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Calves to Steers

April 26, 2010

Good Morning, Dear Reader. The wetness has settled in around Bippus, with the ground making a squish, squish sound as one walks across it. So the planting frenzy has ground to a halt. Four days of rain in a row, off and on.

In visiting with some local beef producers, and checking in on their calves, I learned that their male calves were going to be converted to steers. You see, when raising cattle, one does not desire to keep too many bulls. So the male calves get outfitted with a castration ring.

The ring is a small thick, rubber band about half an inch in diameter. It is applied with a small hand tool like a pair of pliers, that opens the diameter of the band large enough to slip over the calf’s testicles, and then it is released. This cuts off the blood supply, and in a week or so, the testicles have died, dried up and fallen away. The resultant animal is called a steer, and will never reproduce.

This process takes only a few minutes and reduces the tendency of the male calves to fight. It allows them to produce beef that has good flavor. And the calf runs back to momma, relatively unaffected. This process is also applied to other male animals, like pigs, sheep, and goats.

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