Castration of Waterfowl (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Caponisation, Caponization, Orchidectomy.
Description The following description outlines the procedure as described by Olsen (B13.46.w1).
  • Anaesthetise.
  • Place in lateral recumbency.
  • Extend the wings and tape above the body.
  • Extend the leg on the upper side fully caudally to expose the surgical site.
  • Pluck the area over the last two ribs cranial to the femur.
  • Prepare for surgery.
  • Make a one-half-inch vertical incision between the last two ribs N.B. care to avoid lung, which extends almost to the last intercostal space.
  • Use retractors to keep the ribs separated.
  • Use blunt dissection through the air sac to reveal the testicle.
  • Clamp two curved haemostats (artery forceps) between the testicle and the body wall, leave in place for two minutes, then pull the outer (testicle side) haemostat away, tearing the testicle free.
  • OR apply two haemostatic clips between the testicle and the body wall, with care not to occlude the aorta or vena cava.
  • Close the rib incision using absorbable suture material in a simple interrupted pattern.
  • Close the skin.
  • Repeat on the other side of the bird to remove the second testicle.


Appropriate Use (?) May be used to reduce the aggression of a pet goose or duck towards other waterfowl, other animals or people, and to prevent breeding (B13.46.w1).
Notes --
Complications/ Limitations / Risk Procedure is safest in young birds (B13.46.w1).
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers Equipment and consumables for general anaesthesia and surgery, including surgical instruments and consumables suitable for the size of the bird.
Expertise level / Ease of Use Procedure should only be undertaken by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience; this would usually be a veterinarian.
Cost/ Availability May be quite expensive: cost of general anaesthesia and surgical operation.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery."(see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).
Author Debra Bourne
Referee --
References B13.46.w1

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