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What is the best method of wethering an older buck?

6084 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  5th_overture
We are in the process of purchasing an 18+ month old buck. He has a nice temperment and we hope to make a packer of him. He weighs about 120 lbs. We live in Alaska and the season is turning cold--thus we are looking for the easiest, safest method to castrate
him. It might be simpler to wait until spring, but we want to spend
the winter letting him adapt to us and his new role as a wether.
We are considering surgical castration, but that sounds like a fairly large operation for a buck his age, so we are open to other options like banding etc. Any ideas or methods would be appreciated.
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It isnt a major operation per se, and most goats are fine in on average 2 weeks to go back in with others, surgically its an easy procedure, goat is standing, if available one person holds the collar/head, someone holds the tail up, the vet usually gives a blocking shot, unwraps a scapel with new blade and cuts the bottom of the sack off, reaches up and draws each testicle down, ties them off and pulls them out, it works on all ages. The older the goat the longer it takes for the testosterone to be flushed from the system, under a yearling 2-3 weeks will do it, I have seen much older wethers try to mount 3 weeks and more after the operation.

Banding to me is the least desirable method, surgically is quick, heals quick and gives sure results, when you see them both come out you KNOW that you now have a wether. And with a blocking shot it doesnt have all that much discomfort. A good vet can have it done in ten minutes from start to finish.
Hands down, Burdizzo.

I clamped a 5 yo buck last fall. I use a burdizzo to wether all my boys. I can't see ever needing or wanting to use another method.

The burdizzo costs about $35 - $40.

Get more info at fiasco farms. There's likely helpful demo videos on YouTube.
Once you learn how to do it properly it is quick and easy,

he was asking about the cutting which is why I replied as I did.
We had all three of our boys surgically castrated at about 18 months old. We had heard so many horror stories about all the different methods and anesthesia and all of that, that we were terrified to even get it done at all. We had gotten used to the buck smell and started contemplating leaving them intact. Of course, from a behavioral standpoint that was not a real option. We got them castrated at our breeders vet. He had done many castrations. It is both as bad and not as bad as it sounds. He gave them all the triple cocktail of happy drugs and they all went down fine. They woke up at varying degrees, and one we did get nervous about, even the vet just a tiny little bit... until he realized that whenever he started waking up, I was letting him lay his head on my lap and fall back asleep. Once we "made" him wake up, he was fine. It looks nasty, especially when the vet is confident and does it quickly. Blades and blood and, well, the other "B" word flying everywhere, but it was over fast. They were all miserable for a few days, but the sack left in place protected all the stuff inside and after about a week they were fine, everything stayed clean and they are none the worse for the ordeal. This is my only experience with it, but it was a very positive one. They also had no idea what happened from all the drugs, so we were there for comfort and spoiling (bananas for the immune boosting vitamins and other fresh fruit) instead of the ones who did something horrible to them that required a grudge. I have posted several things on here about the ordeal, so if you search you should find all of our questions and concerns and all of the answers from folks on here who know a lot more.
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After reading up on the different methods and getting opinions from people on this site we opted to use the burdizzo on our boys.

Although it is the least "sure" method of castration (approx 10% failure rate according to my vet) it is also the least traumatic for the goat and the only method that doesn't involve either an anesthetic (other than a local) or leaving an open/sutured wound that could be subject to infection.

I admit that the goats seemed pretty sore for a few days afterwards, but I expect that would be true of any castration method. And although it seemed like it took several months for the testicles to atrophy completely, we are happy with the results and will use it again on any additional goats we castrate.
Band him...once you buy the stuff, tis cheap and doesn't really hurt them.
Banding is my last choice to the point of not doing it.

Banding is too easy to do wrong when putting it on and leave one testicle up. Also, improperly doing it can cause severe swelling and pain. Again improper placement of the band. For someone sure in their movements in placing it then it can work, but I dont like the dead tissue hanging there til it falls off.

I have removed a number of them improperly done on calves, lambs and kids. Several where the bag had turned black.

In each case I had to restrain the animal and remove the bag to the band with a scapel. That was a lot of pain to the animal. This was before I had a source of lidocaine.

