Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Castrating Shetlands!  (Read 3976 times)

Lorenza

  • Joined Feb 2016
Castrating Shetlands!
« on: May 15, 2017, 10:37:16 am »
Hi all,

I am having difficulty castrating my shetland ram lambs.

One of then I noticed just after birth had a testicle that was right up and I couldnt get it down. I then tried a week later and it was still in the same place.

With my other ram lamb, I just couldnt get the testicles to stay inside the band or get the band high enough to grip them both!

Any suggestions??

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 06:30:02 pm »
Are you experienced at castrating other types of sheep, or new to it all?

Shetlands and other small primitives are more tricky, I'm afraid.  And sometimes the testicles aren't large enough to capture by seven days, so one has to take a bit of license.  I can usually get almost all of mine by day 7 now, but the occasional one needs a wee bit longer. 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 06:42:12 pm »
Also, they suck 'em up when you pick the lamb up.  If you can't get the band on straight away, then don't bother keeping on trying.  Leave the lamb for a few more days.   It's definitely a knack.  Always have something like a Swiss Army knife with scissors in your pocket, so you can remove a misplaced band straight away.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Lorenza

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 02:23:08 pm »
Hi,

Thanks for the replies. Years and years ago I was shown how to castrate other crossbred lambs and had a go but it has been a while since doing any.

I shall give it another go on a nice day this week and hope for some better luck. Failing that, what are my options? Are vets able to do anything??

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 04:26:39 pm »
Our sheep-keeping neighbour showed us early on - he was doing hundreds every year, and had been doing so since he was 8.  He still struggled a bit with the tiny bits on our breeds.  I think 'having a go' without quite knowing what you're doing is not good for welfare. 
There are also youtube clips, but some aren't very good.  I think having a practical demo then trying with supervision is the best way.  That way you learn the right way to hold the applicators, and how to do the flip to get the band off.  Also the best way to pick the lamb up, hold him in a good position, and get the band on all before he's noticed.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 05:37:25 pm »
If there aren't any other sheepkeepers nearby who can give you a helping hand, you could take the boy lambs to the vet, and get the vet to help you.  In either case, with someone experienced to show you, you'll soon get the hang of it.

If all else fails, then yes the vet can castrate using a knife, or some will use bloodless castrators.  But that will cost a bit more, and the knife leaves an open wound and hence risk of flystrike.  So it's best if you can get them ringed - but be aware, if you're not sure of your technique, it's all too easy to leave a bit of testicle in there.  That's not only much more uncomfortable for the lamb at the time, but also leaves you with male rigs, who may father lambs when you weren't expecting it.
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 10:29:44 pm »
OK, this may not be the textbook answer, but we found with our primitive boys, the easiest way was to tie some strong, thin string around where you want the band to go first. This holds the testicles in position so they can't disappear from whence they came when you come to put the ring on. You can then check that the band is in place ok, before cutting the string off.


"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Red Merle

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2017, 11:41:24 am »
Remember that the law is they cannot be done with rings over 7 days of age. If you can't get them under 7 days then get you will have to use either bloodless castration up to 3 months or get a vet to do it surgically. 

Ask your vet to train you or go on a lambing course or smallholder course that teaches this. 

Davea321

  • Joined Oct 2012
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 11:54:14 am »
I have Shetlands and find it impossible to get a band on. Mine are left and go for slaughter as hoggett at 16 months. They grow much bigger and faster if left intact. If you need to castrate I would suggest getting the vet to do it surgically once weaned. Its not that expensive

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 12:32:14 pm »
They grow much bigger and faster if left intact.

That's interesting, since we found exactly the same when we had Shetland / Manx crosses.

However, this year we had three Zwartbles ewes with twin male lambs. As an experiment, we ringed one lamb from each ewe, and have seen no difference in growth rate between them.

I wonder why primitives should be different?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

NethertonSH

  • Joined May 2015
    • Netherton Smallholding
Re: Castrating Shetlands!
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 03:39:39 pm »
I was down at my Shetlands last night and for a second I thought one of last years tup lambs that I hadn't castrated had got in with the ewes when in fact it was the one tup lamb from this year I decided not to band as he just had something about him I liked.  It was almost as big as the ewes, so yes they definitely grow faster if they're not castrated.

 

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