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Stuff we do to lambs and kids after they are born

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Stuff we do to lambs and kids after they are born

  1. 1. Stuff we do to lambs and kids after they are born Docking  Castrating  Disbudding  Identifying SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep & Goat Specialist University of Maryland Extension sschoen@umd.edu – wormx.info
  2. 2. Lamb and Kid Processing 1. Docking 2. Castrating 3. Disbudding 4. Identifying • Should you do it? • When should you do it? • How do you do it?
  3. 3. Docking • Is when the tail is shortened (not removed). • Is a traditional and recommended practice for sheep. • 81.5% of US lambs (2011, NAHMS) • 78.6% of US sheep operations (2011, NAHMS). • Of course, it’s not customary to dock goat tails.
  4. 4. Sheep tails • The tail protects the sheep's anus, vulva, and udder from weather extremes. • Sheep lift their tail when they defecate and use their tail, to some extent, to scatter their feces. • The tail does not interfere with breeding or lambing. • There are efforts to breed sheep with shorter tails, so they do not require docking.
  5. 5. Why dock?  Health and hygiene • Docking prevents fecal matter from accumulating on the tail and hindquarters of sheep and lambs. • Tail docking greatly reduces the incidence of fly strike. • Docking facilitates shearing, milking, and slaughter. • It is easier to observe the udders of docked ewes. • It is generally recommended that lambs from the wooled breeds be docked.
  6. 6. Why not dock? • Some breeds do not require tail docking, e.g. hair sheep, Northern European short or rat-tailed breeds, and fat-tailed sheep. • If lambs are slaughtered at a young age, it may not be necessary to dock their tails. • If hindquarters can be kept be kept clean, it may not be necessary to dock lambs, especially males. • Some markets prefer (require) an unblemished (undocked) lamb.
  7. 7. Tools for docking lambs Elastrator Ringer Callicrate Bander™ Burdizzo (Baby) Emasculatome (clamp) knife, scalpel, All-in-one Electric docker Hot iron Emasculator
  8. 8. Methods of docking ELASTRATOR BANDER • Bloodless • Band is placed over the caudal tail fold and released. • The tight band cuts off blood supply to the tail, causing it to atrophy and fall off. KNIFE ALL-IN-ONE • Cut tail off with knife or use All-in- one to cut off tail. • May result in excessive bleeding. • NOT RECOMMENDED ELECTRIC DOCKER OR HOT IRON BURDIZZO + KNIFE • Crush tail to cut off blood supply. • Use knife to cut tail completely off. • Bloodless • Specialized tool (“scissors”) or hot iron used to sever tail and cauterize wound. EMASCULATOR • Cut and crush tail at same time, sealing blood vessels.
  9. 9. Length of tail dock • Leave long enough to cover ewe’s vulva and ram’s anus. • No shorter than the distal end of the caudal tail fold. • Short-tail docking damages muscles and nerves. • Short-tail docking contributes to incidence of rectal prolapses (maybe vaginal prolapses). Proper length
  10. 10. When to dock • As soon as management allows. 1-7 days recommended, especially when banding. • Too early (< 24 hours) may interfere with bonding and colostrum intake. • All methods of docking should be done by 12 weeks of age. • After 3 months of age, pain relief should be provided (Vx). • High-tension bands (Callicrate Bander™) may be more humane and are advocated for docking bigger lambs.
  11. 11. Welfare considerations • All tail docking methods cause pain. • Surgical (knife) docking is the most painful method of docking; it is recommended that tails not be cut off with a knife. • Response to pain in banded lambs is variable and could be associated with placement of the band. • Rubber ring + crushing (clamp) may reduce pain when banding. • A electric docker or hot iron is probably the most humane method of docking. • There is no justification for “ultra-short” tail docking (for cosmetic reasons). • Local anesthetics (e.g. lidocaine) and NSAIDs can reduce pain associated with docking (Rx). • Protection against tetanus is recommended for all methods of tail docking.
  12. 12. Castration • Removal or destruction of the testicles. • A castrated male sheep or goat is called a wether. • About three-quarters of US lambs are castrated (2011, NAHMS); probably, fewer goats. • Average age of castration is 24.7 days (2011, NAHMS).
  13. 13. Why castrate? • Prevent indiscriminate breeding. • Eliminate undesirable behavior and/or odor. • Easier to manage • Easier to shear/crutch • For show • Market preference • Easier to process • Improve meat quality • Tradition
  14. 14. Why not castrate? • Males grow faster and produce leaner carcasses. • Castration is a painful procedure that has risks associated with it. • Some producers want to see how males grow out. • Some markets prefer an intact male.
