Advisory: There are several pictures of a bloodless castration technique. They are not graphic, but I prefer to warn those who might find them startling.
Here is T-bone, just after being moved onto our trailer almost single-handedly by Gabriella, with just a little push from the rear by Herb and me at the very end. It was a very neat demonstration of how to handle an animal that is not halter broken and load him on a trailer without upsetting him. It was also a nice demonstration of the calm Dexter temperament from a little guy who was having a lot of new experiences in one day: being haltered, separated from mama, and being put on a trailer--not to mention what was to come later.
If you feel squeamish about the subject of castration, you may want to skip the next three pictures. It is, however, a necessary operation in beef-raising. Although leaving an animal "intact" until at least five months (closer to nine in T-bone's case, since he is small for his age) allows the testosterone to stimulate muscle growth (and meat is muscle), it is obvious that even young bulls cannot run with cows and heifers.
Gabriella, as a conscientious breeder, keeps only the best bulls for breeding, and T-bone is not breeding quality. So for the good of the breed, for our own management on a small farm, and for the peace of our other animals, T-bone has to be castrated.
Amazingly, T-bone stood quite still most of the time that Herb worked on him. It's a lot trickier than it looks, necessitating getting the band around the scrotum and back, fitting it into a very tiny slit and pulling it tight.
We gave him some hay and headed home. He travelled really well, adding one more experience to his big day of firsts.
First time away from mama
First time haltered
First time on a trailer
First time to travel
First time to hop off a trailer
Four new animals staring at you as you climb down, all of them bigger than you
First time being chased by a horse . . .
Who wouldn't need a drink?