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Docking, castrating, and disbudding


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Docking, castrating, and disbudding

  1. 1.   Info She t o S eetDock king, ca astrating, and disbu udding gby Susan SSchoenianSheep and Goat Specia d alistUniversity of Maryland Extension y dsschoen@umd.eduDate of la revision: 9-Nov-11 astDocking, castrating, and disbudd ding are management p practices rouutinely perfo ormed on sheepand goat farms. Eac producer needs to de t ch ecide whethe or not to perform the practice er ese es,when to do them, an how to do them. Maintaining a h nd o high standard of animal welfare sho d ouldbe a cons sideration in all decisions related to docking, c n castrating, a disbuddi and ing.The tail pprotects the sheeps anu vulva, an udder fro weather e us, nd omextremes Sheep lift their tail w s. t when they de efecate and use theirtail, to so ome extent, to scatter their feces. The ancest of most , tormodern s sheep breed (Mouflon) is a hair she with a s ds eep short tail.Centuries of selectio for wool p on production rresulted in s sheep withlong, woolly tails whhich usually require docking.According to a 2002 Animal Health Survey, 9 91.7 percen of U.S. ntlambs are docked. Docking prev D vents fecal m matter fromaccumulaating on the tail and hin e ndquarters o sheep and lambs. of dResearch has shown that tail docking greatl reduces th h ly heincidence of fly strik (wool maggots), while having no ill effect e keon lamb mortality or performance. Docking also facilita r atesshearing. Not many shearers wa to shear sheep with long tails. . s antPackers a also prefer to purchase and process docked lam t s mbs.Because hair sheep lambs do not have long, thick, wooly tails, it is usually not necessary t l , s t todock their tails. Lam from the Northern E mbs e European shoort-tail bree group (e.g Finn, ed g.Icelandic Shetland, Romanov, S c, Soay) also do not require docking. T o e Though it is a recommenndedpractice for most wo ooled sheep, some producers do not routinely d dock their la ambs or they yonly dock the ewe la k ambs. There are researc efforts un e ch nderway to b breed sheep with short( p (er)tails to e eliminate the need for d e docking.Some ma arkets pay le money fo tailed lam ess or mbs, primari because h ily having a tail lowers the ldressing percentage of the lamb especially if the tail i caked with manure an tags. On the b, y is ndother hand, some et thnic buyers prefer undo ocked lambs For the Mu s. uslim Festiv of Sacrifice val(Eid al-Adha), unblemished lamb are often preferred f ritual sla bs n for aughter. An unblemished dlamb is a lamb that has not been docked, castrated, or had its horns removed. r1|Page Docking Castrating, and Disbud g, , dding 
  2. 2. Docking lambsThe simp plest and mo common method of t ost taildocking i ringing or banding, whereby a rub is bber ring(or band) is applied to the tail uusing an elas stratortool. Bannding is a blooodless metthod of tail docking.The band cuts off th blood supply to the ta and d he ail,the tail f falls off in 7 to 10 days. Some produ ucers cutthe “dea tail off before it fall off. In fac this is ad” b ls ct,a recomm mended prac ctice.It goes w without sayin that band ng ding causes ppain to the l lamb. Lambs should be at least 24hours old before ban are applied, and ban should o d nds nds only be applied during the lambs fir rstweek of life. In fact, in the Unit Kingdom there is a law that res , ted m, stricts banding to the fi irstweek of a lambs life If it is pra e. actical, the u of a loca anesthetic such as lid use al c, docaine, can beused to r reduce the pain felt by the lamb. pWhen the elastrator technique i used, it is very import e is tant that the lamb be pprotected aggainsttetanus, since the ba creates an anaerobic (oxygen-f and free) environnment that is favorable to ethe tetan organism establishin itself in t tissue. If the lambs dam was no vaccinated at nus m ng the f otleast two weeks prio to lambing or her vac o or ccination sta atus is unknoown, the tet tanus anti-tooxinshould be administer to the la e red amb at the ttime of band ding. The annti-toxin pro ovidesimmediate short-ter immunity whereas th tetanus to rm y he oxoid, while longer last e ting, takes 10days to 2 weeks to establish any immunity. e yOther methods of ta docking ailAn electr docking iron cuts and cauterizes the tail sim ric i d s multaneously It is prob y. bably the mo osthumane method of tail docking. It can also be used on older lambs An emascu t s. ulator can alsobe used f tail dock for king docking An emascu g. ulator has bo a cutting and crushi mechani oth ing ism.The crushing mechan nism seals th blood ves he ssels on the tail remaining on the la amb, while thecutting e vely remove the tail. T emasculator should be left on t tail for edge effectiv es The theapproximmately 30 seconds to help prevent b bleeding. A Burdiz is similar to the ema zzo r asculator