NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: castration dilemma  (Read 1595 times)

messyhoose

  • Joined Nov 2017
castration dilemma
« on: May 24, 2019, 09:21:53 am »
hiya, its been years since i had a male lamb to look after (got 5 ladies) but this year got given an abandoned ram lamb (north ronaldsay). They dont castrate early up here, and ronnies are so tiny they generally dont have anything to castrate for at least a month. Which goes against the "within 3 days of birth" policy- which i also believe is very early and predisposes to urolitholiasis problems.
I always want to do the humane thing, these are pets not farmed animals but i can not get him to a vet for an anaestetised castration (live on island- plane wont take lamb, boat 2 x a week takes 3 hours) so it is likely i will have to get a neighbouring farmer to do the open cut method they tend to use.
so- my question- im pretty sure it was on here someone offered me local anaestetic or something (maybe used for dehorning calves) when i asked about pain numbing agents in the past. Can anyone tell me how i can get hold of a lamb sized dose so i can make lamby as comfortable as possible when the deed is done? i know it sounds woosy ut i wouldnt expect to have surgery myself without pain relief and feel my pets deserve the same consideration. I can not leave him entire or in future he will be unable to socialise with the rest of the flock (incl the female lamb he is being reared with) Anyone help?

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shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2019, 10:43:50 am »
Couple of points _ rubber rings are within 7 days of birth and  do not increase the chances of urolithiasis , all castration methods increase the risk BUT only if the wether is fed the wrong type of cereal based feed .   The law says that surgical castration of a lamb of any age MUST only be done by a VET .  I would suggest  BURDIZZO as a suitable alternative under 3months of age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 12:30:12 pm »
What's woosy about it?  It's humane treatment of your lamb.


All the primitive breeds, especially Soay and North Ronaldsays, are near impossible to ring in the first week of life, and problems with getting a testicle caught in the ring, or both slipping back through the ring to give a rig are frequent.  So even here on the mainland, you have to choose your options.  The ruling was made for big sturdy commercial sheep, for whom the ring is the right size, not for little chaps with tiny testicles.  We no longer castrate our males as by the time they are big enough, they are impossible to catch!
With Soay, we would find that about 3 weeks was the right time to ring them, and I would argue that in Court if it came to it.  It did not cause them pain, unless it was done wrong, in which case the scissors on a swiss army knife can remove the ring promptly, to try another day.  The same thing can occur in a younger lamb.  Medics used to believe that human babies when born prematurely didn't feel pain, so some terrible things were done to them without anaesthetic, in that belief.  The age of the lamb makes no difference to any pain experienced.  I think maybe the 7 days ruling (which is more of a suggestion I think) is because by then the testicles of the average commercial lamb are too big to take either the ring or the applicator.


I'm sorry that I can't help about pain killers for the wee chap if you get someone to do an open castration for you - I would never go that way because of infection as well as pain.  I struggle with  the idea of a burdizzo too, and I think they need whoppers to get a good grip.  It makes my knees go weak.  All in all I think the normal ring, accurately applied, at three weeks could be your best choice - the rules have to be adapted by good sense and your special circumstances on a remote island.






« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 12:33:45 pm by Fleecewife »
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 01:20:42 pm »
Burdizzo must be applied by vet at over one month, iirc.

If there’s someone on the island very experienced with burdizzos and has a sheep-sized set, it’s very effective and doesn’t seem to hurt at all.  You probably want him to be about a month old, I’d think.  But I cannot emphasise enough that the operator needs to be experienced.  (Experience with cattle will be fine.)

Personally in your circs I would use the elastrator, with anaesthetic first if you can get it, as he’s your pet.  For all the reasons FW gives.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