  15. 15. Methods of castration Elastrator Ringer Bander Callicrate Bander™ Burdizzo (Baby) Emasculatome “Surgical” Scalpel or knife All-in-one tool Band, crush, or cut! Emasculator
  16. 16. Methods of castration ELASTRATOR BANDER (RINGS) • Bloodless method • Band is placed above both testicles, around the spermatic cords. • The tight band cuts off blood supply to the testicles, causing them to atrophy and fall off. • Tetanus risk BURDIZZO (BABY) EMASCULATOME • Bloodless method • A clamp is used to crush both spermatic cords; one cord at a time. • Testicles shrink and disappear in a couple of months. • Requires most skill. EMASCULATOR • Cut lower one-third of scrotum off, remove testicles, and allow wound to drain and heal naturally. • Can use all-in-one tool to cut scrotum and pull testicles out. • Risk of bleeding, infection, and fly strike. SURGICAL (KNIFE, SCALPEL, ETC) • Crush and cut cords
  17. 17. Age to castrate • Castration, especially banding, should be done at an early age, ideally 1-7 days of age. • Too early (< 24 hours) may interfere with bonding and colostrum intake. • All methods of castration should be done by 12 weeks of age. • Banding larger scrotums may cause more inflammation. • The Callicrate Bander™ has been advocated for later castrations;.
  18. 18. Welfare considerations • All methods cause some pain. • Surgical is most painful method of castration and should not be done during fly season. • Clamping is less painful than banding and can be done later. • Clamping + banding may be more humane method of castration. • High-tension bands (Callicrate Bander™) may be more humane and are advocated for older lambs/kids. • Local anesthetics (e.g. lidocaine) and NSAIDs can reduce pain (Rx). • Protection against tetanus is recommended for all methods of castration.
  19. 19. Is there an alternative? YES, A SHORT-SCROTUM • A short-scrotum ram is a cryptorchid. • It is made by pushing the testicles up inside the body cavity and banding the empty scrotum. • It is a less painful procedure than castration (by banding).
  20. 20. COMPARISON INTACT MALE • Superior growth • Heavier carcass • Leaner carcass • Breeding risk • Undesirable behavior/odor • Processing issues WETHER • No (low) breeding risk • Ease of management • Meat quality (?) • Slower growth • Lighter carcass • Fatter carcass • Painful procedure (welfare) SHORT SCROTUM
  21. 21. Comparison of ram, wether, and short-scrotum lambs Schoenian, Selmer, Gordon, Bennett, O’Brien, Wildeus, Anderson, and Travis • University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research & Education Center (WMREC) in Keedysville. • 60 lambs from Maryland dairy farm Averaged 57 lbs. and 81 days of age 19 ram, 25 wether, 17 short-scrotum • 110 days: April 26-August 13 • Pastured-raised Cool and warm season grasses Annual and perennial grasses Supplemental feeding (2x day)
  22. 22. Research protocol • Lambs were weighed bi-weekly to determine body weights and deworming need. • Towards end of project, lambs were scanned to determine ultrasound rib eye measurements. • Towards end of project, lambs were evaluated to determine reproductive characteristics. • All lambs were slaughtered to collect carcass data and specimens (testicles).
  23. 23. Project results Growth and carcass • Short-scrotum rams grew faster than wether lambs (+14% advantage). • Short-scrotum rams had heavier final weights than wether lambs (+$16.06 value). • Wether lambs produced fatter carcasses. Reproductive • Short-scrotum rams had smaller testicles than ram lambs. • Short-scrotum rams had similar breeding behavior (libido) as ram lambs. • Short-scrotum ram lambs did not have viable semen; they were deemed sterile.
  24. 24. Should you castrate? NO • Early-born • Winter-born • Early weaned • Pen-raised • Marketed at young age • Market preference • Can separate on farm YES • Late-born • Spring-born • Pasture-raised • Late weaned • Market at older age • Market preference • Can’t separate on farm INSTEAD… SHORT-SCROTUM • Gain benefits of intact male, without some of the management hassles.
  25. 25. Disbudding • Destroying the horn cells to prevent the horns from growing. • Disbudding is not the same as dehorning. • It is not customary to disbud (or dehorn) sheep.
  26. 26. Why disbud? • Goats are generally horned. • There is an increased risk of hermaphroditism when two naturally polled goats are bred. • It is customary to disbud dairy goats and other goats that will be handled frequently or be kept in close quarters. • Safety: horned goats can cause injury to people and other goats. • Horned goats get their heads stuck more easily. • Some shows require goats to be disbudded. • Personal or market preference. Generally, horned and hornless goats should not be kept together.
  27. 27. Why not disbud? • It is natural for goats to have horns. • Horns serve as a natural cooling mechanism. • It is not customary to disbud meat or fiber goats or goats raised extensively. • Goats that will go to market early do not need disbudding. • Disbudding may not be allowed to meet animal welfare certifications • Personal preference.
