I…ah…WE survived another farmstead FIRST. It’s our third freshening (that’s when you breed a goat and she kids) and I’ve had the luxury of ‘the breeder’ castrating my buck kids for me. This freshening however, I had to fess up and perform the dastardly deed myself…castrating the buckling goat kids. You may think I’m cruel, but it is very necessary. While I do not own a buck (for breeding my girls), I get very attached to my goaties and much rather find good homes for my pet wethers…rather than putting them in the freezer.
A goat kid of either sex can be – that is ‘physiologically’ speaking – fertile at 7-weeks of age (though they should not be bred at that age). Intact bucks and does over 8-weeks of age should NOT be kept together because a young buck can, and will, breed a female at 2-months of age, including his mother and 2-month old sister!
I know of two methods of castration:
Cutting: This entails cutting the bottom of the scrotum off and pulling out the testicles, and/or
Banding: This requires using a tool called an elastrator to put special heavy-duty little rubber bands around the scrotum leading to the testicles. The blood circulation stops and in about 10 to 14 days, the scrotum and testes will slough off ( ie. the scrotum and testes die, rot and eventually fall off).
I prefer the ‘cutting’ method – it’s immediate and after a day or so, the kids act as if nothing happened (well, perhaps they’d tell you otherwise)?!! All went very well procedurally, although it was more difficult to grab a hold of those slippery testicles than I had imagined!!
I’d like to end on a good note! My wethered goat kids and Tinkerbelle’s twin ewe lambs have a wonderful new owner and home with Bonnie at The Lamb’s Tail. They’re only a few miles down the road…so I’ll get to visit them often…and browse the barn for great antiques too!
Tink and her lovely Shetland gray katmoget ewe lambs…
Oh My!!! My men folk would be soooooo proud of you!!
Hi Jenny, I found your blog randomly through the internet and am glad I have! I raise a small flock of Shetlands in Eastern Ontario. I’m a spinner too so I love processing their fleeces by hand. I will enjoy reading your blog posts. I would not be brave enough myself to attempt the cutting method for castration, I castrated two of my ram lambs this year with the Elastractor and I was quite impressed at the ease of use as well as the short recovery time for the lamb – they sat down for a half hour or so, then were up and running around like normal. Plus I am not terribly good with blood and slippy things!
Welcome Meagan! It appears we share common interests! I’ve been soooo busy, I haven’t had much tyme for blogging. My home-town Armada Ag Fair is in 2-weeks and I’m a 4-H goat project leader and Fair Goat Superintendent! YIKES! Lots to do…but, I’ll be baa-ck soon. Jen