Why aren't sheep bothered by having their testicles ripped out?

On a recent episode of Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe performs this feat repeatedly. For those who haven’t seen it, the protocol that the sheep farmer laid out was:
Step 1) Cut off about 1/3 of the scrotum
Step 2) Push the balls up and out of the gaping hole you just made
Step 3) Grab said balls with your teeth and pull them out, vas deferens and all (presumably the tubes disconnect from the penis on their own at some point)
Step 4) Dock the tail, send sheep on its way

OK, so I can understand a sheep not being terribly bothered by a quick removal of a tail or a piece of the ear. I can imagine not caring too much my pinky toe was removed very quickly, or a chunk of my ear. I cannot, however, imagine not caring as someone pulled my nuts from a giant hole in my sack. This doesn’t strike me as something like branding where you can blame a thick hide. What’s the deal? How is this tolerable?

Well, to be fair, afterward they did seem a bit sheepish.

Bred for passivity?

Yea, it probably hurt pretty baa-d.

If I were (a) ewe, I’d go on the lamb for shear.

Wait – teeth?! Why the hell do they grab them with their teeth when they obviously have a perfectly serviceable knife right there? :eek:

I’m sure they were quite bothered, but Discovery doesn’t have a sheepish translator on staff, so they skipped the subtitling. If you spoke sheepish, you’d have heard some language that should never be heard by young ears.

Of course, the shepherds never bothered to learn sheepish either, as it’s mostly just a lot of bleating, and who really wants to listen to them complaining all day in the field.

And here I thought this thread was going to be about middle class McCain supporters.

I was wondering the same thing the whole time.

The farmer claimed the testicles are really slippery and the easiest way to get them out was to clamp them between the teeth. Also, I guess it made the episode more interesting.

That was my theory. I figured they just went back to using the testicle pliers once the crew left.

Various sheep sources on the internet have it slightly otherwise.

The routine, allegedly, is to cut off part of the scrotum in order to expose the testicles. The castrator then grabs the testicles with his teeth. He swallows hard then slices them off with a sharp knife*. He does not actually bite them off.
*Please do not try this at home. If you do, remember to swallow and cut in the prescribed order, and not the other way round.

I don’t want to live in a world where there’s such a thing as “testicle pliers”.

I always assumed you did it with your teeth because your hands were busy fending off sheep kicks to your noggin.

Learn somethin’ new every day.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful than at this particular moment to be a city girl.

I have actually done this, although to goats rather than sheep. I went to an agricultural boarding school in Australia, and we castrated some goats in this way. It was not an especially pleasant experience. And i don’t think the goat enjoyed it either.

The use of the teeth was actually something of an initiation ritual; most of the time, the testes were removed using a set of jaws on the reverse end of the knife.

I had quite a lot of friends who came off sheep farms in Australia, and this mode of castration was very uncommon. All the sheep farmers i knew used elastration rings, arguing that it was easier, less bloody, and more humane.

We’ve got a rule here in the General Questions forum about posts like this: Don’t.

General Questions Moderator

I thought it was funny. Since it’s obviously a joke, would it have been OK if it was non-party-specific?

The sheep don’t complain because after someone cuts off your nuts, you learn to shut the fuck up.

Previous Cafe Society thread about this episode, including a few posters who’ve done this, or at least assisted in it. Consensus seemed to be it’s a speed thing - when you’ve got to go through 600 (i.e. 1200) a day, every second matters.

The rule says: