Having second thoughts about the Burdizzo

In my last post I mentioned having the shearer wether a couple of my crossbred lambs with a burdizzo.
Oh my, I had no idea how awful that burdizzo looks.  I might have him band them today.  Or maybe just leave them intact.  They are so sweet and their fleece is so crimpy and fine, I'd love to keep them for their fiber and wethering them means they could live longer, more peaceful lives. I'll see what the shearer advises.


  1. I'm not sure that banding would be any kinder :-/. We have the vet come and do it and he (after a couple prelim steps) clamps them with something that might be sort of like that. Holds it for a minute or so and then it's pretty much "over". No one's shown the same pain level as banding as babies, where they might flail around and cry for as much as 30 minutes. No good options :-/.

  2. Sara, your experience is what happened here today. The shearer said these boys were too big to band. So he used the burdizzo and they didn't seem to be in pain at all during the process. That was such a relief to me. They are a bit stiff and sore now though. I'm going to pen them separate from the rest of the boys so I can keep a good eye on them. If all goes well from here on out, I'm thinking using the burdizzo is be kinder than banding.

  3. How old are these boys Becky? Is there a certain age where you can no longer do away with the family jewels? The only thing I know is that you band them before 3 months or your in trouble. Also thought you'd like to hear that Maxwell, son of Harwell, was a daddy this spring. Two beautiful girls.The mom is a colored Teeswater but both the girls look just like Maxwell. One black and one white. I am so glad to have this overly friendly BFL as a part of my small outside family.

  4. Linda, thanks for the update on Maxwell. I'm so glad you have him in your flock and have taken such good care of him. :-)
    These two ram lambs are almost 5 months old, born in the end of April to Harwell's half-sisters (BFLs), sired by a Shetland ram. They are doing pretty well eating, grazing, etc. within hours of the procedure. One can use a burdizzo on rams of any age, it just crushes the spermatic cords. There is no blood and as we noted, the ram doesn't seem to experience pain during the process.
    The two boys I had wethered yesterday would have been great for siring lambs. Their colors are unique. That's why I didn't wether them earlier. But no one has shown interest in buying them so I thought I would work them into my fiber flock for the long run. I love the BFL/Shetland cross fleece and to have it in these colors (dark chocolate brown and a sparkling blue grey) will be great!

  5. I have to tell you that my old sheep vet used the Burdizzo on a few of my rams-- and his own-- and it didn't entirely work! He had lambs he didn't expect when his "wethers" ran with the ewe flock, and I had half-successful wethers. Just a caution. I do agree that the rammies didn't act as injured by it as I've heard banding does. My vet did give a local anesthetic, though, one of the times.

  6. Thanks for warning Gail. The shearer told me to be cautious too. He said to watch for shrinkage as a sign of success. So far, they look the same as the other boys. I really should be put them ALL farther away from the ewes, I don't want any more break out breeding. Although I'm still kind of tempted to trade you that polled moorit gulmoget ram for a Finn ram lamb...maybe then I would use him on two ewes.


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