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Production and management considerations of running wethers, hemi-castrates and induced cryptorchids for wool production

Citation

Foster, FM and Jackson, RB and Hopkins, DL and Corkrey, R, Production and management considerations of running wethers, hemi-castrates and induced cryptorchids for wool production, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 37, (3) pp. 303-310. ISSN 0816-1089 (1997) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 1997 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/EA95122

Abstract

Male, fine wool Merino sheep which had been subjected to different methods of castration as lambs were assessed from 22 to 46 months of age for their suitability for wool production, their tolerance to posthitis and their carcass characteristics.

Hemi-castrates produced significantly (P<0.001) more clean wool than induced cryptorchids of a similar fibre diameter. Induced cryptorchids and hemi-castrates were significantly (P<0.05) heavier than wethers. Partial hemi-castrates and induced cryptorchids had significantly (P<0.001) heavier and leaner carcasses (lower GR measurement) than wethers and testosterone-treated wethers. Induced cryptorchidism and hemi-castration proved to be effective means of reducing the prevalence of posthitis such that as the degree of castration decreased the proportion of animals with higher posthitis scores decreased (P<0.001).

Testosterone levels in induced cryptorchids (1.01 ng/mL) and hemi-castrates with partial reduction of the parenchyma (0.83 ng/mL) were similar, whereas hemi-castrates with complete reduction of the parenchyma in the 1 remaining testicle had a significantly (P<0.001) lower level (0.32 ng/mL) and significantly (P<0.001) lighter testes.

Development of horns and obvious scrotums by induced cryptorchids and hemi-castrates with partial reduction of the parenchyma in the 1 remaining testicle attracted penalty rates at shearing and slaughter. Some induced cryptorchids and hemi-castrates exhibited masculine behaviour, but they were unlikely to be fertile because although spermatozoa were present they were abnormal and/or non-motile.

Hemi-castrates with full reduction of the parenchyma in the 1 remaining testicle offer significant advantages over the other groups for wool production. Severe posthitis was not observed, they were infertile, they did not attract penalty rates for shearing or slaughter and their clean fleece weight, wool quality, carcass weight and grade were comparable with or superior to wethers. To reduce dependence on synthetic hormones to control posthitis, traditional complete castration techniques could be replaced with this type of partial castration in wool-producing flocks.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Research Group:Animal Production
Research Field:Animal Production not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Livestock Raising
Objective Field:Sheep - Meat
Author:Corkrey, R (Dr Ross Corkrey)
ID Code:39587
Year Published:1997
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2006-06-08
Last Modified:2015-04-01
Downloads:0

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