Castration Using Callicrate “Wee Bander”

Ellen Jongman Paul Hemsworth Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne - Meat & Livestock Australia Limited

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Wee Bander does not reduce pain associated with ring castration in 10-11 week old lambs and may even be more painful early after castration than traditional Elastrator rings.

Assessment of pain responses associated with castration of 10-week-old lambs using the Callicrate “Wee Bander” compared with a standard elastrator

What is the problem?

Castration of ram lambs is a standard procedure to facilitate animal management. Ring castration is the most common method of castration of ram lambs and is considered less painful than surgical castration. However, ring castration still results in acute pain for at least 2 hours after castration.

This MLA project investigated the following question: Does castration proportion of lambs using the Callicrate WEE Bander result in reduced pain compared to castration using the Elastrator’?

What did the research involve?

  • 60 ewes with six to seven week-old ram lambs were transported from a commercial farm to the Werribee DEPI site
  • 10 low-light video cameras were used to continuously record the behavior of lambs in the experiment.
  • Blood samples (8ml) were collected via venipuncture from the jugular vein with a lithium heparin vacutainer and a 20g needle immediately prior to treatment and at 30, 60, 120, 180 and 240 min after treatment.

What were the key findings?

  • In comparison with the Control treatment, both castration treatments clearly affected behavior in the first 2 h after castration.
  • The castration treatments increased cortisol concentrations for at least two hours after castration.
  • The reduction in the feeding of chaff observed in the first two hours after castration, particularly in those lambs castrated with the Wee Bander, was also reflected in the weight gain/loss.

Final Comment

In conclusion, “the behavioral and physiological results of the present experiment indicate that the Wee Bander does not reduce pain associated with ring castration in 10- to 11-week-o compared using chi-squared analysis”.

2014 - Australia - Ellen Jongman Paul Hemsworth Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne - Meat & Livestock Australia Limited
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