Monday, August 13, 2012

  Every time we have a bull calf born here at Novellas Farm, I fret about what to do. Keep him intact and try to   sell him or have him steered and eventually processed.

Last week I had to make a decision concerning  Scout. I had him listed to sell as a polled Mini Jersey bull, I even had a home secured for him in Colorado.
  Then one morning we saw horn buds! Instantly his chances of being sold intact fell.... the buyer withdrew their offer.

 Scout had been acting like a little cuss, and
 I knew what was coming (lots of very aggressive behavior). So I made the appointment and had him steered and dehorned.

 I thought he would be polled (hornless). Which is a good thing for a bull to be, since most people wanting a bull would prefer to not be gouged. Obviously if the bull is horned he may sire horned offspring, which most people do not want.

 I thought Novella was homozygous for polled but
evidently she is not. She carries the gene for horns, and when she is bred there is a 50% chance of her passing on the horned gene. If the bull also carries the horned gene and they both happen to pass the horned gene on, the offspring will have horns

So... it is very hard to sell a bull with horns because you know for certain that 100% of the time he
will be contributing the gene for horns, and although it is recessive, if your cow carries the same
recessive gene you can get a horned animal. Which is OK if it is a heifer but not OK if it is a bull.
And for the record you can not have a bull around if you want to be able walk freely around your property and not be hurt or killed.

In fact Jersey bulls are very dangerous, and Scout was getting to be a bit  rambunctious lately.
When you have to break a large dowel on an animals head to get him to budge something must be done.

Still, the whole thing is strangely reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. He is not the same little wild man, running around bucking and knocking things over, making me run into the barn. He is actually very calm. I expect he will get fat.

For a bull, getting castrated (there I said it) is the equivalent of a lobotomy. I can't say I feel happy about it.

 Novella was happy to have him home,(she had been mooing for him for a while) she trotted (yes, she trots) up the hill and gave him a full body lick down. He just stood there in a stupor.

That is the one bright spot, Scout
gets to stay with his family and not move away.

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