This past weekend, for the first time, we got to do the dirty deed of banding our little bucklings.  In terms you city folk might understand, it was time to ensure our little boy goats would never become full-fledged, breeding bucks, and cause all the adventures Stallion was responsible for.  To do so, we decided to use a method that puts a very tiny, but thick rubberband of sorts, around their…..ummm….little boys.  Go ahead, guys, and cringe now.  I’ll understand….I apologize in advance for the photos, as JR and M were responsible for pictures, the little guys have extra fuzzy fur, and my camera doesn’t do close ups well anyway. 

On banding day, it was frigidly cold outside, and I knew I couldn’t wear gloves for the job.  Therefore, we decided to bring the boys into our mudroom.  S sat in a chair and held them between his legs (praying that the bander didn’t slip at all!).  Holding them in this position encourages the little balls to drop out of their hiding spot in the abdominal cavity.  As cold as it was outside and as well as those little boys were hiding, we needed all the encouragement we could get!  At this stage, the little guy just thought S was cuddling him, and was thrilled to be warm inside.  He had no idea how his life was about to change.

I gave him his CD&T vaccine, then prepared my bander.  You can see the bander with the rubber band next to it.

This is the band stretched open.

And this is the band being released. 

Now imagine certain parts of the male anatomy caught inside that band.  That’s the idea we were going for here.

Next, I had to massage the boys out completely.  This process was already becoming harder than youtube made it look!  Those boys were tucked up comfortably inside, and they had absolutely no desire to completely emerge.  Finally, though, persistance and pressure in key areas paid off, and I managed to get them out.  As you can see, the little guy isn’t too miserable at this point. 

Then I had to use two hands for a three handed job (though, when possible, S did lend me a third hand).  Since it was my first time, I was all fumble-fingers.  Each of those boys had a mind of their own, and tried to disappear back inside if I slacked off at all.  Once I had a secure grip on the top of the scrotum, with the balls securely on the outside, the bander was opened to its widest and slipped into place, over the balls, and all the way up against the body.

The trick here was to get it totally above the balls, so it crimped the cords, without catching hair or teats inside as well.  Let me tell you, this was NOT easy for a newbie.  As a result, we ensured the band was not released, and that the little buck remained comfortable while I fiddled around and got it right.  Once I was sure everything was in place, the bander was slowly released, allowing the rubber band to close around the sack.  Once it was almost closed, I had to slip my fingers in there and roll the band off the tips and into place.  (Insert a quick, but very unappreciative and loud MEEEEH!!!!! from baby goat).

Finally, I checked to ensure no hair, skin, or teat was caught, that balls were fully dropped, and that everything was secure. 

Then, we did it again to the next little guy.  Apparently his brother warned him, as his little suckers were a bear to get out!  Then, when I finally got it, the band didn’t feel in the right position, so we had to cut it off (the band, not the balls).  At that point, I called my mentor to help, and she willingly came over.  She inspected the first job and approved, then helped me with the second, who was still being stubborn.  Within a short time though, both boys were banded and returned to mom to nurse.

In case you are wondering, they were a little uncomfortable for an hour or so afterward, laying down a lot.  The band cuts off all circulation to everything below it, and it tingles for a while (or so “they” say).  By the next morning, though, they are totally unaware, and act completely normal.  Within several days, the balls are visibly smaller, literally shriveling up and dying.  At the same time, the “crushed” area under the band will begin to grow together, sealing off everything below.  In a couple weeks, the band and everything below the new skin seal will simply fall off.  If Athena is around, she will likely ensure it doesn’t go to waste. 

Now, you might be wondering why we would do such a thing.  I have always been a big believer in breeding responsibly.  In just a few short months, these cute little boys would likely grow up to be this:

…stinky, big, ugly, blubbering bucks in full rut, peeing all over themselves, head butting each other until their heads are bloody, and with only one thing on their minds at all hours.  We believe anything that will be kept for breeding should be an animal that is worthy of passing his genetics on.  These two little guys in particular are crossbred bucklings, 1/4 Nigerian Dwarf, and although their dam’s udder and production are beautiful, her teats are shorter than we prefer in a good milker.  Bucks are known to pass on the milking genetics of their mother, so she has to be carefully evaluated.  In their case, we decided it was best to wether (castrate) them.  What this means for them, though, is that instead of living what often turns out to be a neglected, isolated life (due to their aroma), they have actually been purchased as wethers to begin a small herd of weeder goats.  They will have a fulfilling life on a small farm, likely being loved on regularly by the buyer’s grandchildren, and being rotated around the property to clear overgrown grass and weeds.  Thanks to a few moments of discomfort, they will now hopefully have a great, long life as family pets.