
 As the body cavity is opened up, the stomach and intestines will "pop" out. Don't worry about this, but do use your hand to keep the bulging "guts" away from the knife tip. You will NEVER forget the moment when your knife tip punctures a full stomach!
 My finger is pointing out the connective muscle tissue found inside the sheep's body cavity that hold the guts to the rib cage. The tissue must be cut free.
 The guts will want to fall into your waiting gut bucket. Gravity is a wonderful aid.
 Before the job of gutting is finished, take extra care and time to tie of the bladder and other side of the anus tube. This is the bottom side to the tube you tied off after cutting the tail off.
 A great picture showing a full "shit tube" waiting to ruin a gutting job. This is why we tie off such areas.
After the gutting is complete, the carcass is sawed in half. Run you meat saw right down the spine of the animal. 
 Finished job and a happy meat eater.
Two sides of lamb placed in a body bag. They will be iced down and taken to a meat cooler to sit for four days at 38 degrees.