Monday, August 9, 2010

Dangling Participles

Raising calves is generally very pleasant for them.  We feed bottles and then buckets of milk which they like. We feed leafy organic hay in self serve buckets, which they like. We apply organic No Fly spray to ears and other parts which leaves a nice scent of cloves, which they like. We rub their necks and give them fresh cold water. Also well liked.

And then we castrate them.

Different than the cutting process done with piglets, castrating calves involves rubberbands. (Yeah, I see all you guys out there instinctively pulling your legs together. )  At a few weeks of age, and after we are sure the testicles have descended, Keith uses a special hand held device that pulls the rubberband wide and allows him to slip it up and over the testicles wrapping tight to the area that connects the testicle to the calves body.

The calves do jump and or kick for a few brief moments but then very quickly settle down and begin eating again . I am amazed by this. No human male I know would be able to concentrate on a meal, no matter how big the T-bone in front of him, if I had just lassoed his privates. Its not that animals don't perceive pain but I believe they percieve it differently. Or maybe their will to survive is actually stronger than ours.

After a couple of weeks the calves testicles shrivel up from the lack of blood circulation and just fall off.
A bull becomes a steer. And men all over the world feel a little shiver run through them. Not exactly the same as an angel getting her wings everytime a bell rings, but pretty close.


  1. Awe yes, the elasticators. We've used them on lambs and kid goats but we castrate pigs and calves with a knife. My dad has this method on calves of tearing that means there is almost no blood involved and we use that method instead of the elasticators. Why? who knows, maybe tradition. But whether it is elasticators or the knife, anything is better than the sheepherders that use their teeth to castrate lambs. Been to a few dockings where that was done. GROSE!!!

    Had to laugh at the photos. Only a farm girl would be taking those pictures. We've learned to not use the elasticators too late in the summer as around here maggots become involved. Been there done that and won't repeat the experience.

  2. The realities of farm life! Poor little buggers:) We have friends who prefer that we would castrate with a knife later on rather than use the elasticator so that they can enjoy the delicacy of Mountain Oysters. Hmmm..... not me:)) The kids wondered if those rubber bands would work to keep a few favorite Tom cats home~ not gonna find out I told them!

  3. Hmmmm.....our Catholic-run insurance company won't cover this procedure....hmmmm.....

  4. This post did make my legs clamp together even though I no longer have anything to protect.

    I am glad that when I had my accident and my testicles were removed I was not conscious and they called it bi-lateral orchiectomy and not castration.

    I am also glad testosterone replacement therapy allows me to be fully functional where it counts the most.

  5. I think women have a far more realistic attitude to castration than all the blokes who would clamp their legs together. Yep, painful, but they will soon be numb. And tell me, whats the choice, castration and a tee bone steak, or castration and no tee bone steak? So yeah you farm girls, take the photos always wondered what happened once the band was on for a while, now I know.

    No, don't get me wrong, not keen on being de-tinkled thanks, but if I did I think a tight band would be better than the knife or burdizzo.

    Thanks Paul