Burdizzo or the knife are the only two methods I will ever use.
We also use the bands, once used a burdizzo and will never use it again. We had him done a bit too young as we were taking him to be disbudded at the same time. He bled, was in lots of pain for days, and died from an infection and the after effects. We use the rings, though have only used them up to three months old, the goat is in pain for a maximum of a few hours and I have had plenty of bucks who DON'T NOTICE!! :shock: I did one two weeks ago at two weeks old, and he didn't even know I had done anything. I also did one several weeks before who just walked a little funny for a few minutes.
The only problem I have ever had was that one buck/wether kid got the sack caught in a wire fence and torn off, he still had the ring on and although a little touchy in that area when we put disinfectant on it, he was totally fine and normal within two weeks, and acted exactly the same bouncy, friendly and happy boy the whole time. We have never had a goat upset or mopey from a ring, never had one less friendly than before, and I would say you just as much need an experienced person for a burdizzo or a knife! You don't exactly want someone you hasn't done it before trying to cut their bucks kids, and clamping apparently has to be done twice on each side in exactly the right spot and even then it doesn't always work! :? I have never had a buck kid need to be redone, only watched one buck kid done with a ring before I did my first one, and the only time I only had one bit in the sack was with a lamb - we cut the ring off straight after putting it on and put another ring on properly. I often put the ring on by myself, but prefer not to with friendly kids because they are so busy bouncing around trying to suck on my fingers or lick my face that they don't sit still. Our boys don't need an anaesthetic, and we have never had a wound apart from the one I just mentioned who pulled the bag off. The moment after the bag falls off, ours already have a little dry scab which is totally healed within a day or two and doesn't have the slightest bit of blood. I had one two weeks ago (not either of the two I just mentioned) who had just had his fall off that morning, to my great dismay I found that I had rung off one of his teats because he was so small when I did him, (BTW, that is the only problem I have had with ringing buck kids at a few days old - I once took off one teat as well) but the whole area was clean, healed and neat, with just a pin head sized scab in the middle.
I haven't personally done an adult (18 month) old buck, and though I have heard of adult bulls and bucks being done with the ring, knife or burdizzo method, I can't comment from my own experience. I have heard that you can do them as long as you can fit a ring on and seen plenty of plus-sized elastrators specially made for adult bull, but again, I haven't had experience in that area so I will leave that for others to discuss.
Sorry if I have offended anyone! Hopefully I am more a help than a hindrance on this matter. :p
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Thanks to everyone for the responses. At this point we are leaning toward the surgical castration.
As best we can discern these are our concerns with each procedure.
Surgical-- pro; fast and efficient. Cons; greater medical risks ( our vet uses full anesthesia) and quite a bit of daily clean up to avoid infection.
Burdizzo--pro; bloodless, less risk of infection, less stress on goat. Cons; we are unfamiliar with the method, greater chance of failure.
Bands--pro; good for young goats, less stress, over quickly. Cons; not great for older goats. We are aware of bands that can fit mature bulls, but our concern is the excess tissue rotting off an older goat--seems like it could get ugly.
Our conclusion at this point is that the burdizzo will be a great option for us in the future, once we can gain some hands on instruction.
I have used cutting often and have really never had a problem with drainage or infections after, in early years I used a squirt bottle with gentian violet solution but now use a liberal application of Blue-Kote. Virtual nil daily cleanup. And I actually dont understand the anesthesia as a couple blockage shots are so simple and quick. I would ask the vet to do that and to forego the anesthesia.

I second the burdizzo, its great , last years rendy had a demonstration on them, I hope that this years will too, and maybe a 'bring a buck to wether' time.
We banded several hundred kids over the years. All were sucessful and the goats were only in minor discomfort for a few hours. Surgical catration was done on any kids we left as bucks to breed to for the first year. It was tramautic every time with open wounds, flies and the goats were sore and hurting for days.

I think the key to sucessful banding is to wait untill the goat is a few months old so that both testicles are plainly dropped and there is slack in the scrotum to place the band. Nothing is being squeezed by the band but it is simply cutting off the blood supply and the whole thing is numb in a couple of hours. It dries up and falls off with no issues. Make sure to use new bands or store them properly in a cool dark place. They are rubber and can deterioriate in the sun if left in the open for several months. I believe that is the single biggest cause of failed bands.
I have never used the bands, so have no personal experience with them , but have cut some off that were improperly placed, and they were a pain to do. I know of many who have used them from pigs to calves and like them. I favor the burdizzo, or cutting.

A good spraying of blukote goes a long ways to drying off and the fly problem, as does later fall use of the knife.
Rex said:
I think the key to sucessful banding is to wait untill the goat is a few months old so that both testicles are plainly dropped and there is slack in the scrotum to place the band.
We always have to do our lambs at several months old because of just that problem - one or both haven't dropped/are held up for quite a while where we can't even find them. Thankfully (because I normally do them really young) our kids have always dropped as soon as they are born, but it is easier to do them with more space - I did a bull calf last year and I had three inches of space where I could put the ring, which was way easier than half an inch in a small kid. :)
What ever you decide, do it in winter. Then you will miss fly season. You will then lower the odds of infection.
If you haven't already made up your mind, here is my two cents: Burdizzo. We have a very good large animal vet just down the street from us but we didn't want any goats with infections from surgical castration. If you take the time to do some research on fiasco farms you'll find everything you need to know on how to castrate with a burdizzo. It does take a few weeks for them to stop acting like bucks, so there is a bit of inherent uncertainty that goes along with this method. One of our boys was still mounting after a month and a half, but has since calmed down, even with the does going into heat now.
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