  28. 28. Disbudding kids • Disbudding is a skilled procedure; in the UK, only veterinarians may perform procedure. • The most common and recommended method of disbudding is with an electric disbudding iron. • The circular tip of the iron should be about ¾ inch in diameter. • Wattage varies by manufacturer. • An extension cord should not be used to power the tool.
  29. 29. Disbudding kids • The kid is usually placed in a (disbudding) box, with its head sticking out. • The areas over and around the horn buds should be clipped prior to the procedure. • The circular iron is placed over each horn bud.
  30. 30. Disbudding kids • The iron is held for 8-15 seconds, depending upon manufacturer’s instructions. • A “copper-colored” ring appears around the horn buds when the procedure has been properly done. • Afterwards, it is a good idea to put an anesthetic on the horn buds.
  31. 31. Timing is everything • Kids should be disbudded as soon after birth as possible, usually 3-7 days. • Exact timing depends on breed, sex, and goat. • Disbud as soon as the horn buds can be distinguished.
  32. 32. Welfare considerations • Disbud at proper time • Make sure disbudding iron is hot enough • Don’t press iron too hard • Do not apply iron for too long • Be careful not to overheat kid’s head • Consider providing pain medication (Rx) • Inexperienced producers should seek the assistance of an experienced producer or veterinarian. • Disbudding kids is preferable to dehorning adults. Chemical methods of disbudding are being evaluated.
  33. 33. Identifying sheep and goats • To tell animals apart • For record-keeping • Is required for breed registration • Is required for 4-H/FFA • Is required for health papers • USDA scrapie ID is mandatory
  34. 34. Methods of identifying sheep and goats PERMANENT • Ear tags* • Tattoos* • Ear notches • Electronic ID • Ear tag • Rumen bolus TEMPORARY • Paint brands • Spray markers • Crayon, chalk, or paint stick • Raddle paint • Stick tags • Neck chains, straps, or collars
  35. 35. Official Scrapie ID • USDA requires almost all sheep and goats to have premise identification before leaving their place of origin (birth). • Exception: young animals (<18months) going directly to slaughter • The ear tag has the owner’s premise ID number on one side and the individual animal ID on the other. • Tattoos are permissible for registered animals, if registration papers accompany animal. • Records must be kept for 5 years on all animals.
  36. 36. Scrapie identification • Metal tags (and applicators) are free from USDA. • Plastic tags are no longer available. • Metal tags are problematic for sheep shearers. • Do not need to apply tags until animals leave farm. • To get a premise ID number (and order free tags and applicator) call toll free 1-866-873-2824.
  37. 37. Ear tags for identification • Ear tags come in many different designs, shapes, colors, and sizes. • There are brass, aluminum, and plastic tags. • There are button, swivel, and looping (one-piece) tags. • Tags can be custom printed. • Which tag to use is a matter of situation and personal preference.
  38. 38. Electronic ID RFID = radio frequency identification • Wave of the future • May be required in future • Animal health • National Animal ID • 4-H/FFA program • Some electronic tags have been approved as scrapie ID. • Many advantages: facilitates record keeping, eliminates mistakes reading tags • Electronic tags are usually paired with visual ID.
  39. 39. Ear tagging basics • Different tags usually require different applicators. • Proper technique maximizes tag retention and minimizes ear infections. • Proper restraint of animal is necessary to prevent tearing of the ear.
  40. 40. Applicator • Make sure you are using the right applicator for the right tag(s). • Make sure the applicator is working properly. • Do not use applicators with worn or damaged pins. • Insert a tag and make sure the male pin is aligned with the female applicator.
  41. 41. Placement of ear tag • No more than 2 inches from skull • Avoid veins and ridges of cartilage • Put pin (male part) on inside or ear • Put looping tags on top of ear; allow room to grow.
  42. 42. Preventing ear infections • Place tag in center of ear. • Tag lambs/kids instead of mature animals. • Don’t insert tags during fly season (late-spring to summer) • Don’t tag dirty, wet ears. • Metal and round tags cause more infections. • Can apply antibiotic, fly repellent, or disinfectant to ear or tag. • Dip tagger in disinfectant between animals. • Store tags properly. Don’t use dirty tags.
  43. 43. Tattooing for ID • A more permanent form of ID than ear tags. • Required by some breed registries. • Qualifies as scrapie ID, when accompanied by registration certificate. • A second type of ID is usually applied. There are different sized numbers.
  44. 44. Tattooing • Insert correct numbers in pliers and test on piece of paper or cardboard. • Properly restrain animal. • Clean ear with alcohol • Apply ink generously to ear using paste-type or roll-on. • Place symbols parallel to and between veins or cartilage of ear. • Squeeze pliers firmly, then pull straight away. • Apply another layer of ink. • Will heal in 5-21 days. Green ink is best, especially for dark ears.
  45. 45. Thank you.

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