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  #1  
Old 02/07/11, 09:15 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Virginia
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castrating by the moon

One of our local hog experts/old timer/pork producers offered to teach me how to castrate our new piglets from Homegrown Acres. Since this pork will be produced for our local farmers market, and several upscale restaurants, we felt(along with Brian) that it would be best to castrate them ASAP.
He told me that the time to cut was on the 2nd-3rd, because the moon was right(New Moon). He offered to come up tonight, but he thought the moon might be "in the Heart", which could be bad. This weekend coming, however, the moon will change, and might be better then. He and another old timer/ pig farmer are coming up Sat. to teach me the best way to castrate.
I love the passing down of knowledge, and am looking forward to the process, but I feel really dumb. What is this calender, and where can I find it? I am intrigued by the old time way, and grew up raising hogs, here, with no such knowledge. I want to know these mountain ways inside and out, and having been raised here, somehow have missed it.
I think, that the mountain way, has developed from the mode of survival. I envy the folks here, who grew up depending on making their own way, or die. Of course the younger generations dont appear to see it, but the last generation has it going on. We must preserve it.
My question is, can someone explain to me the "Moon", before these wonderful neighbors come up Sat. to teach me some barn yard surgery, so as I can truly understand, and thus glean the full tutorial? Thank you, Luke.

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  #2  
Old 02/07/11, 09:38 PM
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Well Luke, I think it is cool you are willing to learn something new. I castrate by the moon signs also, as I do other things also. Never castrate during full moon, because blood flows free`er during this time. Best thing to do is get yourself an old Farmers Almanac and look it up in the back where they have everything you would ever need to do by the moon signs. They have a whole page that tell what dates to do certain things, including casterating, butchering, cutting hay, setting posts, and lots of other things. It will also explain the differant signs of the moon, like a waxing , wanning, dark and light of the moon. It does work so listen to your neighbors. > Thanks Marc

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  #3  
Old 02/07/11, 10:32 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Florida
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Both of my grandfathers castrated by the 'signs'. My father never did, and neither do I. The method my grandfathers used was to castrate only when the signs were in the knees, legs, or feet, but not on the last day in the feet because that's back too close to the head.

According to my almanac today is the first day in the head. They will be in the knees on the 28th, and will be back in the head on March 7th. You would not want to castrate on March 6th, as that is the last day in the feet.

I have been castrating calves and pigs for well over 30 years, and have many times intentionally not checked the signs until after I had done the job. Sometimes the signs were 'right' and sometimes they were completely wrong. I have never been able to tell one whit of difference in blood flow or healing time.

I certainly have no problem with anyone who chooses to castrate by the signs, but I just wanted to give my experience.

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  #4  
Old 02/08/11, 07:16 AM
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Hi Luke! We are so happy that the piglets have found a good place at your farm! And that your dog is getting along well with them, too!

I don't know much about doing stuff according to moon signs but I also have learned a lot from the folks who managed their livestock long ago. Some of the best information I've found is in books that were published in the 1800s, back when everyone raised their hogs on pasture and in the woods.

I did a quick Google search and came up with this: http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/20...oon-signs.html It explains the moon sign system fairly well.

As for where the moon will be in 2011: http://www.lunarium.co.uk/calendar/universal.jsp

I tried to figure this all out and my brain hurts so I leave the rest to you!

Brian

p.s. In my brief research I did find this one bit of wonderful advice (from the Farmer's Almanac).

"When is the best time to castrate a pig?"

"When he's asleep..."

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  #5  
Old 02/08/11, 07:49 AM
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I purchase the Old Farmers Almanac each year and it has all kinds of info in it including a monthly page called Best Days of when to do things like castrate.
Nancy

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  #6  
Old 02/08/11, 09:21 AM
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DH always weans our calves according to the sign. He used to castrate them according to the sign, but we band the baby calves now. He claims it worked for him.