exxcept it does not have a cutting mec s chanism. A knifemust be used to cut off the tail (inside the Burdizzo). A "baby" (9 in.) burdizzo should be u o usedfor lambs Combinin the use o a Burdizzo with an ela s. ng of o astrator will lessen the pain felt by thelamb. Ta can be cut off using a knife; how ails wever, this t technique is not recomm s mended bec causeit can cause excessiv bleeding. It is also th most pain ve . he nful method of tail dockking, asevidence by elevated levels of cortisol in t blood. ed theThere is disagreement as to how long the do w ocked tail (s stub) should be. The Am d mericanVeterinary Medical Association, American A A Association o Small Rum of minant Practitioners, anddAmerican Sheep Indu n ustry Associa ation all agr that tails should be removed no shorter tha ree s o anthe dista end of the caudal tail fold. Tails d al e docked shor rter than thi may result in an incre is t easedincidence of rectal prolapses in feed lot lam e p mbs.In the Un nited Kingdo the dock must be le long enou to cover the ewes v om, k eft ugh r vulva and ra amsanus. Mo other cou ost untries have similar reco e ons. Short-t docking damages the ommendatio tailmuscles and nerves used by the lambs anus It may als contribute to the incidence of u s. sovaginal p prolapses, th hough there is no data t support th claim. Ne Zealand researchers to his ew sfound tha short-doc at cked ewes suuffered high rates of c her carcinoma o the vulva. of .2|Page Docking Castrating, and Disbud g, , dding 
  3. 3. All lambs should be docked by the time they are six weeks old, regardless of the method used. If an older lamb or mature sheep requires docking, the services of a veterinarian should be sought. Though banded lambs are most vulnerable, immunity from tetanus is recommended for all tail docking methods. Castration of ram lambs and buck kids According to a 2002 Animal Health Survey, 77.4 percent of ram lambs are castrated, with the average age of castrating being 22 days. Fewer buck kids are castrated. The decision to castrate ram lambs and buck kids should be based on the management needs of the producer and the demands of the market place. Ram lambs grow faster than ewe and wether lambs and when ram lambs are marketed at a young age (less than 5-6 months), the commodity market usually does not discriminate in price. Buck kids grow faster than wether kids until they reach sexual maturity. Bucks in rut may lose weight.Burdizzo  Ethnic buyers usually prefer intact males and may pay a premium price for them. Rams and bucks are preferred for the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice. It is not necessary to castrate ram lambs for the freezer (or locker) trade, since there is no palpable difference in the taste or tenderness of meat from a young ram lamb versus a wether or ewe lamb. Older rams may have a slight taste difference. Some markets prefer older intact male goats, which tend to have a stronger taste, but the taste is usually masked by spices and marinade. On the other hand, wethers are easier to manage and eliminate the chances of early and/or unwanted pregnancies. When males are kept intact, it may be necessary to separate them from females when they are approximately 3 months old. If this cannot be done, males should be castrated or marketed at an early age. For later maturing breeds, it may not be necessary to separate males and females as early. Males sold for grazing or as pets should be castrated since they will be easier to manage. Castration by banding As with tail docking, there are a number of techniques that can be used to castrate ram lambs and buck kids. An elastrator band can be placed around the neck of the scrotum, with care taken not to place the band over the rudimentary teats. The scrotum will shrivel up and fall off in two to three weeks. As with docking, the “dead” scrotum may be removed after several days. Both testicles must be below the placement of the band. If one testicle is missed, it will be retained in the belly cavity, resulting in a "bucky" lamb or kid. A short-scrotum is a male whose testicles are deliberately pushed above the band. There is evidence to suggest that short-scrotum lambs grow as fast as ram lambs and produce heavier carcasses. They are sometimes used as “teaser” rams. Castration by banding is painful and should be done at a young age (1 to 7 days). Some experts advocate the use of lidocaine to reduce the pain felt by the animal. As with banding tails, lambs and kids should be protected against tetanus. Lambs and kids whose dams were not vaccinated for tetanus should be administered the tetanus antitoxin at the time of banding. Surgical castration of ram lambs and buck kids Testicles may be surgically removed. With surgical castration, a sharp knife or scalpel is used 3|Page Docking, Castrating, and Disbudding  
