The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright we have discussed ages for castration, 4-6 months seems like the norm for those who feel this allows maturation of the urethra in order to decrease the chance for urolithiasis. My goats are now 6 months old and have now begun to smell well... I have noticed pack goats who look much more like bucks but yet are not intact, bulkier around the shoulders, longer horns and beards. I assumed they were castrated later. My question to our community of packers, are there advantages to wait yet longer before castration; perhaps yet a larger urethra and a stronger pack goat? How long do you have to wait to castrate to achieve a stronger pack goat, 9 months, one year or 18 months? I could put up with the stink and behavior a few more months if I could get a whether just bit bigger and stronger and possibly a lower chance for stones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
with the last batch of bucklings I waited until they were 18 months. Two other bucks were castrated even later, at 2 resp. 2,5 years of age.

Wouldn't do it again. All of this late wethered goats cause much more unrest in the herd then the ones that have been wethered between 6 and 9 months.

Also, all of the late wethered ones lost any amount of longer/heavier beards, mane, forlocks in the first three months after castration.
 

·
Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
Joined
·
4,805 Posts
They do keep growing after castration :) The only difference would be less horn growth, a little less bone mass and less hair growth. But if you can put up with the stink, feel free to wait as long as you like :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
849 Posts
On the plus side, if you castrate on the younger side, your goat's growth will tend to go toward height rather than muscle and bone mass, which means your goat will have a longer, more ground-covering stride and will not tire as quickly on a long trek, especially in the heat. Remember, whatever "mass" your goat gets, he has to feed and carry with him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
On my six adult packers, we waited between 4 and 6 months. With my recent buckling, we banded him at 3 months and one week (after talking to John M. about it) and don't regret it. He is still in with mom and I didn't want any breeding to take place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your replies. The bottom line is late castration gives you increased muscle and bone mass. Early castration gives you a lighter animal with a longer stride (theoretically greater endurance). Ich habe ein frage fur Frau Sabine (meine mutti komt aus Wien), since you have had both, how did the late castrated wethers compare in endurance to the early cut weathers? Did you see a difference in the amount that one could haul vs the other?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
oh, "Fragen Sie Frau Sabine" :)

to be honest, out of the late cut bunch I've only worked with three more intensely so far.

Jason who was a good worker had to be put down due to arthritis in one front leg last year - way too soon. Lukas will pack but is not enthusiastic about it. Harvey is a nice enough packer once he get's over the fact that he's away with only a small part of the herd.

My best packer, still, is Nox, now age 10, who was a scrawny bottle lamb, castrated with three days. He's like the duracell bunny.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
849 Posts
My Cuzco is like the Duracell bunny too! He'll go and go and go all day without a break, and even now that he's old and arthritic he will still do everything he can to stay up with everyone else (even horses). I think he would die before he ever quit. He was banded at 2 months old and is the tall, lean type without much "mass". Yet he's as strong as an ox and in his younger days I'd have backed him against any late-cut wether. In the end, most of a goat's working ability boils down to attitude, not aptitude. Size, muscle, fitness, and length of stride don't mean much if the goat is just plain lazy or hates to leave home. Of course, being physically up to the job can go a long way toward helping him enjoy it too. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
ctrcook

In regard to your question, who packs better, a short clip about a training hike yesterday


the white goat in front is Nox, the duracell goat. He's not in best shape, could have more weight and muscles. I think, I have to start pampering him this winter and have him checked by our vet. Worm count is - again - negative. Nox is 10 years old now, cut when he was three days old.

The big brown goat is Cisco, he's 5 years now and was cut at about 9 months or a bit older.

Nox never quit during the 2,5 hours we were away, I had in fact to slow him down several times because he recognized the route and was speeding away to get home. Cisco started panting (but kept up) after a few hundred meters already.

You will find out about which goats are good or excellent or bad packers when you take them out and work with them.
 

·
Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
Joined
·
4,805 Posts
Castration shouldnt have anything to do with a goats abilities to pack. That is all conditioning and training. Granted we all know there are breeds that do it better as a whole, but again, when they are castrated wouldnt be a factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Age of castration might not factor in with working ability (and then, maybe it does) but - from what I see with my mixed bunch - it factors in with the overall keeping. All of my late cut wethers are more or less a pain in the ..ss in regard to fighting, subsequently getting injured (had two packers out of commission for two weeks just now because they fought and went lame as a result). And I have more "fencing" while moving with the whole herd between them and the old, high-ranking wethers, as well.