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  #7  
Old 02/08/11, 11:18 AM
 
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Once, around 1953 or earlier, My dad was cutting some baby pigs with my uncle and grandad. Uncle Milt always cut them. I never saw my dad do it, and ive never done it. Me and my bro were too little to be inside the hog shed so we stood outside, and out of the way. After cutting a few, dad passed one out the door and told us to watch it. It as bleeding bad. Then another after a bit. Grandad said, Did u check the sign for today? Dad said he hadnt, he just wanted to get the job done on Sat, as he worked the weekdays. Grandad said lets go up to the house and get a cup of coffee. Dad was mad, but he didnt say much. We got to the house and grandad asked mom if she had an almanac. She finally found one. Grandad looked it up, and the signs had changed on the hour we were cutting. He found another time that would be right. He didnt help dad, and dad knew better than to go against grandad, so that was that. The other sign must have worked as I dont remember anything about cutting the rest of the pigs. I suppose I was there, but since it went off without a hitch, I didnt remember it.
I use Llewyens Moon Sign Book, as I could never understand OFA. LMS has 3 or 4 times the stuff in it, and its easier to understand. OFA I think is wrote with the idea that the buyer has been raised up on it and knows it perfectly from being instructed on it by mom or dad.
Im reading from my last years almanac as I havnt got one yet for this year.
ANIMALS, (Neuter or spay). Have livestock and pets neutered or spayed when the moon is in Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, or Pieces. After it has passed through Scorpio, the sign that represents the reproductive organs. Avoid the week before or after the full moon.

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  #8  
Old 02/08/11, 11:25 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: near Abilene,TX
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From one of my old books....

Casturate pigs when the sign is in the feet...less bleeding and soreness. and no infection

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  #9  
Old 02/08/11, 11:35 AM
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I don't know about pigs, but, I have an Amish guy that gelds my horses for me, he will only castrate in certain moon phases. Every one he has gelded for me has went on to be calm, level headed horses.

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  #10  
Old 02/08/11, 01:36 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NE Indiana
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There are many things done by the "signs" of the moon. Many people for many many years have followed this as well as people today. Maybe not as many in todays world but I think many are now completing the circle and are reading about and are trying many of the older ways and are finding out that there is some truth in them.

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  #11  
Old 02/08/11, 08:41 PM
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Superstitions are just that, nothing more. If I don’t step on a crack and my mom doesn’t get a broken back, then it must be true? Come on folks.
Shall we smear some lamb’s blood over our entrance door, too? You want to go burn some witches, too?
I’m sure there are large hog operations that castrate every day of the week. I admit I don’t have their data to prove my point, but in large numbers it would become obvious and I do know they continue to castrate daily without concern for the phases of the moon.
I’m not interested in creating a living museum. I’m not seeking Homesteading in yesteryear. I’m interested in being successful in the here and now.
If you are entertained by the daily horoscope, fine. If you enjoy the Farmer’s Almanac, well good for you. But when these cult-like beliefs start holding you up from getting your crop in the ground in a timely manner or needlessly delays any common animal husbandry procedure, shame on you. Double shame on those that perpetuate such nonsense.

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  #12  
Old 02/08/11, 09:32 PM
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I know that the stress created by castration can be a problem so my advice to Luke was to get it done before the stress of the movement from my farm to his wore off. In other words, they are going to have a setback in their growth due to the stress of moving; why create a second setback later with castration?

However, whether or not there is any proof for these practices (doing things by the moon), it is emotionally rewarding to feel as if you are more connected to the homesteading experience. Raising hogs, IMO, is as much about the experience as it is about the wallet so why not do it in a way that provides a better emotional experience? I am not a religious person but I am spiritual. I love to read about the "old ways" and will incorporate those that make sense to me. If Luke wants to have the experience of his ancestors then I say go for it. After meeting Luke and his lovely wife I know they are not in this for the bucks; the experience is food for their souls, too.

Besides, has anyone ever really done a scientific study? Maybe the practice of doing things by the moon actually has benefit...

