July 14, 2009
A couple of days ago we castrated our little bull calves. This year "we" really meant something. In the past, when our boys lived at home, Keith would get their help to hold calves while he applied the rubber band or as I like to call it, the testicular eliminator. But, the boys are grown and mamma is the main helper now. Fortunately, we had an intern to assist. Young farmer-to-be "A" who through gritted teeth and half closed eyes (this process is always harder on the menfolk) made the task go pretty quick. Placing the rubberband was easier than I thought. You just reach between their back legs (with your own face off to the side as much as possible) find the scrotum and pull it through the the the little device that stretches out the rubberband, then you pull that handy tool back, leaving the rubberband in place up above the two testicles.
What always amazes me is how these little guys pop back so quickly after this is done. No pre-op Versed, no post-op Morphine. Having a very tight and tiny rubber band applied at the top of your scrotum would be bad enough but for the process to work it has to be LEFT ON until the scrotal sack completely dies and falls off. (Yeah, I see you crossing your legs) Yes, they hop around a little bit afterwards but not for long. And they eat and drink normally at the next feeding. They were even jumping and leaping at me for their bottle like they always do.
I've been watching them, and their parts, these last few days, observing how the lack of circulation to that area causes the sack to shrink and making sure they were OK even though my husband assures me they will be. I'm just so in awe of how these babies recover without any antibiotics, sterile dressing changes (or any dressing at all !) or social service intervention for their impending loss. Now some of you are likely asking, "Hey, why is OK to castrate them but not dehorn them ?" Fabulous question. Because...having a bunch of horny bulls running around would just be nuts wouldn't it. ?
Oh come on. You HAD to have seen that one coming.