Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pigs: Assisting with Castrations

The Farmer is many things. He is Father to his children and Husband to his wife. He is Steward to his land. He is Master to his dog. To his animals, he is chef, housemaid, and protector. Sometimes, however, he is also the veterinarian. This time, I had the honor of assisting him with castrating the piglets.

Castrating piglets is hard work! Mr. Farmer had to keep his hands clean for the operation, so Young Master Farmer and I had to handle the piglets. He would snatch up a piglet, hand it over the fence to me where Mr. Farmer had set up a station in the vestibule. Then, while I pinned down the baby on my lap and held its mouth shut so it couldn't cry too loud, YMF would run interference between the very concerned adult pigs and the gate. You would be surprised how strong a 2 week old piglet is! It took all my strength to hang on to those wiggly suckers while Mr. Farmer made the incisions, removed the testicles, and sprayed a silver liquid bandage on their bottoms! Three times I handed the completed pigs back to Young Master Farmer, and they were returned to the family without incident (except that Surprise got a little bit of liquid bandage on her nose out of curiosity). I had to take a break to catch my breath between operations!

The two to the left were just castrated.
See the silver liquid bandage?
The brown one on the right is Surprise, a female.

Finding the last male piglet was a challenge. Wilma's litter had been castrated the previous week with our pig-partner in the position I was filling. That left just Mama's four male babies that needed the operation. We checked bottoms to find the one last piglet that remained intact, and Young Master Farmer guessed wrong several times! When we finally found him, he was the least wiggly and quietest of the bunch. I was so relieved when it was over.... and I was so dirty!!

I'm Covered in Mud, Poo, Pee, and Liquid Bandage.
See Why Mr. Farmer Couldn't Touch Piglets?


  1. I have never castrated pigs, but we do band our goats- similar and yucky jobs. God bless you, loving wife, for standing by your man to lend a hand--well done!

  2. Mr. Farmer has done bands in the past. He walked me through the equipment and the process at the supply store the one time. I guess both processes require proper placement, and after trying to hold less-than-ten-pound, two-week-old piglets still, I can see how the bands would be a far superior method for larger animals. You'd probably have to sedate a goat to get him to hold still for a surgical castration!

    Oh, and I like to help. If you are at a party and everyone is chatting, which is a better conversation starter: I made a killer spreadsheet at work the other day! or I witnessed the birth of pigs over the weekend! ?!?!

    You'll notice I don't have a blog about my day job... LOL