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  #13  
Old 02/08/11, 09:39 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Virginia
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Well haypoint, thanks for the insight. It is the health and welfare of hogs from larger commercial operations that motivated us to grow our own pork in the first place. I'm not putting any value on old timey superstitions other than it is a practice that is not troublesome, may work, may not, and from a historical stand point, quite interesting to me. If farming by the moon signs helps me, then wonderful. If it is baseless and shows absolutely no benefit, then at least I will be able to debate it with facts, experience, and validity, unlike your useless and rather rude reply. You stick to your methods, I'm going to do whatever it takes to better the welfare of our animals, but also, sell our pork, vegetables, lambs, and eggs to our very conscientious clientele who would appreciate every step we make in attempting to better the quality/health/happiness of our meat and produce.

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  #14  
Old 02/08/11, 09:43 PM
 
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The problem with people today, is to try to do anything else in the world besides farming. Cub Scouts, Baseball, football, soccer, SCA, Other reenactment, societys, ect. Polotics. The old farmers were farmers, and that was all they did, IF they were successful. Ive found out, To farm, and to try to farm successfully, One HAS to pay attention to the operation, Getting in sync with the seasons is like jumping onto a wherling merry go round. If you jump oon at anytime, You wont be ready to do the things as there needed to be done. Wont have the money, wont have the equipment, ect. Its when you DO have the money, DO have the equipment, dO HAVE THE TIME, ECT. Then A farmer is ready to do his farming when it needs to be done, If he also pays attention to the signs. Can that be bad?, Theres NO reason that IF a farmer is ready to do things when there ready to be done, that there should be no reason he cant get it done in timely fashion,

I have seen the signs work several times in my own life. Try it yourself. Plant tomatoes, or potatoes in one row in the 1st quarter of the moon in a good sign, And plant another row next to it in the 3 or 4th quarter in a hot sign, like aquarius. See what ya get,

Most people who dont believe in it will say. Naw, Im not gonna try it. I dont believe in it and im not gonna do a goofy test just to prove im right.

I suppose you dont believe in water witching either.

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Old 02/08/11, 09:53 PM
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Well double shame on me HAYPOINT, I don`t care weather you believe in moon signs or not, it is a time proven way on doing things. I have done things by the moon for years, and granted I don`t do everything. And if the weather is not working in my favor, I sure as heck am going to plant corn, if the moon is right or not. Livestock for me is a differant thing, I do alot more by the moon than not. It works for me, and moon signs have nothing to do with burning witches, or stepping on cracks. Totaly differant things here, the moon has all to do about the tides coming in and out. And I feel sorry for you to as I bet you don`t believe in Santa Claus either do you. This is America and we do have the right to do as we want, when we want, on the most part. I also don`t go out of my way to break mirrors either or walk under ladders. > Marc

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  #16  
Old 02/09/11, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by springvalley View Post
Well double shame on me HAYPOINT, I don`t care weather you believe in moon signs or not, it is a time proven way on doing things. I have done things by the moon for years, and granted I don`t do everything. And if the weather is not working in my favor, I sure as heck am going to plant corn, if the moon is right or not. Livestock for me is a differant thing, I do alot more by the moon than not. It works for me, and moon signs have nothing to do with burning witches, or stepping on cracks. Totaly differant things here, the moon has all to do about the tides coming in and out. And I feel sorry for you to as I bet you don`t believe in Santa Claus either do you. This is America and we do have the right to do as we want, when we want, on the most part. I also don`t go out of my way to break mirrors either or walk under ladders. > Marc
If I thought it would help, let me add: "IMHO", but I thought that is what a discussion was, explaining how we do things and what we believe works.

It is interesting that you can follow the Moon Religion ( like other reeligions, it is totally faith supported) only when it fits into your schedule, like planting corn at the "wrong "time, yet cling to the belief that the tides effect the pigs testicles.

Yup, us citizens can do as we want. I want to tell you I do not believe, I have that freedom. You have the right to believe what you like.

