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 By Makeli Phiri

THE idea of castrating animals has many advantages. But where did this idea come from? The Bible talks about the eunuch, the guardian of the women (Esther 2:3). The eunuchs are men who have been castrated, they have been rendered womanish or unmanly.

They used to be given huge responsibilities to look after the king’s wives and other females in the house of the king.

So a castrated man is one whose part of the reproductive system such as testicles have been crushed, the sexual feelings are curtailed.

The animal breeders have gotten this idea from the Bible. Castration is a job that needs to be done properly, otherwise if not done properly there is a risk that the animal may remain fertile with the consequence of impregnating the female species in whatever group when this is not wanted.

Castration, once this is practiced by the farmer the advantages are that management of animals becomes easy.  Instead of separating males and females, these can be grouped as one group. Separation only comes when females are removed for breeding purposes and males can then be sorted out for fattening purposes for the market and also as draught animals.

Castration can be carried out in different ways depending on the age of an animal. Bloodless method, this method is worth considering by the farmer. In our Zambian situation, this can be used when fly challenge is high especially during the rainy season when the risk of the wound becoming fly blown. For this to be effective the farmer or individual (stockman) likely to carry out this activity must understand the principle of the method. The artery in each cord is so compressed that the two inner sides heal together and prevent the flow of blood on which the testicles depend. Degeneration of the testicles then follows.

The equipment to use for such an operation would involve the following:

  • Burdizzo – when using this equipment, pull the “spermatic cord” against the side of the mid scrotum, then fit an already opened burdizzo with its female jaw down and approximately 2cm above the testicles. You can crush the same cord twice to ensure the job is done properly. You repeat the same procedure on the other side of the scrotum.

However, care should be taken not to crush the mid scrotum this is required in blood circulation to the scrotal sack.  Only the sides of the scrotal sack should be affected by this procedure.

(2)    Rubber Rings – rubber rings are only good for very young animals up to a few days old. Here an animal has to be strained by casting, squeeze both testicles down to the end of the scrotum, with the help of an applicator opened on which the rubber has been fitted, feed the scrotum into this tool and close the applicator on top of the testicles. The scrotum should fall off after about two weeks. The rubber ring method is simple and effective if applied at about a month to six weeks of age.

Open castration: This is a good way for people or individuals who are properly trained to castrate older animals. The removal of the testicles from the scrotum is best done when the calves are between one and three months of age and is performed by slitting the scrotum down the sides.

Before the surgical operation can be done make sure that the hands and skin of the animal of the scrotum are clean, wash with soap and clean water or antiseptic. The procedure is as follows:

(1)    Cut across the base of the scrotum on one side.

(2)    Squeeze the testicles out through the cut.  (3)    Pull firmly on the testicles and twist at the same time, do this until the cord breaks. You can help make the cord break by scraping with the knife.

Before this operation can be carried out the following equipment is needed:

–    Scapel very sharp knife or razor blade.

–    Clean water (preferred but with disinfectant).

–    Antiseptic or antibiotic powder.

–    Sterilise any equipment you use with boiling water.

In goats also, such an operation can be carried out in the following manner:

“Male kids not to be used for breeding should be castrated to avoid unwanted breeding. Castration should be done in the first week after

birth, by elastrator (ring expanding). This instrument extends on four points on a specially compounded ring, so that it may be speedy and effectively affixed above the testicles in the purse of the kid.

This stops the blood circulation beyond the ring to the purse, the skin and the testicles. After about ten days to three weeks these parts should shrivel and then fall off.”

Castration in pigs is done by open method. For meat animals this is to avoid that odd taste. Ideally per grading standard such animals can be downgraded unless they are to be slaughtered as manufacturing pigs.

Lastly, the ideal of emasculating an animal in one way is to keep the purity of the breed. Management is eased up this is avoiding too many groups for someone to look after in other words reducing labor costs.

Castration controls random mating.

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