  4. 4. to remov the botto one-third of the scro ve om d otal sac. The testicles ar removed and the wou e re undis allowe to drain and heal naturally. Hist ed a torically, som people u me used their te eeth to remo ovethe testicles.There is an "All-in-One" tool that can be use to perform surgical c ed castrations. The teeth o the ofAll-in-On tool are used to grab the testicle after cutt ne u es ting off the b bottom one third of the escrotum with the sci issors portio of the too on ol.According to researc conducted in Great B ch d Britain, surgi ical castration is the mo painful ostmethod o castration as it results in higher levels of co of n, r ortisol in the blood, as c e compared to the obanding method. It also has the greatest po a otential for i infection and fly infestaation. Surgic calcastratio should be done befor or after fl season on re lyOther methods of castration fo lambs and kids or dA Burdizz emascula zo atome is a to that is us to crush the sperma cord, which crushes the ool sed h atic sblood ves ssels, thereb depriving the testicle of blood supply and c by g es causing them to shrivel up mand die. The cattle-ssize Burdizz should not be used to castrate lambs or kids. Each cord zo t oshould be crushed se e eparately. CCombining the use of a Burdizzo wit an elastra th ator will les ssenthe pain felt by the lamb or kid..Males shoould be cast trated by the time they are six wee of age, regardless of the method e eks f dused. Sin males ca nce astrated durring their first month of age are mo prone to urinary calc ore culi(because their ureth does not grow as large), some veterinarians advocate d e hra s delayingcastratio until after they reach puberty. If later castra on h f ation is done it may be advisable t e, e tohave the procedure performed b a veterinarian. At th same, tim proper nu e by he me utrition andmanagem ment will preevent urinar calculi in early castra ry ated ram lam and buc kids. mbs ckIn the Unnited Kingdo om, veterina arians must p perform all castrations in lambs ove three mo er onthsof age. TThough band lambs ar most vuln ded re nerable, immmunity from tetanus is rrecommendeedfor all ca astration me ethods.Disbuddi (removing the horn buds of ba goats) ing n abyby Jeann Dietz-Ban and Susan Schoenian ne nd nMost goa are born with horns, which will b ats begin growin shortly af ng fter birth. O Occasionally ynaturally polled (hor y rnless) goats are born. Breeding tw polled goats may result in the birth s woof a herm maphrodite (infertile go with both sex organs oat h s).The purppose of disbu udding is to destroy the horn cellsand prev vent the horn from grow ns wing. Disbuddding is notthe same as dehorning. Dehorning is much more einvolved and should be done by a large anim malveterinar rian, with th goat unde anesthesi Some he er ia.producer have foun success us rs nd sing elastrat bands to tor oremove hhorns from larger goats..It is common to disbud dairy goa and othe goats that ats er twill be handled frequently. Hor rned goats that are kepttin close q quarters can cause injury to people each n e,other, an other live nd estock. They often get t y stuck in feeders and fen their heads s nces. Someshows ma still require market g ay goats to be disbudded.4|Page Docking Castrating, and Disbud g, , dding 
  5. 5. Meat goats are usually not disbudded. They tend to require less handling and feeding andtheir horns serve as a natural cooling mechanism. The decision to disbud goats is often amatter of personal preference or management needs.The most common and recommended method of disbudding is with an electric disbuddingiron. This is a circular iron that is placed over each horn bud. The circular tip of the ironshould be about ¾ of an inch in diameter. The iron is left over the horn buds forapproximately 8 to 15 seconds.The manufacturer’s recommendation should be followed when using a hot iron for disbudding.Wattage varies somewhat between different pieces of disbudding equipment and the amountof heat produced will determine the length of time for the procedure. An extension cordshould not be used to plug the disbudding iron into the power supply, as this will compromisethe irons ability to reach optimal temperature.The areas over and around the horn bud should be clipped prior to the iron being placed onthe kids head. The heated side should be allowed to cool before the iron is put back to thekids head to do the other side. There will be a “copper-colored" ring around the horn bud ifthe procedure is done properly.The kid is usually placed in a holding box for disbudding, but a second person is still neededto steady the head during the procedure. Afterwards, it is a good idea to put an anesthetic onthe horn buds. Kids should be disbudded as soon after birth as possible, usually 3 to 7 days.The exact timing varies by breed and goat. You can disbud as soon as the horn buds can bedistinguished.Inexperienced producers should seek the assistance of an experienced goat producer or largeanimal veterinarian when disbudding for the first time.5|Page Docking, Castrating, and Disbudding