Rams or Wethers

I get asked if I castrate my ram lambs and raise wethers for feeder lambs. I do not castrate any ram lambs. I am not against castrating ram lambs. The market in my area want unaltered male lambs and kids to eat due to religious reasons. Wether lambs to not sell as high as ram lambs.

There is the debate on ram lambs gaining weight faster than wether lambs. I have not tested to determine if that is true or not. I have not really read anything concerning if ram lambs gain faster and reach butcher weight faster than wether lambs.

I am told ram lamb meat has a stronger taste than wether lamb meat. Again I have not eaten wether lamb. But I have eaten ram lamb and ewe lamb meat and could not determine any different taste or texture between the two.

I raise both breeding stock and market lambs. Dorper ram lambs are capable and very willing to breed when they reach 60 pounds. I do separate my rams and ewe lambs shortly after weaning. I sell off the market lambs at 9 to 10 weeks of age, so the only ram lambs I have are breeding stock. Those rams go into a pen and are fed until they are about nine to ten months old, then sold as breeding rams. There are times the rams for breeding do not meet my criteria as a herd sire, and they are taken to the sale as market lambs.

I would castrate if I did not have room for a separate pens to sort ewe lambs from ram lambs. I do not need unexpected and close bred lambs on the my farm.

My answer to if I castrate my ram lambs, no. But if a person wants to castrate their ram lambs that is there choice. If my market for feeder lambs was different, I would probably castrate my ram lambs in order to free up a pen, only keep the full blood registerable ram lambs whole for future breeding stock.

The sheep farmer has to determine what is best for the profit of the farm and caring for the sheep.


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