messyhoose

  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 07:12:13 pm »
i know, i know. i agree with the law but in the real world many many folk are doing things their own way. It would cost a lot to get a vet over - but i have already asked them to call me if they are due here for another reason (eg cattle blood testing seems to be fairly regular) so they will see to lamby while here, that is my prefered route. But i am nothing if not a planner and i need a contingency plan if they do not come in the month- which locals will be castrating their own sheep (open method- i was a lambing assistant donkeys years ago on a welsh mountain farm and they did testicles AND tails at the same time by this method- tbh the lambs seemed less affected than the newly ringed lambs id seen at my previous job.
regardless of open, burdizzo or being slowely squeezed by a ring id like to offer my lamb some relief from the initial pain of any of these methods. Maybe ill see if my dentist will give me some of that magic paste he put on my gums prior to injecting anaestetic for an extraction- i didnt feel a thing and was AMAZED!
thanks for help anyhoo.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 07:36:44 pm »
As above, surgical castration by anyone other than a vet is illegal and could land you in a lot of trouble especially when you’re discussing doing it on an open forum. Again pain relief is a prescription only drug so must come from your vet. Human local anaesthetics are not licensed for sheep so your dentist would be breaking the law and so would you. All in all I think you either wait for the vet to come for another farmer and get them to surgically castrate, or you take it on the boat to the vet if you cannot wait. Or you put it in the freezer before autumn.


messyhoose

  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2019, 08:55:01 am »
i know you are only trying to be helpful but i really wish i lived in your world Twizzle :/

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2019, 09:58:49 am »
 :-\  Nobody should be advising you to go against the law though it’s there for a reason and farmers surgically castrating lambs themselves would compromise welfare.

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2019, 11:30:52 am »
:-\  Nobody should be advising you to go against the law though it’s there for a reason and farmers surgically castrating lambs themselves would compromise welfare.

I am aware of the law but...
Out of interest...how does it compromise welfare?  If done exactly the same as a vet does it using anaesthetic, painkillers and antibiotics?

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2019, 01:35:49 pm »
Personally what I or any one else do  in relation to the law is my / their decision , but this is a public forum and I feel that  it was necessary  to point out the  pieces of the welfare code that are law ,  which is there for every one to read , what any one does with this information is up to them .    There is a device called NUMNUTS  which delivers anesthetic  and puts on a rubber ring  available in Austrailia but would still be against the law here , but given time ??

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2019, 01:53:19 pm »
:-\  Nobody should be advising you to go against the law though it’s there for a reason and farmers surgically castrating lambs themselves would compromise welfare.

I am aware of the law but...
Out of interest...how does it compromise welfare?  If done exactly the same as a vet does it using anaesthetic, painkillers and antibiotics?

When it goes right, it won’t, of course.  It’s when it goes wrong. In theory the vet can provide a more comprehensive repertoire of fixes if it starts bleeding out, or whatever.

But frankly, any farmer who’s castrated hundreds of tup lambs a year this way for his or her whole working life has way more actual experience than any vet, so is probably going to get fewer problems than some vets might. And have seen the things that do go wrong more times, too.

The law is there to stop inexperienced people doing things that cause animals unnecessary suffering.  Farmers are used to making decisions which teeter on the thin line between the law and the practical.  And island farmers (with sheep who are, sadly, almost worthless ::)) even more so, I’m guessing ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2019, 08:49:21 pm »

[/quote]


But frankly, any farmer who’s castrated hundreds of tup lambs a year this way for his or her whole working life has way more actual experience than any vet, so is probably going to get fewer problems than some vets might. And have seen the things that do go wrong more times, too.
[/quote]

You should get yourself a job in one of the vet schools

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2019, 09:28:52 pm »

But frankly, any farmer who’s castrated hundreds of tup lambs a year this way for his or her whole working life has way more actual experience than any vet, so is probably going to get fewer problems than some vets might. And have seen the things that do go wrong more times, too.

You should get yourself a job in one of the vet schools

Not sure what you’re saying, @Me
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2019, 09:32:34 pm »
It was in response to your post stating that farmers castrating a few lambs is greater experience than "any vet"

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castration dilemma
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2019, 11:41:38 pm »
It was in response to your post stating that farmers castrating a few lambs is greater experience than "any vet"

Lol, you’re misinterpreting me and you know you are. :stir:

It’s a fact that no modern, young vet in the UK will have castrated as many lambs as a sixty-year old farmer with a flock of hundreds of ewes that’s been doing it that way since he were a lad.  Old farmer does hundreds every year, has done probably 10,000 or more over his working life, and most vets these days don’t get asked to castrate lambs very often. Whether grizzled old vets like yourself have done literally thousands over a working career, I wouldn’t know, but with current legislation, vets entering practise now won’t be getting called upon to do it much, will they.

I made the point clearly, I think, that the vet would have been trained to do it, and to do all the things he or she might need to do if things went wrong.


Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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