Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a man no more

Yesterday after Finn's hike we both hit the road. I put him in the back of the Subaru (which has now transported chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats, rabbits, dogs, and coworkers) and we drove the back roads into Rupert. Rupert's a small town, mostly farmers, and that is how my livestock Veterinarian likes it.

Dr. Ceglowski's practice is nestled just outside Hebron, NY (on the Vermont side) with a giant red barn and registered Guernsey dairy cattle. Besides being a full-time Vet—he's a full time farmer. "I like keeping busy," he told me as we went over how to administer needles into the shoulders of goats. I liked him instantly. He's a warm, older, gent with a white beard, glasses, and coveralls. He tends to livestock and pets with great care and a large heart. This past winter he made a housecall to my neighbor's to put Cody, their ailing labrador, to sleep in his own living room. Doc will even look after farrowing sows (something few large animal vets will do around here). And talked happily about helping with piglets just a few week's ago at my neighbor Chris's farm.

So this is where my goat's day went downhill. I had an appointment for a professional castration. Finn's my first goat and I wanted to watch and learn the procedure from a doctor. This is not the kind of thing you "wing"— plus, the little guy needed his shots. So to the doctor we went.

Finn was a champion. He stood for the whole event and when all the crushing (sorry guys) of the arteries above his...goods was done he just collapsed in my arms. He looked up at me breathing deep, shaking, scared to death but calm as a lion. It must have been horrible, but considering the pain he was a saint. He also got his rabies and tetanus shots and a bevy of "goat shots" for fancy goat diseases which I was glad to offer him. Amazingly, the whole time with the vet was only fifty dollars, not bad considering the importance and level of care. I was given a booster needle to take and inject in two weeks.

I have syringes in my fridge. Welcome to living with livestock.

When I got home I placed the kid in his pen with fresh soft straw, water, and grain. He slept like a man no more. While he rested my mind turned to work. (I also like to keep busy) So my neighbor Roy and I moved a ton of sheep shit out of the pen with the aid of his giant orange tractor. Some folks spend a good lot of time bitching about green vs organge tractors and their sussed-out merits. Personallly, if it moves a pen full of mud, straw, and sheep droppings I don't care if it's tie dyed. I'm a practical gal.


Blogger Amanda said...

I've often wondered about that - I know we sedate our dogs and cats to neuter them, and I do realize livestock are a slightly different matter, but why aren't (insert animal here) sedated or numbed for this? If not for their pain, than to make sure the hapless vet doesn't get kicked! (I apologize for my lack of knowledge here!)

Poor Finn! A rough day indeed. I hope he feels better in the morning.

July 14, 2009 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Dahlia ChanTang said...

Poor little dear! I do hope he feels less pain in the morn. Dear oh dear, the poor thing.

July 14, 2009 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger nancmcp said...

I was never big on watching the vet geld on the farm. The German shepherd loved it though!

Your vet is worth 3 times his wt in gold. You have a real find!

Enjoy all your stories, even the ones that make ya wince!

July 14, 2009 at 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait - there's no anaesthetic?!?? That is just Not Right.


poor li'l fella!

July 14, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

in all fairness, it was over in a minute and he walked away five minutes later.... goats are tough!

July 14, 2009 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Yeah, there's no cutting involved here. And goats are INCREDIBLY tough.

Atta boy, Finn!

July 14, 2009 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

You need to get that boy a pair of neuticles or something to replace the original equipment so he feels good about himself. Maybe a pair of ball bearings. You'd save on a bell...just listen for the clack.

July 15, 2009 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Rois said...

LOL! Here I have been blogging about butchering chickens and here you are blogging about Finn's day at the vet.It cracks me up what gets talked about from folks living this life style.
Give Finn a pat from my Mom.I told her all about him and she is in love.She grew up with goats and still has a soft spot for them.

July 15, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Little Terraced House said...

Jenna, your blog is always the high light of my day, but today between you and Bob's comments I am in stitches - poor Fin, I hope he does feel better when he wakes up but the thought of the replacement 'balls' clacking away - I cant stop giggling !
Your vet sounds one in a million, you are really really lucky to have him.

Love and Hugs Babs

July 15, 2009 at 2:50 AM  
Blogger Judy said...


July 15, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jimmney Crickets! yet you are not allowed to talk about preparing a turkey for Thanksgiving.

July 15, 2009 at 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, poor Finn. Necessary, I know, but I always feel bad anyway.
Hope you both have a great day today - filled with lots of sunshine and lots of whatever it is that makes Finn the happiest!


July 15, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Finn...walk off the pain lil man. Hope he feels better.

July 15, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad all went well.

Keeping a syringe and antibiotics and knowing how to use them are also part responsible livestock management.
You never know when you will need them.

Good luck with packing, an interesting project. Good to have meaningful, interactive things to do with our animals.


July 15, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, not exactly a banner day for Finn, but he'll be fine. I've watched my dad castrate hundreds of bull calves using "masculators." At least that's what they're called here in South Dakota. Basically a big clamp that severs the cords to the "boys." Very clean & fast.

July 15, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...

No anesthesia? As a gal who worked for a roving country vet for awhile as a tech, I often saw my boss anesthetize horses and, YES, goats, who were about to be gelded. I'm surprised this wasn't presented to you as an option to make Finn more comfortable during the procedure.

July 15, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Conny said...

Consider this the "dumb question" from the city girl, but...

Besides birth control, what's the reason for castrating male goats? Do they become aggressive as they age? Are they less likely to wander off trail when packing? Just curious.

July 15, 2009 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

They actually do give some male dogs prosthetic plastic personals after the standard-issue are removed so that they don't realize that they've been "robbed".

Poor Finn. Give him a carrot for me.

And Conny, you kinda hafta remove goats' jewels if they're not breeding stock. Their idea of cologne is peeing in their own beard and they can get aggressive too, I understand.

July 16, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous sylvia said...

Hey, not to be gross, but you do realize that the doctors do not give our baby boys anesthesia to circumcise them which I consider to be just as bad as castration of animals. I have 2 boys and when I learned that during my first pregnancy, I immediately decided against the procedure. I could not find a doctor who would even give them mild sedation. (They don't remember it, was the only answer I ever got....)

July 16, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Sherry/Woodswoman said...

Yes, "a man no more" is a good thing for a buck goat. You haven't lived (or drawn a full breath) until you've seen/smelled a buck spray his face, chest and forearms with urine to attract the ladies. Finn won't need to go to all this bother.

Yep, this is the emasculatome or Burdizzo method. We do the elastrator method, which is banding. Both can be done on the farm, but I agree with Jenna, the first time, you want a vet nearby or at the helm. I remember how nervous I was the first time.

Jenna, another trick we used when castrating piglets is to apply a numbing spray beforehand. I would assume it would help in a situation such as this. We do all our injections for the critters. (Practice on an orange if you need to and know what IM and SubQ mean and you'll be all set.) And of course the right size needle helps, and doesn't hurt.

We, too, keep CDT, PenG, etc. in our cooler, since we are so rustic, we don't own a fridge. Only 5 freezers for all our sled dog's meat. :)

July 16, 2009 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Sherry/Woodswoman said...

Diane ~

Just a quick FYI note, as I just saw your post.

Our vet refused to put our very first buckling under anesthesia when I approached him in our early farm days. He stated goats don't do well, and the risk is too high. He, too, suggested either method I stated in my first post.

They really do bounce right back, as evidenced by Finn.

July 16, 2009 at 11:21 PM  

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