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1sheepdoggal

Banding Ram Lambs

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What I don't like Julie, is absolutes. I'm trying to grow out of that sin myself actually :rolleyes:

 

I don't think the "law" (be it UK rules on sheep care which may or may not be sensible, or opinions presented as such here) makes the "right". When we go as far as to define good husbandry as only what you and Bill do, I don't agree. There are people with far more experience than you in commericially raising sheep successfully who do things differently.

 

In the end it's *livestock*. The same vet who will say "oh no, no banding after 24 hours" will come out and cut your 2 year old bull with no anesthesia while he's pinned in a head gate. Is being "cute and fluffy" the determination of good care....or perhaps should it be what is the most effective management tool for that farm, for those sheep, for that need? A banded 6 month old lamb with a tetanus vaccine is going to be effectively castrated with relatively no complication *cheaply*. You could buy a burdizzo...expensive, need for education to use, or you could cut him....infection and fly risk. In the perfect world we would have xray vision that told us at 2 hours what lambs were going to be breeding material so they could be tidily banded and done with it. alas we do not.

 

At the rate we are going we will need to book all lambs to the vet for a neuter under anesthesia. We certainly couldn't eat the poor things. They are going to end up like Thanksgiving Turkeys at the Atlanta Farmers Market..."free range, kept with other animals, no stress, no antibiotics, no hormones, no debeaking, no overcrowding....."

 

my sister, ever a farmers daughter saw that list and asked:

 

"does it come with a suicide note?"

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What I don't like Julie, is absolutes. I'm trying to grow out of that sin myself actually :rolleyes:

You're right, there are no absolutes. What you get on forums like these, or from your vet, or from the guy who's been raising sheep for 200 years are opinions. I don't think Bill or I ever implied that what we stated here was anything other than our opinions. That's why I even made the point of emphasizing the word "personally" in my last reply to you. Frankly I just get tired of the oft-used "tell that to my [insert expert here]" type of answer when disagreeing with someone. As I've said in other threads, we all do what works for us. If you (or anyone else) asks me my opinion on banding, I personally (there's that pesky word again) would not be comfortable banding an older ram lamb. That doesn't mean you or anyone else has to follow my personal beliefs, but please lay off the "my experts are better than your experts" or the "folks with years more experience than you" type of comments. I don't claim to be either an expert or someone who's been farming for 75 years, but I'm still entitled to my opinion, whether or not you and your experts agree with that opinion. And I really fail to see what any of this has to do with some future vision you have of needing to take sheep to the vet for anesthesia for castrating--that's just throwing a gratuitous and needless diversion into the discussion, similar to your "cute and fluffy" comment. I don't think either Bill or I use "cute and fluffy" as a criterion for anything, and I don't appreciate you attributing that kind of reasoning to me, since you have no idea what the logic is behind my opinions, nor what experts of my own I might have consulted before coming to my conclusions (believe it or not, there are folks in NC and VA who have been raising sheep and other livestock for many, many years--some would even consider them experts on the subject--who are willing to share their knowledge with people just like me).

 

And as for this comment:

my sister, ever a farmers daughter saw that list and asked:

 

"does it come with a suicide note?"

I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or its relevance to this discussion.

 

 

J.

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[

I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or its relevance to this discussion.

J.

 

I think you got it. You just don't like it.

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Maybe your vet and your shearer are using some method other than what I'm picturing. I don't think I could physically open an Elastrator wide enough to put it around the tackle of a six-month-old ram lamb. If I could, I would be leaving a hell of a lot of flesh to rot away, and I can't believe that there wouldn't be a greater risk of flystrike and infection than with any method, including cutting. For most of the breeds that I'm familiar with, a six month old ram lamb is going to weigh between 75 and 150 lbs. and be very close to sexual maturity, if he's not already there.

 

There are stranger things in heaven and earth ... but when someone asks for an honest opinion, I'll give it to them. And no matter what your vet, shearer, and club lamb producers do, I still think that 10 days is the outside limit for when it's a good idea to use an Elastrator on a ram lamb. It's not the first time I've disagreed with people in any of those three groups about what constitutes good husbandry.

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First, I know nothing compared to the collective wisdom of posters here, but I have helped band a few lambs. I know when we did them, the lambs were still quite young. After the initial lying down, they soon got up to be with mom. I don't see any reason to not castrate lambs while still young. The younger animals heal faster, thus are less stressed, and at the whole process is done/forgotten about rather quickly. I say do your castrating, tails, what have you, and be over with and done at a young age, and let them recover faster.

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typically what I would personally band late is lambs that were lovely the first few months, but failed to thrive during the summer and were markedly no longer breeding quality. Most of my ram lambs leave at 4-5 months/90 lbs, whichever happens first. A lamb not at that mark at 6 months is castration material - especially if space is a premium and I want to turn him out with the ewe lambs and let him catch up on grass for the fall islamic buyers.

 

I've never seen testicles rot off. They atrophy and wither up, and the only wound is at the band site. The bag is withered but intact when it drops off. Even the 250 lb Romney who castrated himself by banding with a stray piece of wire didn't rot. We removed the wire of course, but d/t the lack of circulation the testicle atrophied and dissappeared. The sack was simply empty. Now *that* was a problem because it left an open cavity for his intestines to herniate into. Had I wanted to keep him for wool only the sack would have had to been removed.

 

That ram was very expensive mutton :rolleyes:

 

oops - edited to add that I'm not having any trouble with the band elastrator- it's a standard size. I have Dorpers, St C, BFL and some Romney. My shearer has Columbia,Hamp and Suffolk.

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The problem is you can't determine breeding quality on a lamb that young. Also, ime intact ram lambs typically grow faster than castrated ones. So if it suits your management plan, not castrating until necessary, and only if necessary, may be a better choice.

