As much as we all love our goat kids, you can only keep so many. Some are great for breeding, but not every goat should be bred. In my herd, I have a fatal genetic defect, which is why I no longer breed with Marley. I also have CAE in the herd. I know my kids are mostly destined for the food supply. I had planned on castrating all of my bucks, turning them into wethers, but I haven’t done a very good job of it. In reality, where I am taking my kids to sell, it’s pretty likely they are going into the food chain even without those precautions.
I’ve had questions on my preferred methods of castration, and I’ll tell you that it depends. Marley was an adult, and he was surgically castrated. I know some people that do all of theirs surgically as an adult. I can’t really say that would be my recommendation. The sedation is very hard on goats. They will even try to do C-sections with a local anesthetic if possible because of the problems anesthesia can cause. It’s also an open wound that is more likely to attract flies and become infected.
When possible, I try to band my bucks because there is less blood and a much quicker recovery time. If I plan on keeping the goat as a wether (Bud, Myson, Casey), I wait until they are a little older. This gives their urinary system more time to develop. Male goats are susceptible to urinary problems because of their very tiny penis. My pets have all been banded between 10 and 12 weeks. They’ve not had any problems. If you are banding bucks that are going to go into the food chain, my vet says he bands his at about 4 – 5 days. He’s not had any problems with them.
Today, our little demo buck is Chip. He was born acting like a buck. He snorts and talks and stomps his hoof and for the last week he’s been relentlessly jumping his maa. It’s the wrong time of year for her to settle, but she is being run ragged spinning in circles trying to get away from him. So he has been volunteered for out tutorial.
Everything you need to band a buck: elastrator, a band (always have an extra in case you break it or shoot it across the barnyard), a shot of overeating tetanus vaccine and a dose of banamine.
You can give the banamine about 20 minutes ahead of the procedure to make sure it’s in the kid’s system, or if they are wild like Chip, you can do it all at once. I give my banamine orally. I know it’s supposed to be a shot, but the shot burns, and I did have one vet tell me you can do it orally. I’ve seen it work, so I know it’s effective that way. Give the tetanus vaccine.
Put a band on the elastrator. Squeeze it a time or two and you’ll see the difference in how easy it is to open it up.
If you have someone to help you, you can hold the kid up straight in front of you, and you get a good view of where you’re working. I personally find this way awkward, and I think it’s hard to hold them this way.
I generally am by myself, so I hold the kid between my legs with the rump to my front. I can’t really see what I’m doing, but I can feel everything I need to get the job done.
Slip the band around the scrotum and move the elastrator up until the prongs are resting on the abdomen. Let go so that it tightens around the scrotum.
Before removing the band by rolling it off the prongs, you might want to check and make sure both testicles are below the band. If not, you have to do it again or you will still have a buck capable of breeding. Open up and pull it away, and you’ve just made a wether.
You’ll notice he had all four feet on the ground the whole time, and that’s a lot more comforting to them than holding them up. I don’t usually pick them up, but I wanted to show you the band on there. It does hurt. They will cry and make you feel guilty, but it doesn’t last long. I don’t think there is such a thing as a painless castration, but I do band to try and be the safest, least painful and quickest recovery.
Chip stayed in the greenhouse with his brother from another mother, Huey, while the big goats had their grain.
Finally, Coffee wanted to feed her boys, and she was hollering for him, so I went and woke him up.
It was about an hour and a half from the time I banded him, and he came running. It might not have been quite as bouncy as usual, but he was not bothered by the band.
His tail was wagging and he and Dale managed to pick their mom up off her back feet.
You do want to keep an eye on it to make sure flies aren’t bothering. If so, just a bit of fly spray. If it looks a bit oosy, you can use some peroxide. The older the buck, the longer it will take for the scrotum to fall off. Usually ten days or so.
Thanks to my sister, Tammy Buck, for the photographer skills. This is one I couldn’t do on my own.