Goats and lambs in demand for Ramadan

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

goat kids 5Mid-June marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslins, and goat and lamb top the list of meats preferred for evening meals. “But, most goat and sheep producers in Arkansas are not familiar with the customs associated with Ramadan and as a result many miss out on this important market,” said Dr. David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

Ramadan is a month-long period of fasting and spiritual renewal, he said. Muslims do not eat or drink during the day, but they eat in the evening after sunset. Customarily, families get together in the evening to break their fast with traditional foods, usually featuring lamb or kid. These evening get-togethers have evolved into large social events in some places.

“Producers should offer weaned lambs or kids between 60 and 80 pounds with all of their milk teeth. Animals should have no blemishes, including cuts, lameness or torn ears,” said Dr. Fernandez. Some markets will purchase castrated males if the castration is completely healed or if it was performed with a burdizzo. Perforation of the ear for a federal scrapie tag is becoming more widely accepted as “unblemished,” he added.

Immediately after Ramadan is Eid al-Fitr. This Muslim celebration marks The Breaking of the Fast, a three-day celebratory period following Ramadan. Families get together to eat and celebrate. Large feasts may be held in area mosques or community centers.

“Once again, lamb or kid is often featured as the main course,” said Dr. Fernandez. Lambs and kids for Eid al-Fitr will be similar to those for Ramadan.”

Because the Muslim calendar operates on a lunar cycle rather than the Gregorian calendar, with which most of us are familiar, the holy days move from year to year. Producers can get information about dates and the specific needs of their local Muslim communities from Islamic Centers in Pine Bluff, (870) 536-8413; Little Rock, (501) 565-4930; Jonesboro, (870) 275-5535; and Fayetteville, (479) 442-4155.

The lamb and kid market in San Angelo, Texas, was down from the first week of June. Medium and Large 2 new crop lambs weighing 60 to 90 pounds sold for $170 to $182 per hundred pounds, while Selection 2, 60 to 80 pound goat kids sold for $224 to $254 per hundred pounds. All of the lambs sold June 10 were sold to nontraditional markets.

For more information on this or other livestock-related topics, contact Dr. David Fernandez at (870) 575-7214 or fernandezd@uapb.edu.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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