Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Lamb castration  (Read 4791 times)

Dianabooth

  • Joined Mar 2014
Lamb castration
« on: May 19, 2014, 08:57:27 am »
As this is our 1st time lambing, my neighbour, who has bred Shropshires for several years, kindly offered to help 'band' the ram lambs for us.  Unfortunately he struggled to do this as most of our lambs are Shropshire x Black Welsh or pure Black Welsh & the testicles were so small so couldn't get the band on..  We're now out of the 7 day safe period for 'banding' ram lambs so my question is can a vet castrate them? Is it safe?  What age should it be done?   and does anyone know roughly how much it costs?

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 02:59:43 pm »
Your vet (or other suitably experienced person) can do it using a Burdizzo, although they might need to be older in order to use that (but less than 3 months of age).  If older than 3 months then it has to be done by a vet under anaesthetic.
As for prices, you'd need to ask your own vet.
I have BWMs and I've struggled to do them, but I wouldnt say i've had a huge amount of practice though. My neighbour farmer didn't seem to have too much trouble when I asked him to help me.  I think there are others on here who have even smaller breeds and have more trouble.  I don't bother castrating any more; is it practical for you to keep them entire?

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 03:26:29 pm »
I asked my local farmer about castration and he was surprised that I was intending to do it. He said he looses a couple of kilos in weight for each one that is castrated. Taking his advice I have decided not to do any. I might try to sell 1 or 2 as ram lambs if they look the part but anything else will be going to the abattoir anyway so the extra weight will be good.


Have you thought how you are going to use them? Can you send them off uncastrated
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 04:10:12 pm »
Abattoirs pay deadweight, so the testicles will have been removed before they make that measurement anyway ;)

In the ring at the mart, selling liveweight, the buyers will know the testicles don't fetch them any money so potentially will bid a little less per kilo overall ;).  However they will also know that entires are likely to be more lean than wethers, so that overall perhaps they pay the same ;)

If you're having them killed for yourself, and like 'sweetbreads', then by all means keep them entire - but as with the liver, you will need to tell the abattoir / butcher you want them and go to fetch them a day or two after slaughter; the offal isn't hung for a few days like the body meat, and won't come back in the box from the butcher.

As to keeping ram lambs entire, the things to think about are:
  • Can you keep all your ram lambs separate from the girls, from about August onwards?  (Maybe earlier with Dorsets, Charollais and some others.  I don't know about Shropshires.)
  • Will they all be ready for slaughter before tupping time comes around?  (The correct answers are either No or Maybe.  Even if they should be ready, you may get one goes lame, or is strucken or has some other illness that means it can't be sent with the others - and you still have to be able to manage it until it is ready to go.)
  • Given that you may have one or more around when you are tupping, do you have a group he/they can run with and a field safe to keep them in, away from the girls getting tupped and from the girls who are not to be tupped?
  • Are your fences really good? Nothing sours friendly neighbourhood relations like a smallholder tup lamb getting with the commercials or pedigrees next door  :o

In practise, most of us with primitives are happy to band when the testicles are big enough to band, even if this is a little over the week.  If they get really large - which some of mine have, relatively speaking, because of course I can't catch them once they're 10 days old and wick as heck!  :D - then it's off to the vet or use burdizzos yourself.  We use burdizzos on the calves, so BH is very experienced at that, but he's not keen on doing it on lambs (with the appropriate sized implement, I hasten to add!) so I'll be taking my flighty 4 to the vet in due course.  Although they're crossbred, they probably won't be ready before autumn, and I don't want them tupping ours or our neighbours' sheep, nor being kept indoors, so I'll get them seen to.
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

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 05:25:29 pm »
I manage to do the pure shetland balls at 7 days of age and they are tiny! I cant really do them before then as they are just too small to find, so as long as I catch and ball lambs every few days then I'm pretty sure none go over 7 days of age

Funny that shropshire/bwm are so small  :thinking:

I have no idea how much it would cost for the vet to do, but probly worth keeping them entire now, I imagine shropshire crosses to be finished before august anyway (I think), if you had a secure pen then the others could just be seperated at weaning and finished elsewhere

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 05:47:52 pm »
I manage to do the pure shetland balls at 7 days of age and they are tiny! I cant really do them before then as they are just too small to find, so as long as I catch and ball lambs every few days then I'm pretty sure none go over 7 days of age

Oh, I can find the balls and get the ring on.  But at 7 days the balls are sometimes so tiny they can slip back through the tiny hole ;).  Then I have a rig, which is the worst, as they can sometimes father lambs but they look like wethers from behind!  ;)
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

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 06:00:57 pm »
I manage to do the pure shetland balls at 7 days of age and they are tiny! I cant really do them before then as they are just too small to find, so as long as I catch and ball lambs every few days then I'm pretty sure none go over 7 days of age

Oh, I can find the balls and get the ring on.  But at 7 days the balls are sometimes so tiny they can slip back through the tiny hole ;).  Then I have a rig, which is the worst, as they can sometimes father lambs but they look like wethers from behind!  ;)

Yes most of the time this is what I mean :) I can feel them in the sack, but they dont stay in the ring until just that bit bigger, however I had one little white shetland ram lamb who weighed around 1kilo at birth, his brother must have been 4!, I dont think they even dropped down into the sack till 7 days old!

My char/hamp ram produced lambs with giant knockers! would have been easy to do but those were the ones I left entire

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 08:28:00 pm »
My vet did a couple of ours at a few weeks old when their appendages were a tad easier to discern what was what. One, we just missed and had labelled as a girl and the other was just too teeny tiny. Involved cutting open the sack and basically cutting away the testicles. No further treatment was given but I might be concerned about flies if done at this point in the year. Depends on where in the country you are and how much of a hazard blowflies can be. Vet charged a nominal amount. I think around a tenner per castration. If you can take the lambs to your vet that will obviously save you on a call out fee which can vary greatly.
We also had the band applied after the 7 day period one year by the vet with use of anaesthetic.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2014, 10:17:46 pm »
Good point about the flies.  I think band+anaesthetic or burdizzo is looking favourite.
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

Whittsend

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Lamb castration
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 08:04:02 am »
I am sure you already have all the information you need from previous posts but I thought I would just add my experience of having a lamb castrated.  I have been bottle feeding a welsh mountain lamb since he was a day old.  At a week old the vet tried to put a castration ring on but couldn't be sure that she was getting everything inside the ring securely. I am keeping " Dylan" as a pet to live with my three Coloured Ryeland ewes, that are also just pets, although they do provide me with nice fleeces for spinning. The only way to be certain I didn't end up with a rig was to take him into the vets at four weeks of age and have him cut and castrated under local anaesthetic. They also gave him two shots of antibiotics. The final bill was 27. I have to add that they were lovely with him and even gave him his lunchtime bottle which I had taken in for him.

 

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