Sometimes I think we must have been doing this too long. I remember when we first moved into the farm back in 1996, we were baffled by some of the maths our neighbours employed when discussing anything to do with sheep. Our late friend John used to report auction prices in terms of “lambs making five pounds over a pound a kilo”, meaning, for example, forty kilo lambs were selling for £45, or £5 more than the then benchmark price of £1 per kilo. He would often count sheep by the number of legs, rather than heads and we would often find ourselves lost in conversation over lambing percentages or his notions of profit and loss against the previous year’s prices rather than the current cash flow. We, of course, have gone our own way, communicating with our customers in clear language so as to avoid any misunderstandings. Except, that is, regarding the question of the number of legs on a lamb. Our customers are frequently and justifiably surprised when we come back to them about their cutting requirements, saying sorry, but you can’t have two legs whole and two halved, because a lamb only has two legs. It has legs at the back and shoulders at the front: two of each. We agree that this is slightly counter-intuitive, but there it is. Like five pounds over a pound a kilo.
So here’s a handy diagram to show where cuts of meat come from. We hope it helps next time you order one of our fantastic grass-fed organic lambs or hoggets, but at the end of the day it is the taste that counts, not the number of legs.
Finally, the answer to “How many legs does a lamb have?” is of course six. Two at the back and forelegs at the front.