Age/dentition

Categories of sheepmeat are determined by a combination of sex and animal age. Dentition is used to identify the age of an animal.

The categories below are based on new definitions effective from July 1, 2019. For more information about the changes to the definitions, please visit Sheep Producers Australia.

Lamb

means meat derived from an ovine animal that:

  • is under 12 months of age; or
  • does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.

Young Lamb

means a young female or castrate male ovine that:

  • has 0 permanent incisor teeth (in addition);
  • has no eruption of permanent upper molar teeth.

Hogget

means meat derived from:

  • a female or castrate male ovine animal that has one (1) but no more that two (2) permanent incisor teeth in wear; and
  • in males shows no evidence of secondary sexual characteristics.

Mutton

means meat derived from:

  • a female ovine animal that has at least one (1) permanent incisor tooth in wear; or
  • a castrated male ovine animal that:
    • has at least one (1) permanent incisor tooth in wear; and
    • shows no evidence of secondary sexual characteristics.

Ram

means meat derived from:

  • an entire male ovine animal that:
    • has at least one (1) permanent incisor tooth in wear; or
    • shows evidence of secondary sexual characteristics; or
  • a castrated male ovine animal that shows evidence of secondary sexual characteristics.

Ewe

means meat derived from a female ovine animal that:

  • has at least one (1) permanent incisor tooth in wear.

Wether

means meat derived from a castrate male ovine animal that:

  • has at least one (1) permanent incisor tooth in wear; and
  • shows no evidence of secondary sexual characteristics.

 
The eating quality of these different categories varies. Differences between lamb, hogget and mutton eating quality is usually due to the toughening of connective tissue, adverse flavours accumulating in fat as a result of age and the darkening of meat colour with age. MLA's Sheepmeat Eating Quality Guidelines provide more details on how age affects eating quality.