Thursday, October 3, 2013

Castration day

For the first time since 2008, I castrated lambs. It was in 2009 that I discovered that I could get just as much meat from an intact lamb at six months as I could with a castrated lamb at a year or more, which was after feeding him through the winter. So, why put the little guys through castration and buy hay for them when they can grow so much faster with the aid of their own testosterone?

I am not entirely sure what happened this year, but only about a third of the ram lambs are big enough to be worth the cost to butcher, so we decided to castrate the little guys and let them stick around a little longer. About a third of the boys were only a little smaller than normal sized, but the last third were tiny little things. Maybe they were inbred? It was a bit of a free for all last fall, so it would have been a miracle if there wasn't at least some inbreeding.

These are the three rams that have their date with destiny next week. I got a little carried away taking pictures of them. They are handsome boys!

The others will be spending the winter with us and be sent to the locker sometime next year, probably depending upon when the grass slows down.


tpals said...

Gorgeous lads!

Spinners End Farm said...

Will they be banded or are they too large? We left our boys too long this year and I can't get their testicles in the bander even one at a time!

Unknown said...
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Heather said...

Deborah, I have always heard that you can't process unless they are wethered because the meat tastes too bad. My processor refuses to process ram lambs after about 4 months old, telling us the meat will be inedible. So your post blew me away! You have eaten intact ram lambs and didn't find the meat disagreeable? Also, I tried to band a ram this year who was about 5 months old and getting the testes into the bander proved to be impossible at that age. What method are you using to castrate?

Deborah Niemann said...

We've eaten ram lambs up until about 7 months of age, and they've been delicious! We also sell them and have had no complaints. We even have lots of repeat customers year after year. The meat is quite mild. In fact, my husband's sister was not happy one year when she heard we were having lamb for Easter, but even she loved it. I wonder if some breeds are more disagreeable if not wethered?

We started using a Burdizzo quite a few years back, so size and/or age is not a factor. And there is no blood loss, so you don't have to worry about that either.


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