Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Banding Thoughts

Sunday, my friend Janet Cooper came over and showed me how to band the 4 male kids that were born 4 weeks ago. I've always dreaded doing this. I've had dogs and been a member of the dog community since I was 14 or so. From time to time, you hear rumors of people who dock tails or crop ears on puppies by using a rubber band, and this is portrayed as a completely inhumane and irresponsible practice, with horror stories of infection and gangrene.

But with livestock, this is looked at another way entirely. With dairy goats, male kids are sort of an unfortunate side effect of the biological processes needed to stimulate milk production. With meat kids, an intact male that lives any length of time will be too gamey for any but the most hardened taste buds. At the same time, there is no way that farmers could charge enough for these kids to make it financially viable to have them put under by a vet and castrated in the way we do with dogs.

So I was resolved to the necessity, but I was dreading the effects. And indeed the first 24 hours or so were pretty sad. It was clear the babies were uncomfortable--they walked stiff legged and spent a lot of time lying down or getting up and lying down and getting up. And they didn't do their normal climbing and jumping.

But 48 hours later, it's clear that they're pretty much back to their normal spirits and activity level. So it wasn't as bad as I thought.

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