Friday, April 10, 2009

Frumpy Friday - A boring blog lately, lets spice it up! lets talk about CASTRATION!

Like my post title?
Well thats how today feels..plain ol' frumpy.
I had a wonderful morning at PT though...the traction and therapy bed are totally awesome. And really help a lot. My back had been hurting the past two days (lower left), but the pain has been relieved somewhat after therapy! YEA!
Its been stormy all day today....some warnings again...the typical spring weather.
Rode with Norm to feed...I actually hadn't fed in awhile with it was good to get out and see the girls and their bouncing babies! LOL I do mean bouncing...those little calves just bounce and hop and skip all over the place. They are so much fun. I love when the unruly babies are with their babysitters, its so cool how they will obey another cow other than their momma!
I received an email today from one of my best, and truest friends in the entire world. My dear friend Michelle has had a really rough year. Her husband Shane, has had some major back problems, and had to miss a lot of work, and not to mention the unbearable pain, and they cant find a reason for it, nor have they been able to fix the problem. Now Michelle is having health problems herself. She has all the symptoms of a stroke, but they have ruled that out. Slurred speech, talks and moves real slow, and to top it off her husbands place of employment is closing. So they are forced to move. I'm so sad and worried...please - those of you who are prayer warriors, please include my dear friend in a prayer tonight! This woman has been there for me when others hadn't..she is one special God fearing woman, a true meaning of the word Christian.
So that has really been a downer today, I cant wait to visit and talk with her soon.
(by the way- before I forget- can go Here for the post about her and HERE for some pictures of my beautiful girl about Babe that you missed!)
So anyway...I realized that my blog has been pretty boring, no farm information really, nothing about raising cattle, management, horses, etc. How boring is that!!? about a topic called..CASTRATION! (ouch) I waited to place this at the bottom in case you dont really want to read about it. But if you scroll down below I've got some more around the farm stuff posted. We are castrating and vaccinating this next weekend.
First Of All - What is Castration and Why?
Castration is removal of the testicles of a male animal. Castrating bull calves is very easy and uncomplicated procedure. There are several that can be used. Feeder steers sell for more than bulls and once a cull is castrated he then becomes..ta da!...a steer! They are also less likely to hurt each other trying to be macho if they are castrated. They can also be housed with heifers without impregnating them. If a heifer calf is bred before she is of age to could and most often kills the young heifer calf... the baby almost never survives. Producers prefer steers because the quality of meat is better. Some people wait to castrate until the calves grow some to see if there are particular bulls they would like to keep. Castration when its cold, wet and rainy leaves chance for infection when they lay in the mud. Castrating when its too hot can lead to flies (if cut) both of which can cause infection. We castrate in groups, sorting all the calves from their moms (I dont like that part at all and if at all possible I just watch! Those big cows being separated from their babies are scary and I just prefer to watch! LOL
When the calves are all sorted we push them into the barn, heifers as well. We also vaccinate at this time, so everyone goes through the chute. Our barn is really laid out perfectly, in fact Doc loves it when he is called to our barn( he doesnt come for this, we do it ourselves since it is such an easy procedure)...we have alley ways and doors positioned in strategic places.
We castrate our young bulls when they are a month to three months old. Why hurt those babies so young you ask!? The biggest reasons are 1. they are easier to handle, a young 100 pound calf running at you is easy to block...they dont kick near as hard as a 400 pound calf! Calves figure out when they cannot be pushed back they run forward...even if that means on top of you! They are a fight or flight animal, based on fear. 2. There is less stress involved with a younger calf, healing time is very quick, and often involves very little pain for them. It sounds terrible for us to think of it...but its really not as gruesome as we would think. Once a calf is in the chute, we of course determine if its a bull calf, or heifer calf. To hold a calf/cow to keep them from kicking or to push them forward, you pull the tail up, over,and forward over the calf/cows back. It disables them so they cannot kick..that would hurt if your castrating and you get kicked in the face! The testicles are enclosed in the scrotum. Each testicle is covered by a tough, strong membrane called the vaginal tunic. The spermatic cord attaches to the top of the testicle. In addition to carrying sperm from the testicle, the spermatic cord contains all the blood supply to the testicles. (had to look up that information) BUT we use a “bloodless” method of castration and use a (emasculatome) or “Clamping.” The clamps “pinch” the cord (spermatic cord)
through the skin of the scrotum. A good clamp can be closed on an ordinary sheet of paper should crease the paper but not cut through it. To clamp the bull you must feel the scrotum and, move the testicles to the bottom of the scrotum. Find the spermatic cord above the testicle and place the clamps over the cord and about 2 inches above the testicle The clamps are closed. It should be possible to feel the cord snap apart after the jaws are closed. ( it sounds like breaking Styrofoam.) The clamps should never be clamped across the middle of the scrotum. After clamping and vaccination the calf is let out of the chute. They are a little sore for a day or two, lay around a lot...but actually are very little affected by clamping. Some people use banding, but you have to band the calf before 36 hours old to be most effective. There is also a surgical procedure where the scrotum is cut open and the testicles are cut and disposed of, they are more sore, and bleed, we dont like that one! Its just not as easy on us all. Everyone is ran through the chute vaccinated and let back with momma cow. The scrotum just shrivels, dies and dries up. Everyone chooses a method that they like best, so your bound to find many with different methods all in the same community.
We have fun handleing the young calves (not the clamping!) but they are so darn cute! We also tag them at this time, steers get a tag in the left ear, and heifers in the right ear! Easy way to tell them apart in the field and when sorting later to sell and decide which heifer calves we want to keep to continue building the herd. So next weekend will be a busy one for sure!
Bulls go in with the cows on May 1st. Which means that these heifers behind the house should be done calving and my boys can go in a much bigger pasture with grass! LOL Right now the lot they are in is good sized but stays more wet and grass is slow to grow there for some reason. I need to start acclimating them to grass now so they dont get colic. Its a big change in diet for them. So I'll let them graze a little each day on some fresh grass (a natural lawn mower) and get their guts ready to handle the new pasture. I'm kinda hoping that we can bring all the horses over here behind the house and get the others (Molly, Bella, and Buck) out of their little pasture. Its muddy a lot, grass dont grow well, and is smaller. I'm also hoping that Norm can use that lot for the feeder calves we will keep for butchering there, so that I can use the barn for the horses, my bottle calves, and milking. We didn't get Neil over to help clear out the out building I'm turning into a coop/goat shed yet..but I NEED to do this soon and get some chickens!
I'm really distraught Pepper was nowhere in sight tonight when I went to feed! Leah said she didnt see her the other day, but then she wasnt looking and I hadnt been in the barn in a few I dont know if she is actually missing or just roosting tonight and I couldnt find her....crossing my fingers that she is alive and well!!! I was going to move her and Carrot (our bunny) to the makeshift coop we used all summer. I really hope nothing happened to her. I really love that chicken! I've got some work in the barn to do this weekend, rabbit cage needs cleaning, horses need tending to, and stalls need mucking. I cant muck right now while they are working on my back, but Neil sure can! (hint hint Neil!!!!) I walked a mile today, my toe is hurting like crazy too, but gonna do it tomorrow too anyway. Mari has invited me to go to water aerobics with her so I am going to take her up on her offer and hopefully get this 50 pounds off me I want to loose..yes 50...I want to be the size I was after Leah was born. Well its what I want, but I'm going with a goal of 30. Thats more realistic. I should have all my soap making supplies that I was out of in by tomorrow (Shelly I have not forgotten you I promise!!!) and I can also begin making my soap and other products again! YEA! I love getting new fragrances and supplies in its like Christmas! Okay enough typing for tonight...its about bedtime, my eyes are getting heavy! Check ya'll tomorrow! Have a good night and God Bless you all! (OH and have a good Easter!)
"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth."- Mahatma Gandhi


