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Author Topic: Castrating Soay lambs.  (Read 8936 times)

Birchlea

  • Joined Jul 2016
  • East Sussex
Castrating Soay lambs.
« on: May 12, 2017, 09:51:55 pm »
We are expecting our first Soay lambs any day now and as newbies have a question regarding banding (elastration). We have read that it can be done after three weeks but another site suggests eight to fourteen weeks. Does anyone have any current advice please?
Also we have seen recommendations to ensure the lambs have sufficient tetanus antibodies for castration. How do we do this? Is there something we need to do or do any of you have any experience of this please?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of food!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 10:26:42 pm »
Band castration is supposed to be done within 7 days of birth.  The problem with Soay lambs is that their bits are so tiny that they will slip back through the ring, even if you can get them through in the first place.


So, you have a dilemma - do you extend the official time to three weeks (definitely not 8-14 weeks) by which time the testicles might be large enough and have dropped enough for banding, or do you go by the book and get a vet to do it later with a burdizzo or surgical removal.


I am firmly of the opinion that it is a major welfare issue to stick to the 7 day rule with Soay.  The bands were designed for strapping great commercial breeds, not for tiny, elfin Soay lambs.


I'm not going to state on an open forum our method, back when we kept Soay, and the choice has to be your own.
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Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 10:33:33 pm »
I believe it is 7 days to castrate with a band in the UK.

I also believe that the tetanus antibodies is refering to the mums having being given a vaccination whilst pregnant (such as heptavac) 4-6 weeks before lambing.

I say I believe because it's our first year lambing as well. I'm sure someone more experienced will be along soon.

Dans
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in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 02:16:41 pm »
We were shown a good technique for banding by an experienced shepherd and manage to band ' most' of our Soay boys by a week old.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 03:13:54 pm »
I believe the seven day rule applies as they never evaluated the technique on primitives or beyond seven days ... why would you if it can easily be done in seven for most breeds. As I can legally  band  here beyond seven days i have tried and tested the optimum time  - the earliest day I can band a Ouessant is ten days ( with a bit of a sweat!)  For preference we wait until around the  20 day mark the testicles are freely mobile and descend easily into the scrotum. The whole things is a lot more comfortable for the lamb and is tolerated extremely well. Beyond that age testicle size gets rather  too large for comfort.  Best of luck !
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 04:01:28 pm »
Tetanus is one of the diseases covered by vaccinations against the clostridial diseases.  Most folks give their ewes a Heptavac booster four weeks before lambing is due to begin (assuming the ewes have been on the Heptavac system through their lives).  Around here Ovivac P Plus is given to lambs when the effect of the antibodies they received via colostrum has begun to wane.  Probably worth consulting your vet to find out the recommendations for your area.  Elastration should be carried out within seven days of birth.  Not something to be messing about with - incorrectly done it can trap the testicles inside the lamb (a rig) and has the potential to cause great pain.  Again, I suggest consulting your vet.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 04:38:42 pm »
I asked my vet he told me you can do it up to four months  :o :(
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2017, 04:19:50 pm »
The Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) Act 1954 states rubber rings may be used for castration only in the first week of life and that once the lamb is three months of age castration must be carried out under anaesthetic by a vet.

nimbusllama

  • Joined Nov 2010
  • Near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 12:23:33 am »
I believe the seven day rule applies as they never evaluated the technique on primitives or beyond seven days ... why would you if it can easily be done in seven for most breeds. As I can legally  band  here beyond seven days i have tried and tested the optimum time  - the earliest day I can band a Ouessant is ten days ( with a bit of a sweat!)  For preference we wait until around the  20 day mark the testicles are freely mobile and descend easily into the scrotum. The whole things is a lot more comfortable for the lamb and is tolerated extremely well. Beyond that age testicle size gets rather  too large for comfort.  Best of luck !
I think kanisha lives in France!

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 07:48:17 am »
correct Nimbusllama I was sharing my experiences for the benefit of members of the forum who are having difficulty with their primitives. Of course I am not required to adhere to the 7 day rule here in france.   
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

Birchlea

  • Joined Jul 2016
  • East Sussex
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 08:46:27 pm »
Thanks all. As usual a variety of respondents have provided a variety of opinions! I have a day old ram lamb who's testicles are well formed so I guess the seven day rule will apply once he is established in this world and settled down. I will assess any others based upon their individual development.
Thanks again.
If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of food!

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 03:11:51 pm »
Reading this has made me a little worried!! I castrated our Ouessant boy at 7 days as was following the rules and didn't think about the problem with size. I thought I had the testicles, but am not very experienced with it so possibly haven't assessed it well. How would I know if it hasn't worked?

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 05:24:57 pm »
 Check, if you have left them behind they will still be growing, not to put to fine a point on it Wannabe  few of the Ouessants in the UK are selected on a size basis. Here in France I breed a purebred flock to the breed standard which means I only use rams who are under the breed height  max at maturity. This does lead to small ram lambs.
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2017, 08:13:49 am »
Ok thanks for your advice as always @kanisha Whatever I've captured with the band is going hard and I think getting smaller. Certainly not growing anyway. Can't see anything growing on the other side, so hopefully means it was a success? His horns are growing though - do wethers still grow horns?

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Castrating Soay lambs.
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2017, 08:52:48 am »
Yes, most wethers have horns.

The occasional male is scurred but the majority of male Soay have horns.

The horns on castrated boys are smaller than the horns on an entire animal.

Our wethers have horns that are just a bit bigger than the horns of the ewes.

 
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