FranchLife

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The Old-Fashioned Way

It was time to do what you likely don’t want to read about.  But, castrating our male lambs is a part of life on a franch.  Otherwise, there would be brothers making babies with sisters in our pastures.  It’s not something we do every day.  So, every time it’s that time of year, we do a quick Google and YouTube search to refresh our memories.  It’s something you don’t want to get wrong because…well…because that would just be wrong.  My husband was at the kitchen table with his laptop searching online about using rubber castration bands with his castration assistants (our children) watching over his shoulder.  They came across a way that we didn’t know, and now can’t un-know (and now neither can you!).  Did you know that shepherds would once use their teeth to castrate their lambs?   It’s even still talked about today as a possible method, though not recommended.  I’m serious.  Aren’t you thankful to be born in this day and age?  Thank goodness times have changed.  I get that testicles are slippery and hard to hold on to, but your teeth?!  Here’s how it went:  A shepherd’s knife would be used to cut the bottom of the lamb scrotum and the testicles would be pulled out with the teeth, sliced off with the knife, and the bloody testicles spat on the ground.  I don’t know anything about you, but I do know that right now you’re totally grossed out and likely clenching your teeth or crossing your legs!  I liked an anonymous “poem” in the comments of one site describing this old way, “Perhaps they were hungry or born of poor fate.  I’m glad for my fortune, no sheep to castrate.”  One good thing of now knowing the old-fashioned way is that it makes our way today less unpleasant to think about, and even my kids seemed less disturbed about what they were about to do as they went off to the barn with the rubber rings and elastrator tool in hand.  “How’d it go?” I queried my husband and children when they later came in from the barn.  It seemed to take longer than I had expected.  My son explained why, “It was really tricky to get those testicles to stay in the band.  They just kept slipping back up.”  (Well, that’s certainly a comment you don’t want to take out of context!).  It made me chuckle and I replied, “Well, I guess there is some sense in the old-fashioned way after all, isn’t there?”

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2 Comments

  1. Tell me it is not so…
    My dreams of retiring as a shepherd are over.

  2. I don’t remember reading that in the Old Testament and I’m glad God left that part out. Ignorance is bliss.

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