Billies Become Muttons

We recently sorted through our yearling billies, chose ‘keepers’ for ourselves, & selected a group to sell to other ranchers. The remaining billies {about 200} became muttons.

Muttons are male goats that have been castrated. We castrate them with a burdizzo, which is a device that has a large clamp designed to break the blood vessels leading to the testicles. Once the blood supply to the testicles is lost, necrosis occurs & the testicles shrink, soften, & eventually deteriorate completely.


Muttons are beneficial for several reasons. Since they are big & strong, they are not as susceptible to predators. Coyotes prefer young lambs & kids rather than a stout mutton who is ready to fight. Muttons do not reproduce so they can run with nannies at any given time. And since they don’t reproduce, their nutrition maintenance requirements are less.

Consequently, they are able to grow more mohair per year because all of their nutrition goes into growing hair instead of reproduction efforts. Since their nutrition requirement is less, you are able to run more in a pasture at a given time which means greater Ashe Juniper {cedar} control.

We also treated the muttons for chewing lice & tipped their horns. Tipped horns provide a quick, visual distinction between them & billies.