Friday, March 20, 2015

Increased Demand at Easter

The demand for kid (goat) and especially lamb increases prior to the Easter holidays. Easter is a Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion.

Hothouse lamb in NYC
Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches use different calendars (Gregorian vs. Julian) to determine the date of Easter. Sometimes, the two Easters fall on the same day. Sometimes, they are more than a month apart.  This year, Roman (Western) Easter and Greek (Eastern Orthodox) Easter are only one week apart. Roman Easter is on April 5, while Greek Easter is on April 12.

The demand for kid and lamb is usually stronger for Eastern Orthodox Easter. Eastern Orthodox Christians come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Romanian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian, Ethiopian, Syrian, and American.

The type of lamb or kid preferred for the Easter holiday is usually a "hothouse" lamb or kid.  Hothouse lambs are young, milk-fed lambs weighing between 30 and 50 lbs (live). Certain breeds are more suitable to be sold as hothouse lambs, including Southdown, Dorset, Dorper, Cheviot, etc. Large frame breeds and hair sheep aren't as suitable for the Easter hothouse market, as they don't have as much fleshing at the light weights at which they'd be sold.

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