Question: Does castration retard the growth of young rams?
Yes, it does. When you have two 1-month-old rams who weigh exactly the same and you castrate only one, you will discover that the castrated one’s growth slows down and it loses the characteristics of a ram, while the other maintains a higher growth rate and the characteristics of a ram.
Professor Tertius Brand says this was confirmed by a study at Elsenburg in South Africa’s Western Cape Province during 1992, which showed that castrated Dorper and SA Mutton Merino lambs grew approximately 10% slower up to age of 5 months.
So, the younger male animals are when castrated, the less the impact on their growth. The market determines whether you should castrate or not. When the market prefers castrated rams, castrate them as young as possible, preferably in the first few days after birth.
- This article was written by Cois Harman and first appeared in Farming SA.