Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shocking Discovery II

Imagine my surprise when I saw this sack hanging between the legs of the steer we castrated months ago. What? To be fair, Garth and I had been remarking over the last two weeks about what a great head he had. We mused about how much grander his head would be if we had only left him intact, letting testosterone mold his forms from the inside out. How astute we were. Testosterone did have a dog in this hunt.

How did we get here? Well, first of all, we've had several equipment failures. People sell banding devices for castrating calves, and the ones we've bought and put to use have failed unanimously. They come with a few metal prongs that you put a small rubber band around. You squeeze the two handles together to open the taught rubber band wide enough to fit around two small testicles. Once on the animal, you leave the rubber band in place and slowly, over a number of days, it cuts off the circulation to them entirely. You are left with an emasculated animal who will not fight with your bull for dominance or breed an unsuspecting young heifer. This is what we want. This is not what we have. In Gonzo's case, one of the prongs of the 'elastrator' broke in the act and Edmund and Garth were forced to find another way. In a pinch they used the resources they had and resorted to tying a very tight band around them. It looked like it would work for a number of months, but apparently his testicles fought back. A thin white line now traces where this band lay. Oh well.

We've been pondering what to do about this. It's a management problem. He's been in with the heifers, but now we don't want to risk him breeding one of them. We could call the vet and pay to have him castrated. Now that he's a larger animal this would be a more involved and painful process. I'm not inclined to put him through that. The only other option is slaughtering and butchering him before it gets too warm. This is likely what we'll do. As a steer he was set for an eventual slaughter a few years from now, so nothing dramatically different is awaiting him. It's just that we thought we had years to watch him grow and now it doesn't look like we do.

We're on the market for an elastrator that works. If anyone has a lead, or an old one from your milking days that never let you down, give us a shout. We could use a quality product.


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