Friday, November 20, 2009

You want me to do WHAT ?!?!?!

November 20, 2009

A few days after we brought home our first lot of Red Wattle feeder pigs Keith said to me,

"You know, we'll have to castrate those smaller three. "
And I responded brilliantly, "Really ?"
And he said equally brilliantly, "Yup."
Hmmmmm, I hummed. "Do we use rubber bands like we do on the calves ?"
I continued "Do we call out Dr Whitman to do it ?"
"Do we.....(allowing the suspense to build) it ourselves ?"
"So you've done it before ?"
"And you'll do it again ?" I responded. Thought I better throw that in in case you lost track of the key characters in this rapidly moving drama.
"Nope, I did it in school once but I didn't like it"

So since we have eliminated Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, that would leave me, Miss Scarlet to do the dirty deed. As with any new venture I went to the internet, no not Google, I needed something far more REAL. Youtube it was. Amazing how many pig farmers had actually videotaped the process for castrating baby pigs. Some of the videos were very dark and creepy, one involved about 10 people trying to hold down one small pig. She was wearing a pink ballet skirt. One was very foreign and I'm not really sure it was pigs they were working on. Finally I found one narrated and filmed by a woman (of course) capturing a woman (again, of course) doing the castration in an educated FAIRLY clean manner. I watched it several times.

Today we tested my newly acquired video knowledge in the clinical praticum arena. Keiths workshop. He did the pre-op teaching and lap holding. (We've always done the good cop/bad cop scene really well) while I sharpened up the scapels. We agreed on the right spot to cut, disagreed on the need for betadine wash before and after the procedure and agreed afterwards we could've done worse.

Overall it went well. By the third set of nads my technique had improved and I was sure what needed to be cut VS what should be twisted. I got faster causing less stress for the the little porkers. Post -op bleeding was minimal and non-spurting so I knew no arteries were accidently unearthed. The babies were surpisingly willing to walk immediately afterwards but not without some serious glaring my way.

Just another day in the life of Donna O: Barber of Seville.


  1. Hi Donna,

    Came to your blog via Sugar Mountain Farm. I'm a new hog farmer myself. ;-) We recently acquired a pair of Large Black Hogs. Would you be kind enough to share the links for those YouTube videos? The ones you found most useful? I sure would appreciate. I suspect that as our herd grows, I'm going to be the one doing this deed, while my husband holds the piglets.

    Many thanks. Kimberly

  2. Hello back Kimberly. I cannot remember the exact links but I know I just put "castrating baby pigs " in the Youtube search box. I had to look through many as the film quality was so poor. Are you a nurse or just someone who likes scapels ?
    Good Luck !!