  1. Oh goodness! That is quite a post! Thanks for the education on castration, that was actually very interesting. I have heard of "calf fries" so I am assuming those that don't use clamps or banding would do it this other way then use the testes for....gulp.... eating? I just can't imagine...anyway, sounds like you have a good system down. How many calves do you typically have on the ground at one time?
    I hope you have a great Easter weekend!

  2. Calf Fries...totally gross! LOL Luckly we dont get those whith clamping..however did watch my Rocky Mountain Horse- Buck, get gelded and it was interesting, but looked painful and those testicals are gross...why would anyone even want to eat calf fries, or tounge, or anything else that I dont think was made for eating on a cow! LOL We have 150 head of cows....perfect circumstances would give us 150 calves..however there are always a few losses with that many cows...a typical year would yeild 5 losses or so due to casting, premature, calf too large, still birth, even vultures! We have had a good year so far. Hope you too have a great Easter weekend!

  3. Great post. Lots of great info, especially for a wannabe cow owner. The castration doesn't sound too bad.

  4. Okay...I admit, that I couldn't read the C bit- Rae too heavy for the dinner I am having right now..maybe later!
    I hope that your chicken comes back to roost and is not lost at all!Silly Pepper scaring you like that!
    That is a good goal there with water a. class..I too, am on the heavy side, and need to loose so my horse does NOT buck me off..she does notice everything!
    I pray you well this Easter and hope that the Light of life be bright in your soul!!! XO Kac

  5. We've not castrated the past couple of years. The beauty of lambs is that they head off to freezer camp before becoming too awful obnoxious! So no lamb fries here, lol!

  6. I'm hoping you guys are okay after last nights storms. Did you find Pepper? Silly chicken to worry you. Have a Happy Easter!

  7. Hi there Country Girl! Nah, castration isnt bad, if you use the clamps..things go faster and fact very few bull calfs even make a sound.
    Glad you got some good info for when you get some cattle! Good luck

  8. RAe I know all about the Castration part of things. Ringed a few calves in my time that's for sure. I do them at three weeks it saves getting the vet out later. Poor little things. Never mind bulls as you know are TROUBLE.LOL No your blog is never boring. All mine seems to have on it are cats right now. A cat farm? Maybe at this rate is will be a cat farm and useless animal sanctuary..I've been really busy with trying to get Autumn jobs done before the horrible weather sets in for winter. Yuk I hate winter.

    Hugs and loads of love

    PS Thanks for your comment on Emerald. She's putting on loads of weight now and is looking much better.

  9. Thanks for your very kind comment on my blog yesterday.

    Have to admit I hate castrating, makes me very glad to have dairy cattle! Those baby boys quite often become someone else's problem.


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