How to Castrate Goats by Banding

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Castration--removing the testicles--is a common management tool used by goat owners to prevent unwanted pregnancies and undesirable buck behavior, such as aggression and unpleasant odors during breeding season. A low-cost, bloodless method of castration, banding involves using a tool (elastrator) to stretch a special rubber band (castrating band) around a male kid’s scrotum, cutting off blood flow to the testicles. You should band your buck kids when they’re still young, preferably under 4 weeks of age.

Things You'll Need

  • Dose of tetanus antitoxin
  • Needle
  • Syringe
  • Elastrator
  • Castrating bands

Check your buck kid (buckling) to make sure the testicles have descended into the scrotum. Gently palpate the scrotum (sac enclosing his testicles), checking for the presence of the testicles (two cordlike structures). Typically, your buckling’s testicles will descend within the first two or three weeks of life.

Administer a subcutaneous shot of tetanus antitoxin in your buckling’s shoulder to minimize tetanus risk. Following individual dosage instructions on the bottle, withdraw the correct amount of antitoxin into your syringe. Pinch your kid’s shoulder skin, insert the needle into the skin and depress the plunger on the syringe completely.

Restrain the buckling. Have a partner sit and cradle the buckling in a sitting position on his lap, grasping the front and back leg on one side of the goat’s body with one hand and the front and back leg on the other side of the goat’s body with the other hand. This holding technique should expose the buckling’s scrotal area.

Slide a castrating band onto the elastrator prongs. Turn the prongs toward the kid and open the prongs completely, stretching the band until it is large enough to fit around the buckling’s scrotum. Push the band all the way up toward the top of the scrotum, being careful to stop before you encircle the teats.

Palpate the buckling’s scrotum, making sure that the band is encircling both testicles. Release the band from the elastrator and pull the elastrator away from the goat’s body. Check the scrotal area again to ensure the band is still encircling both testicles.

Release the buckling and give him a bottle of milk or place him in with his mother to nurse. According to Penn State Cooperative Extension, the buckling will show signs of pain for about 10 to 15 minutes after the procedure.

Check your buckling’s castration area daily for the next three to four days to make sure there is no swelling or signs of infection. The scrotum should fall off within approximately two weeks of banding.

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