Okay, so I have a new money-making scheme.
My husband used to watch a YouTube channel of this crazy guy that rednecked cars into trikes, and other wild antics. He also had some useful 'how to clean the carburetor' videos. Of course, when it was discovered he had been a voyeur/pedophile, they cancelled him, but not before he'd shown off his $15,000/mo checks from YouTube.
I think I could do that. Not so much the how-to carb thing, and not so much useful to anyone, but for antics? Oh yeah. I even have a good name for it. "How Not to Farm." Or maybe "Idiots with Animals."
If I only had a videographer for that last episode...
Since Sir Loin was a wee calf 2 months ago, I've been trying to get Hubby to use the dehorning paste on him. It hasn't gone well, so finally, at or just past the age at which the paste is an option, I decided I'd better do my best on my own. Ahem. I reviewed the video I'd bookmarked on YouTube, on how to use Dr. Naylor's Super Easy Dehorning Paste:
Okay, so they don't call it "Super Easy" but it sure came across that way to me. "Allow the calf to rest away from other animals."
What was that about optional anesthetic, or tranquilizer? Hm.
The other day I did the first step; shaving around their horn buds. I found an old rechargeable electric razor that had a little flip-up part for sideburns. Sideburns = calf horns, yes? Apparently no. Maybe the battery just didn't have enough juice, but the first attempt on Ground Chuck (he's handicapped, I'll have to write about that next) stopped the razor cold. And the fur was jammed in the trimmer, having bogged down like a jeep on safari (you need a land rover. Trust me.). I took it back into the house, along with several strands of Chuck's fur, and got out the big gun. Er, trimmer. It's an old Oster hair trimmer that my grandma used on my uncle and all the neighbor boys in the '50s. I don't even know where or how to oil the blades, but it cuts smoother than anything else, according to those on whom I've used it. Of course, it's not rechargeable, so I had to drag out the extension cord (you thought I'd bring the livestock indoors, didn't you?), and then turn it on. It starts up slightly reminiscent of a jet engine; it takes about a minute to get up to speed, and the whirring sound slowly rises in pitch.
I did manage to shave both Chuck and T-Bone, if barely. For some reason they don't like to hold still when there is a motorized blade buzzing in their ear. They retained their eyesight, too (also barely). :]
So a day or two later, I found my blue rubber gloves, my recently-purchased-just-for-this-purpose vaseline, and Dr. Naylor's Magic Goop. Oh, and a clothespin that had sprung, in place of a popsicle stick.
First I tried to rub a ring of vaseline around Chuck's horn buttons, as shown in the video. Hm. It was less a 'ring' and more a series of blobs, some in the right spots, some not. Good thing he has long, protective eyelashes. I did the same to T-Bone, having tied him to the plum tree.
Now for the goop... Because of their twitchiness (or mine?), I tied Chuck to the clothesline pole, with a very, very short lead. Like none. Then I got a little pan of molassified grain to occupy him (he NEVER gets that kind of thing) while I carefully, gloves on, opened the Goop and scooped a bit out on my clothespin. I gently applied the paste, mostly in just the right spot, with the girls looking on (having been warned to stay far back and not touch this stuff or Chuck all day unless they want holes eaten through their bodies).
A bit of perspective: My neighbor told me to be careful of rain when I did this. His friend had a hole in his barn roof, that leaked on a calf with dehorning paste. The water fell on its head, the paste ran down the side of its face, and truly dissolved that which it touched. Its jaw bone, everything. I'm sure it had to be put down, if it wasn't dead from that.
Back to How Not to Farm: Chuck wasn't quite as nonchalant as the calves in the video. He paused from his grain chewing to shake his head and look startled. I did get both horn buds coated, however, and stepped away to put the lid on, prepare the hazardous material for T-Bone, etc. Chuck snorted, and pulled at his rope and I turned back to look at him. He was rubbing his head on the pole. I hope my clothesline pole doesn't dissolve, I thought.
The next thing I know, Chuck had gotten enough room in his rope to reach the ground, where he was rubbing his head and face in the grass. It was at this point I knew this was not going to work out like I'd hoped.
Thankfully I'd briefed myself in the "in case of..." section of the instructions, and determined, quickly, to "rinse thoroughly in a lot of water." I hollered to Organique to "Turn on the hose, a lot!" Which she did. I picked up the business end of the hose, and apologetically began to "rinse" Chuck. Cattle don't naturally take to rinsing, apparently, because there was a lot of rope-tugging, sputtering, snorting. I would give him a second to catch his breath, and "rinse" again. I also hollered at Big Sister to bring me a gallon of white vinegar, which took her several tries to locate, but she finally brought it to me. I eased off the hose for a moment, and with another apology, doused Chuck fully with vinegar. Repeat tugging/sputtering/snorting. Poor critter! But it was better than letting his face dissolve, yes? I repeated the water and vinegar for some time before finally letting him to his destiny in the sunshine, away from the (probably dissolving) grass.
T-Bone was spared the treatment. I came indoors and updated my facebook status to "Well, I won't be trying THAT again..." (really, I could probably just copy/paste that status a few times a week, at least.)
The calves have recovered from all but the bad haircut and just a wee bit of greasy petroleum jelly in their hair. I'm not sure if *I* have recovered, but I think I would feel better about it if I were a YouTube sensation, pulling in $15K/mo, don't you?