If someone wanted to put magnets on their gas line to improve mileage and you said it worked for you, I'm afraid I would disagree. I won't tell you not to say it, just that it is just more fakery.

I agree it is fun to believe in such nonsense, but in consideration of the animals, let's come out of the dark ages and get these pigs clipped right away. The longer you wait the harder it is on the pigs.

Just put me down as a God fearing non- moon control believing person.
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Old 02/09/11, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathan bair View Post
Well haypoint, thanks for the insight. It is the health and welfare of hogs from larger commercial operations that motivated us to grow our own pork in the first place. I'm not putting any value on old timey superstitions other than it is a practice that is not troublesome, may work, may not, and from a historical stand point, quite interesting to me. If farming by the moon signs helps me, then wonderful. If it is baseless and shows absolutely no benefit, then at least I will be able to debate it with facts, experience, and validity, unlike your useless and rather rude reply. You stick to your methods, I'm going to do whatever it takes to better the welfare of our animals, but also, sell our pork, vegetables, lambs, and eggs to our very conscientious clientele who would appreciate every step we make in attempting to better the quality/health/happiness of our meat and produce.
I wasn't encouraging anyone to emulate a commercial operation. Just that an operation that does castration many times daily would be able to show a statistical difference more than those of us that just raise a few and do it from time to time.
If you like the historical part of it and it fits your timetable, fine. If you care, as you state, about the welfare of your pigs, you'll do it as soon as you have the time to do a proper job. If your customers will buy more or pay more for pork from a piglet cut on the waining moon, you must be doing a grand job marketing.

I just don't believe there is an increase in quality, an improvement in health or that any pig was somewhat happier based on the phaes of the moon that he lost his testicles. I put my faith on knowing how to do it and a sharp knife. I encourage you to persue your beliefs.
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  #18  
Old 02/09/11, 09:59 AM
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We are not morons who are superstitious or "believe in that nonsense." Many of us have college educations, so please don't make such degrading statements. It is Ok with me if you don't believe in doing things by the sign, but please don't act like those of us who do are not quite bright. Many older folks planted by the sign and farmed by the sign with great success. How do you explain the art of water dowsing? You may not believe in it, but I have seen it work with my own eyes. I don't believe I live in the "dark ages," but if a thing works, it works whether you believe in it or not. I suppose you don't believe that the moon has any connection with the tides either.

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Last edited by linn; 02/09/11 at 10:17 AM.
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  #19  
Old 02/09/11, 11:09 AM
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I normally don't participate in these discussions, but thought I'd add a bit more information... A friend of mine is an Emergency Room nurse and we've talked about this before. She told me it was well noted (but probably not documented) that blood flows more freely during a full moon and the week before and after. She told me that the ER is a LOT busier and has more difficulty stopping bleeding from wounds. She also mentioned that people are a lot nuttier and difficult to handle as well. She's a firm "believer" and, added to my own farm experiences similar to others on this thread, I am not going to schedule any elective surgery on myself during a full moon either! And I won't do elective surgery on my animals during a full moon either.

By the way, we wean our animals during a full moon. Both the mothers and the offspring seem to be calmer. This could be due to the youngsters being able to see better during the night and not being as scared, and thereby not causing stress in their mothers from their bawling. Whatever, it works for us. We laughed our heads off one year when our neighbors weaned their calves two weeks later (new moon) and their animals bawled their heads off for three or four nights. Of course this kept us awake, too, but it would be louder at their place! tee hee...

I may even try planting my crops at different 'signs' this year to test out that theory, too. Sounds like a fun experiment!

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Old 02/09/11, 11:24 AM
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The moon controls the ebb and flow of water and that is why we have high tides and low tides.. It isn't superstition, it is a fact. We are all made up of mostly water so the moon also affects people and animals. Ask any ER or OB nurse. The full moon brings more people to the ER and more births are during the full moon. I did not say all but a lot as there are exceptions to all rules.
The farmers learned years ago that the changing of the moon made a difference in breeding, planting, setting and castrating. But it is your decision on when to do it.

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