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Author Topic: When do you tag and castrate?  (Read 1688 times)

Jon Feather

  • Joined Jun 2015
  • South West Cumbria
When do you tag and castrate?
« on: April 15, 2018, 05:48:10 pm »
We are lambing for the 3rd time and I still don't have a good plan.  With 26 shetlands, 12 of which will lamb this year, and no sheep dog, I was wondering when would be the ideal time to tag the lambs and tag and castrate the ram lambs.  SWMBO thinks the day they are born because we can catch them easily, but that seems a bit harsh to me.

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fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 05:56:22 pm »
I started tagging and castrating my hebrideans on the day of birth and I think it's great. They don't seem as upset by tagging and ringing on the first day as I've seen later in the week (maybe the balls are bigger?!) and it makes it much easier to keep track of pedigrees and also what sheep have lambed as if they don't have tags in, they're fresh!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 09:06:06 pm »
I ring all of my lambs within 24hours if possible. Tag before they go out normally 2-4 days old. I like to record my ewe/lamb performance so tagging at birth is necessary and also done then before the fly season. As long as they are licked dry, bonded with Mum and had a first feed you’re good to crack on.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 09:10:07 pm by twizzel »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 10:15:21 pm »
Yup, can't catch pure Shetland lambs (or Manx) after about 36 hours old. :/. So if the balls are ready, that's when I do them.  I do prefer not to do it within the first 24 hours, but sometimes you just have to.  As twiz says, they must be bonded, dry and fed, and I prefer to do it when the weather is fine, not too close to dusk in case it's one of those takes a little longer to recover. 

If the balls aren't ready, you have to have a way of catching them later.  A pen of some sort that you can drive the family group into - usually works reasonably well up to about day 5 or 6.  After that, it's a whole flock gather  ::)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 07:17:43 am »
When we had Manx / Shetland crosses, we found that by 3 days old, their balls hadn't reliably dropped yet, but by 3.5 days old, they were too fast to catch!

We then switched to Zwartbles, which whilst still too quick to catch, don't usually think to run away, because their mum's don't think to teach them!

The big disadvantage of Zs is that it's hard to mark a number on the lambs and ewes, so for a while we colour coded tails or heads instead.



Unfortunately now, we've got more ewes than we have colours, so we've had to think of a new plan!

So, the new plan is to put just the single visual tag in # before turn-out at 2 days old, and to castrate at the same time (though obviously we wouldn't turn out castrated lambs right away). We also plan to use the left over tags from last year for the wethers, but with their Zwartbles Association numbers filed off. That way, because we change the visual tag colour yearly, we'll be able to tell at a glance which ones have been castrated.

# Can anybody tell me if this is actually allowed?  It makes logical sense in that it halves the chance of torn ears or lambs with their heads caught in the creep feeder, but I do wonder if I'd get my wrists slapped if we were given a spot inspection?
Experience is what you get just after you needed it.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 07:33:09 am »
Umbilical cord should be dry before lamb is strong enough for Ringing.  This could be longer than 24 hrs.
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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 10:18:18 am »
If you are ringing the ram lambs to castrate them this must be done by seven days old.  I eartag lambs a few days before they go to market or at the end of the year of birth if we're keeping them for breeding or hogget lamb for the freezer.  Don't see the point in spending money on something that'll be torn off if they put their heads through the fence to eat the hedge.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 12:26:54 pm »
what ever suits your system , just done 3pairs and single outside in the rain  born this morning , the single wasn't even standing yet  .  They don't react in any way to ringing   ,the shed lambs are done at 24-48hrs and many react to ringing .   Outside lambs older than 12hrs are very difficult to catch , so I have to ring when I find them
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 05:54:27 pm by shep53 »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2018, 01:07:36 pm »
One year we had a batch of lambs got watery mouth after ringing at 18-24 hours, so I switched to ringing on the second day when the lambs are that little more robust. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 02:44:49 pm »
Womble for the Z's I use a single blank white tag that I write the sire and dam on with a marker pen.  I cut this out when I put the "proper" tags in and use the same hole.  I tag the girls in the left ear and the boys in the right so I can tell who is who.  I have used up previous seasons tags on wethers as they are only going for slaughter anyway and so incorrect society details do not matter.  Having discovered that my tag manufacturer will do the exact number of tags I require I no longer have left over tags :)

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 04:55:31 pm »
I never castrate, but I ring tails, mark up the lambs, worm the ewes etc. around 11am each day, if the lambs are standing, dry and drinking I do them, otherwise they get left till the next day.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 05:47:00 pm »
Don't see the point in spending money on something that'll be torn off if they put their heads through the fence to eat the hedge.

True.... except we do need to know reliably who gave birth to who, for the pedigree records, as much as for general flock management, and if marker spray isn't an option, that really only leaves some form of tag?

Womble for the Z's I use a single blank white tag that I write the sire and dam on with a marker pen.  I cut this out when I put the "proper" tags in and use the same hole. 

Yes, I suppose temporary tags are another option. However, if I'm going to put in a temporary tag, I figured why not just make it one of the permanent ones, and be done with it? The Shearwell SET tags we use are small enough I hope. Anyway, I'll try it for this year and report back...
Experience is what you get just after you needed it.

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2018, 12:16:21 am »
if they are strong and good after birth - do it as soon as pos

VAnderson4

  • Joined May 2015
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 12:34:06 pm »
Womble for the Z's I use a single blank white tag that I write the sire and dam on with a marker pen.

Where do you buy the plain tags from Buttermilk? I have been looking for something similar to this

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: When do you tag and castrate?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 12:59:31 pm »
True.... except we do need to know reliably who gave birth to who, for the pedigree records, as much as for general flock management, and if marker spray isn't an option, that really only leaves some form of tag?
Before turnout I mark the lambs (letter for ewe lambs, number for ram lambs) and mark the ewes with the same details and use a notebook to record the lambs' details and the ewe's tag numbers.  At the pre-tupping check I mark the ewes fleeces with different colours depending on which ram they're going to.  All gets transferred to a card index for fast referral.

 

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