"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bye Bye Baby Balls

This picture of me and Clove is a couple of weeks old. Don't we look happy? Back then, I didn't know that Clove would be food. I thought we would sell him as a buck. But then Flopsy had her baby, Storm Cloud, a buck who is a thousand times cuter. Storm Cloud will be sold as a buck, and Clove becomes just a surplus male. 

Of course, we don't actually HAVE to eat him. But he's worth more as meat than I could sell him for alive. He's a big, strapping buckling, I think he will easily weigh in at 125 or 150 by October. That's about 60 pounds of prime, pasture raised chevon. Assuming no unexpected costs, that meat should work out to a cost to us of about $2.75  a pound. Have you priced organic lamb lately?

And if we don't eat him, then we won't eat any kid this year. We decided to keep Tutu (oh those little girls are masters of extortion), and Sandy is spoken for - she's meat for the Kale Fairy, who is providing us with an organic CSA share in exchange. (Funny, wouldn't you think the Kale Fairy would be a vegetarian?) So we eat Clove or don't eat any goat at all. And I haven't time or inclination to go into it right now, but I feel it's very important to eat a goat this year.

As future meat, Clove had to be castrated. Not only is mature billy goat a disgusting dish, but if we kept him intact until slaughter weight, he'd cross every doe on the place. I want Storm Cloud to cross them - the ones he's not related too closely to, anyway. The vet would charge us an amount to castrate him that would bring the per pound price up to unacceptable levels. Homero said we had to do it ourselves.

I said "you mean you're going to do it, right?" Well we both did it. Today I brought Storm Cloud to the vet to be disbudded (I draw the line at red hot irons) and had her show me on his little bitty baby balls how to band a buckling. It's alarmingly simple, really. The bander costs $12.95 at the feed store. It just takes .... balls. 

As it turns out, I don't have them. Go figure. I put the rubber band on the bander and slipped his testicles through, being careful that neither of his nipples were inside, but I couldn't let go of the handles and let the band snap shut. I just couldn't. I made Homero do it. As it turned out, I was being overly dramatic. Clove yelped once and then skipped off after his mama, looking for the tit. He kept shaking his back legs and looking around at his belly, but other than that he doesn't seem to be in a whole lot of distress. I guess it's a bigger deal to me than it is to him.

I've been called a castrating bitch before, but it's never been true until now. 


~Tonia said...

Lol Its not really that big of deal and some people make it sound so awful. I have seen them cut way to stressful to me and banding I have done for years now and Never had a problem. We have 2 we will be using for meat this year. I have had intact Young billy and its not bad at all. But I sure wouldnt want one of those other perpetually stinky boys. The one we butchered was a year old.

Aimee said...

Oh that's good to know, that buck doesn't necessarily taste bad. I thought they just did as soon as they reached sexual maturity.

AnyEdge said...

Wait a minute, you just put a clamp on them and wait for them to fall off?


lydia said...

i am impressed! at least you have some guts if not balls. glad to know Clove is already over it - sounds like you are, too. wow.

goatsjump said...

I’d never tell anyone not to butcher an animal. (Here’s the but) I don’t think I could butcher a goat they just have so darn much personality. The thing is to get milk you have to breed, that leads to kids and if you are the typical goat farmer at least ¾ are male! I’ve heard of some that will slip the males into a warm pail of water at birth, if they catch it. You can dress the newborn out as one would a rabbit. Sounds dreadful but I think I’d have an easier time with that that killing one I had gotten to know.

Some other alternatives might be renting out a goat herd to people that need brambly fields cleaned up. Or you could train the wether to harness or to pack.