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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Livestock Castration... A Dirty Job?


As I get more and more intersted in life on the farm, I search deeper and deeper into the "behind the scenes" workings, as it were. I was reading one of my daily favorite blogs called Rural Revolution detailing how Patrice and Don brought home their new Jersey heifer named Polly. In this blog Patrice noted her jealousy of a custom-made "squeeze chute."

Say what? Okay, now I have to research what all a "squeeze chute" can be used to perform. Somewhere between tagging the ears and tattooing, I start thinking of castration. Sure, I've heard of it and know what it means...but I never actually wondered how they actually DO it...until now.

So, like any good college educated dad, I went to youtube :-) First I learned how to castrate a bull calf from Penn State. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the testicles PULLED from the calf's pelvis BY HAND after a small incision allowed them to be exposed through the bottom of the scrotum. Yep. This woman just grabbed ahold of a testicle and pulled it off. She then instructed that you have to search around for the second testicle because it tends to retract after the first one gets pulled. Really? I think I would retract too!

So that's it. Pop! Pop! Rub a little betadine on there and galloping back into the field he goes. I should mention that the video does advocate a numbing agent if the animal is over 30 days old. Pshh. Numbing agent. Who needs that?

Youtube, being the ever suggestive tool that it is, offered me more links to more castrations. A very vocal calf being castrated, a hilarious snippet of the show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe castrating a horse, and another Dirty Job episode where Mike learns how to castrate sheep...using his teeth (No, I'm not kidding).

All joking aside, its obvious that real life on the farm includes duties such as castration. You can either pay the local Veterinarian to do it or do it yourself. Personally, if my TEETH are involved, I'm calling a Vet.

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