Considering, that none of the late cut wethers retained the more of muscle they carried while intact, I wouldn't keep new bucklings intact as long as I did with them another time. Wait, until urethra has matured and then.... snipsnip :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The opinion of you few has been helpful and you all seem to be in agreement. There is one issue however relating to time to castrate which has been carefully considered but from what I've learned through admitted very little research on my part, has not been scientifically validated, is urethra size. I have studied extensively what has been written on diet for wethers and have pretty good handle on Ca:p ratio and other oxylate forming foods. The idea that castrating a goat at age 3 days vs 6 months has a positive influence on urethra size, is this from actual research or a hope that the urethra lumen is larger? Or more importantly to me is the lumen of a late wethered male as large as a buck at say age 3 or 6? I'm bringing this up because my reasoning would expect a buck to have a larger lumen and and indeed they have less incidence of blockage. If this is the case one might conclude that the longer your goat sexually matures his penis will as well and will have more of the characteristics of a buck.

I'm concerned particularly of stones in my goats as my pasture soil is extremely high in Ca and so is the irrigation water. Their drinking water is not and is cooled in the summer and heated in the winter. I can feed 1:1 ratio Ca:p hay but it's more difficult to find feed rich in phosphorus in a safe quantity to balance out the high Calcium they are getting in their pasture.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
849 Posts
Unfortunately, bucks can and do get urinary stones too. This is why you'll see a lot of information about preventing and treating urinary calculi in any book or on any website about the care of breeding bucks. This is a problem for any male goat, not just the wethers, so at some point we have to face the fact that we may encounter stones no matter what age we neuter, or even if we don't neuter at all. A lot of it may boil down to unknowns like genetics, or a particular goat's metabolism. There are people who castrate all their goats at the same age, feed them all the same thing, give them all the same pasture, and one will die from stones at three years old while his five herd mates live well into their teens. There will always be an element of luck involved.

Like most things in life, it's best to strike a balance. Waiting to castrate until your bucks are very mature may set them up for other problems that can affect their long-term usability just as much as urinary calculi. For example, it's impossible to train a big, hairy, stinky, hormonal buck for normal packing duties because for one thing, you can't take him anywhere. It's not safe, it's not practical, and you'll have no friends. You won't be able to handle him like you could a wether because he'll smell bad, he'll pee on you, he'll ruin your gear, and you can't safely take him around people or other goats. He'll be way too strong for you to handle should he decide to run amok, and you'll never be able to let your guard down around him. If he's not allowed to breed, he'll also be extremely frustrated. If he reaches the point where you're finding it difficult to socialize with him because of the smell, the sticky, the attitude, and the way he humps your leg and blubs at your wife, then you've waited far long enough and any benefit to be gained by a larger urethra will be cancelled out by the negative impact on his training and socialization. It doesn't matter if your goat can pee like a racehorse if you can't work with him. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
I can again only offer experience with our goats. We had several bouts with uc in the past. Interestingly, in two cases, the wethers were related (father and son) and got uc although neutered late (around 7 months). One of this wethers was put down due to uc - search for Oliver to read about his ordeal - and in the end it turned out to be a malformation of his urethra that caused his problems. His son Lucky had two rounds of uc problems and is now for years been healthy. His grandson is healthy as rain, never had any problems.

Nox is the one candidate in which the "cut early causes problems" rule applies and fit.

But I've heard of several more wethers around here and there have been more early cut among them than later cut. But then of cause, also some where feed imbalances, lack of water, lack of exercise and one actual case where genetics might be involved (father died of uc also). And in some cases simple ignorance from vets who told the owners that goats "can't get uc!"

In the end you can only do what you can and prevent what is known up to this point and then hope for the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
I've been reading these kinds of threads with great interest & also reading everything else I can find about UC's. Especially as I am trying to start my heard with the best stock I can for the long haul. I will share a couple of items I noted in my search for the best all around stock.

First, I am buying two pack trained teenagers in the next few weeks, 2.5 yoa, originally from Carolyn Eddy's lines. I have also ordered 4 Ober's from the same breeder as Nancy. This breeder has constantly selected to improve the breed. Incidentally she has NEVER had known incident from any of her wethers...none! I will confirm but I was thinking she said something about 3 months. This makes me lean as much to genetics as diet.

Next, there is another member here on this board whom I recently spent some time with whom has selectively bread many generations of pack goats (several of you have his goats) who has also NEVER had a known incident of UC's. (I hope he will weigh in about his thoughts on diet and his insight in general on this topic in conjunction with his long time goat oriented Vet.) I will tell you one thing that he told me, that he castrates all his little buckling's at 1 month.

It seems to me that while later castration may indeed be a factor in later UC but it can't be "THE" answer. It also seems apparent to me that REALLY late castration is of little value as I have asked several breeders about this and they say they loose much of the muscle mass hat they gained up to the point of castration and can have antisocial pack-goat behavior if one is to wait. I am also really leaning more to genetics and diet as much as anything so long as it is at least 1 month after birth for castration. Just a couple of thoughts.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top