Country World Archives 2001-2008


Castration by scissors demonstrated

By LYNN MONTGOMERY | East Texas Edition

Van Zandt County Extension Agent Brian Cummins, background, and producer Gary Driver, demonstrate how to use an ordinary pair of scissors to castrate a bull calf.

April 4, 2002 -- Cattle producers were given valuable information during a recent cow-calf clinic at the Van Zandt Livestock Commission, March 22. The clinic was hosted by the Van Zandt and Kaufman County Extension offices.

Brian Cummins, Van Zandt Extension agent and Gary Driver, local producer, showed the crowd how to castrate calves using a "poor man" technique.

"For those individuals who only have a few calves to cut and they don't have the facilities to work, this is the easiest way to get the job done," Cummins said.

The equipment needed is a stock trailer, rope, and according to the two demonstrators, a sharp pair of scissors.

"Years ago, I used a knife but after cutting myself a number of times, I decided that there had to be something else that would work. I found a pair of scissors, sharpened them, and you know, they did the job without all the nicks and cuts," Driver said.

The next time Driver and Cummins worked calves together, Driver brought the scissors and used them. Every since, Cummins also has used scissors for castration.

To work the calves, they were loaded into a trailer. Cummins and Driver sent one calf to the back of the trailer. The middle gate was then used to make a make-shift chute. The calf was penned between the trailer side panel and the gate, tying the rope behind the calf so that the calf can not back out of the make-shift chute. If the producer doesn't have a trailer, any area in which a "chute" can be constructed may be used. For example, a corral fence and a gate can be used.

With Cummins holding the gate, Driver proceeded to castrate the calf. First, he pulled the scrotum sack tight and then cut the bottom part off the scrotum. This freed the testicles. The next step was to grab a testicle and pull it until the cord broke free. This was repeated with the remaining testicle.

According to Cummins, the calf doesn't bleed as much when you break the cord versus cutting the cord.

"Our calves are given their shots and implants at the time of castration unless I am working calves that are under 45-days-old, then they just get cut and shots," Cummins said.

After the calf is "worked," the calf is turned out and the next calf is caught.

"This is a fast, easy way. When producers say that don't have the facilities, oh, yes, they do," Cummins finished.