 

My customers either prefer intact ram lambs, or don't care as long as it's lamb and at the size and quality they requested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, I know nothing compared to the collective wisdom of posters here, but I have helped band a few lambs. I know when we did them, the lambs were still quite young. After the initial lying down, they soon got up to be with mom. I don't see any reason to not castrate lambs while still young. The younger animals heal faster, thus are less stressed, and at the whole process is done/forgotten about rather quickly. I say do your castrating, tails, what have you, and be over with and done at a young age, and let them recover faster.

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[

I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or its relevance to this discussion.

J.

I think you got it. You just don't like it.

Actually, no, I didn't get it, but since I have no desire to play games with you, I'll just say never mind.

 

By the way, the additional explanations you have since given for your reasoning would have been nice up front, FWIW.

 

J.

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Actually, no, I didn't get it, but since I have no desire to play games with you, I'll just say never mind.

 

By the way, the additional explanations you have since given for your reasoning would have been nice up front, FWIW.

 

J.

 

you mean like post #24, on page 2 before this?

 

I vastly prefer to leave the lambs intact. They grow faster than the wethers and I seperate off the ewe lambs anyway.

 

When I do castrate, my preferred method is now the Richey Nipper that Premier sells. It is similar I think to the Burdizzo, but used before 3 weeks and just crushes the cords. You clamp once on each side - no blood, wound, or fuss. And no tetanus risk!

 

When I band I don't do it until the lambs are at least 10 days. They have much less set back that those I band younger. Certainly they keep up with the ewes much better. I tail dock between 3-10 days.

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In my climate, dead flesh rots and draws flies. Nothing dries up. If you castrate them when they're little, there's not much flesh there and it drops off quickly. I can't believe that would be the case with a 150-lb ram lamb with fully developed (or nearly so) testicles.

 

I'm not sure where you are, but perhaps if it's not humid you can get away with things that we can't consider.

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I'm at about the worst humidity area you can imagine in the US short of South Florida. Southern Alabama LOL

 

If you are seeing rotting I'm not sure what you are doing different. There is huge difference between an atrophication of a ligated extremity and infection. Now if the extremity is too large, and we are obviously in debate of that, you can develop infection in the wound (like a too tight collar on a pup that digs into the skin as it grows, or the attempt at docking an adult dog) but if the extremity is small and/or boneless like a scrotum, or tail...it just dies and falls off.

 

I know of a couple of shepherds who band male dogs. Not sure I'm brave enough for that in any climate :rolleyes:

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Does heritability play a factor in deciding which ram lambs may be a good choice for future use? If you have a closed flock, or something like it, so that you know what exactly, you should get, would you be able to predict with a reasonable degree of certainty that said ram lamb should have the qualities you are looking for in a future sire? I imagine those who have been raising flocks for some time have a good eye, and can make decisions on who to keep and not keep in tact, based on prior results of the breeding. I would be in the group of folks who routinely castrated, and kept a few wethers for training, and castrate the rest, unless I needed a ram for breeding.

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you mean like post #24, on page 2 before this? I vastly prefer to leave the lambs intact. They grow faster than the wethers and I seperate off the ewe lambs anyway.

 

When I do castrate, my preferred method is now the Richey Nipper that Premier sells. It is similar I think to the Burdizzo, but used before 3 weeks and just crushes the cords. You clamp once on each side - no blood, wound, or fuss. And no tetanus risk!

 

When I band I don't do it until the lambs are at least 10 days. They have much less set back that those I band younger. Certainly they keep up with the ewes much better. I tail dock between 3-10 days.

Yep, exactly, in which you state that you wait till 10 days to band lambs and that you prefer to use something akin to a burdizzo (Richey nipper) for older lambs' although you say you use it before three weeks. These statements make perfect sense to me, so it's difficult to understand why you felt the need to argue that banding older lambs is acceptable, as you say here

 

typically what I would personally band late is lambs that were lovely the first few months, but failed to thrive during the summer and were markedly no longer breeding quality. Most of my ram lambs leave at 4-5 months/90 lbs, whichever happens first. A lamb not at that mark at 6 months is castration material -

 

which seems to contradict what you've stated in this earlier post you've brought forward (i.e., that you generally just leave everything intact and separate it, or use a Richey nipper before three weeks). I get the impression that you are just arguing for argument's sake. Oh well, I've given my opinion and others have given theirs, and it's all pretty academic now anyway since Darci bought the burdizzo (not exactly prohibitively expensive) and used it already. Keep doing what works for you and the rest of us will do the same.

 

J

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Julie the Nipper is made only for small lambs. It only crushes the cords, and does not atrophy the scrotal sack. If you castrated older that 6 or so weeks the lambs would likely herniate into the empty scrotum as my accidentally castrated adult ram did.

 

Kelpiegirl when you start deciding who a ram will be by "eyeing" lambs as babies you are only seeing potential based on bast bloodline history and pedigree. That's almost as bad as trying to judge a Border Collie pup as a potential adult sheepdog at 8 weeks. Balls or breath, once gone, will never be back.

 

Redrussel the articles hits on some points I've already made. In the UK you can't band castrate after 1 week...but you can cut the scrotum open and snatch them out after that. Which method would you prefer? Which is "cruel" and who determined that? IDoes it matter that a hill lamb would be better off to be a bit older and stronger, or that the shepherd can't get to the lambs that first week? t's a bit like the debate on SheepdogL about crating laws. Commen sense need not apply!

 

That article may be outdated - tail docking is no longer legal in the UK.

 

Ya'll have a great weekend. It's almost 80F here today and I've got (oh my back) to go tag lambs. Then I'm training dogs!

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