Impacts of Castration and Docking Method on Lamb Stress and Performance
The objectives of this study were to determine which method of castration and docking causes more stress to lambs and subsequent effects on performance. For this study 60 crossbred lambs, 31 females and 29 males, were assigned to one of two treatment groups. Female lambs were docked while male lambs were castrated. Lambs were docked or castrated with either an All-in-One tool or by elastrator rubber band. Ewe lambs docked with an elastrator band were more restless than lambs docked with an All-in-One (p < 0.01). There were no differences in mean 93 day weight between ewe treatments (p = 0.93). Male lambs castrated with an elastrator band vocalized more (p = 0.03) and were more restless than lambs castrated with an All-in-One (p = 0.05). Mean 93 day weight was affected by treatment with banded males weighing more than All-in-One castrated males (p = 0.03). Results suggest that castration method can affect performance while docking method does not.