Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Castrating A Goat*

* But Were Afraid to Ask

So, it's not exactly Sophie's Choice, but Marty and I are faced with a decision on what to do with Elvis.

The fact is, we can't have an unneutered Billy goat running free and wild through the herd anymore. Nugget is nearly viable and goats don't understand the concept of incest, not to mention that we'd like to give Ann-Margaret at least a few pregnancy-free months.

Our choices are as follows:

A) Paddock Elvis off in a separate part of the pasture and keep him removed from the female population of the herd. The problem with this is that Elvis and Ann-Margaret are inseparable - they grew up together, have never been apart - and I can only imagine what the separation might do to them.

B) Castration (I hear the sound of male readers everywhere crossing their legs). The problem is, that for some reasons, goats do not do well with anesthesia. It's why females aren't spayed. The neutering procedure itself is quite simple, but seeing as Elvis won't be sedated or drugged at all (with the exception of a local anesthetic where the incision is made), it requires a team of able-bodied, strong folks to hold him down and keep him still.

Dr. Mary (our vet) said she could do the procedure at the farm (where we'd be responsible for providing such a crew- ha! - we can barely hold him still to give him dewormer) or we can drive him to their offices where their entire trained staff (including 4 doctors) will be available to oversee the process. Even then I don't see how they can do it without some sort of restraint (or sedative). Elvis is large, feisty and full of testosterone.

The truth is, I don't think we have much of a choice in the matter. And while I can't process how we will maneuver (read: trick) Elvis into the carrier to even get him to the vet's office (or what sort of the loud racket he'll make on the 45 minute drive to Troutman), I suppose we'll figure it out.

But here's a tip kids, in case you decide to take up animal husbandry. If you want a stud, keep him separate from the ladies except for mating season. And if you don't, snip and clip early on when the animal is manaegable, and before he's gotten to attached to his bits and pieces.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...