Last Friday I talked about some questions I hear that are about things I don't even think about. I just seem to think everyone knows, so I find them amusing. What is even more amusing is the look on peoples faces when they hear the answers to some of these.
Last week I answered a question about how you tell the difference between the boy and girl cows after you cut off the horns. You can see that at
I finished with saying, I may tell ya why something seems to be missing when ya look for that big hydraulic cylinder sort of a thing...
The questions that lead up to this are, Uh if that's a bull where are his balls? Why don't they have any b...s? Well why do you do that?
First off, he's no longer called a bull. He's now called a steer.
Where are they? Uh, we castrate them. Either band them so they fall off, or cut em off.
Why??? Here is where this guy who's always lookin for a smile begins to have fun!
My quick comeback answer... Well, might be that I'm just mean, Or maybe because I'm jealous, Or do I really like Rocky Mountain Oysters. Heck, I guess it just depends on the mood I'm in.
Now part of that leads to, What are Rocky Mountain Oysters? To which I tell them and ask if they would like some. Well that gets some disgusting facial expressions going... I was a bit troubled once though when one girl had a strange sneer on her face and looked like she might be thinkin about actually saying yes...
Me, hu uh, no way, never had em, never will... Some things will just never get past my lips and that's one of them. If you don't know what they are, they are testicles from the bulls. Maybe now you can understand why they will “never” get past my lips!
So, now on to the long answer. The serious stuff.
To control the genetics of a herd. By castration you can control bad genes and keep from having weak or sickly cattle. You also prevent inbreeding. A bull when he's ready, (and that's about all the time) doesn't even care if it's his own mother or sister. Like some excuses for men, he just wants it now...
Bigger reason is that when he has none he's not so aggressive. It's kind of a testosterone thing. But as I like to say, what ya ain't got can't get in the way of serenity... When you work around mammoth animals trying to feed and clean up and care for them, you really come to appreciate that lack of aggression. It makes them much easier to handle and a heck of a lot safer to be around. Believe me when I say, you really don't want to be turning your back to cut open a bale of hay or clean up a mess with an aggressive bull around...
Also he's a lot easier on equipment and fences. When a bull feels real aggressive he sees equipment, no matter how useful or expensive, as a punching bag. He'll spend his entire day, if he has to, destroying anything around.
The guys also have a tenancy to to let that aggressiveness lead to some serious fighting. That serious fighting can lead to serious injury. That serious injury can lead to serious Vet bills, or worse... Death!
Those fences... Well if his girl toy, choice of the moment, is on the other side of the fence. The fence is no deterrent what so ever. And that holds true if she's on a farm a half mile away... I do have a formula.
( Pretty Girl Cow + Horney Bull + Well Built fence = Well Built Fence in itty bitty mangled pieces. )
It's really easier to control a hormonal teenager than a raging bull, and I'm sure you've seen raging, hormonal teens. Maybe you even remember your teen years... Now make that teen half the size of a pickup truck and have them weigh about a ton or more. How do you propose that can be controlled?
Yet another reason is that like many creatures, glands secrete some nasty tasting smelly stuff. Now the little girl cows may find it appealing but the human taste buds don't. By removing those danglers you cut way back on some of those secretions.
One final reason is that when the guy cows loose them danglers they tend to get a bit lazier and the meat is not quite so lean. A bit of fat makes the steak, roast or burger a lot better tasting.
And like a married man they tend to put on more size when they are no longer chasing after the girls...
Now I'm sure your asking, doesn't that hurt?
For the adults, they are usually done by a Vet and are given shots to numb the pain. Kinda like the dentist does to you.
For the little ones we use bands. They are small, made of heavy rubber and are stretched then slipped over the danglers when the danglers are still really small. The calf generally gets a funny look on its face but in only a few minutes, he's out grazing and playing with all the others. So it really can't hurt to much at all.
Most people who raise cows have a real deep love for the creatures and would not stand still to see any of them put to any kind of pain that was not deemed absolutely necessary. We spend more hours treating and bandaging cuts and scratches on them than we would our own children. We worry more about their health and safety than we do our own. Heck, some of us will not sleep if one gets out of the fence, until we find it and get it home where it belongs.
Yes, we raise them for beef, but we still give them all the care we can while they're with us. We try our best to make sure they have a happy, safe life until they are ready to be put on your table so they can then make you happy.
People need to eat. But just because they are eventually becoming food is no reason that cows can not be treated as kindly as possible. They truly are one really fantastic and lovable creature!