Soon after we moved to the farm, our neighbor, who raises purebred Herefords, called to ask for some help measuring scrotums. Figuring that this was the “new guy” joke, we decided to submit cheerfully to the hazing and headed over. We were only convinced that this was serious business when he presented the specialty measuring tape:
The procedure was to place each bull in the headgate, sneak up behind him, and then:
…pull the testes firmly into the lower part of the scrotum by encircling its base with your hand and pulling down on the testes. The thumb and fingers should be located on the side of the scrotum rather than the front to avoid separating the testes. Form the tape into a loop and slip it upward around the scrotum, then tighten snugly around its greatest diameter. Read the measurement at the steel crossbar on the tape buckle.
As the man who would become Farm Daddy (teacher of all things ag to us rookies) explained, the diameter of the scrotum is an indicator of semen production. There was also a University of Illinois study he quoted which suggests a relationship between scrotal size of the sire with future fertility of his heifer offspring. So, in the world of livestock production, reproductive efficiency is an subject of intense interest. Ultimately, in the range of undignified procedures we put the animals (and ourselves) through, this is pretty benign.
Now, we have plenty of evidence as to the fitness for duty of our bucks: they’re jumping all about the pasture. However, as we have come to the very difficult conclusion that we cannot keep two bucks on the property, we are going to have to sell — and some people want that measurement.
So today, we measured the scrotums on our two bucks, Captain Patch and Roscoe.
Normally these two are affectionate and docile. Of course, when they saw the two of us coming into the barn at an odd time of day, they were instantly suspicious. We took on Patch first, and found that the best approach was for Chris to take the buck for the horns and for me to make the approach. A little soft conversation and some petting seemed to be better than making a direct dive for the object of interest. I decided against the “tug and pull” method and opted for the natural conformation instead.
Roscoe, meanwhile, had decided he wanted no part of this and headed for the pasture. We finally caught up to him and made our move. As I finished, I looked up and came face to face with Patch, who had his mating face on. How special.
How about that; like father like son — 33 centimeters of Semper Paratus each.