Wethering (OP: 4/2014)

A subject to make any male cringe a little!

Wethering is the process of neutering a male goat. There are several methods of wethering, which I will touch upon in this post.

Many many breeders still believe that wethering at a young age will cause urinary calci later in life. If this was true, then intact bucks would not get urinary calci, and they most certainly can.

Urinary calci is caused by an imbalance of phosphorous and calcium – in essence, it’s a diet caused issue. Grain + grass hay is a lot of phosphorous, which is what causes the stones. Alfalfa is needed to balance this issue, or simply preventing the animal from eating grain if they do not need it.

Banding

The most common form of wethering that keepers use is the banding method. It’s efficient and very rarely has side effects.

I prefer to band at about 10-12 weeks but have done it earlier (and later) with no issues. The urinary tract is going to shrink no matter what age you do it, and it shrinks by a very miniscule amount.

You use a lamb band and the tool (procured at nearly any feed store). I get my husband to hold the male in his lap, and the band is passed over the testicles and settled above them, making sure to not capture the teats or bits of stomach skin in the band.

From there, the testicles will dry up and fall off.

An older buck can be done by placing them on a milk stand, hobbling their legs, and passing one testicle at a time through the band.

Spraying the area with an antiseptic or iodine is recommended.

Here are some great links about banding:

http://www.wikihow.com/Band-a-Goat

http://www.goatwisdom.com/ch9husbandry/banding.html

Surgical/Knife

Wethering using a scalpel and the removal of the testicles is not for the faint of heart, but it is quick and rather easy, once you get the hang of it. This is best done with young kids, as they heal quickly and the cords are not large.

Here is a great link to learn more about this method:

http://www.thegoatspot.net/Wethering-Surgical-Technique.html

Burdizzo/Emasculatome

I have never used this piece of equipment, and have heard both positive and negative reviews upon it. When properly done, it appears to be a quick method and can be used on any age buck.

Learn more about it here:

https://fiascofarm.com/goats/buck-wether-info.htm#burdizzo