Message Title: velveting in the squeeze
Author: Bob A. Posted: 06\14\2001 22:09
I have velvetted hundreds of bulls in the squeeze over the years and have yet to loose one. Damage in the squeeze has been negligible. Most antler damage occurs prior to arriving at the squeeze. I have used each of electro analgesia, electro immobilization and harness immobilization with ring block lidocaine injections. For humane purposes, most veterinarians and veterinary associations promote using lidocaine applied around the base of the pedicle as a ring block. Some jurisdictions make analgesia during velvet removal a legal requirement. Recommended amounts are 1 cc of lidocaine per 2 cms of pedicle circumference. Use of chemicals (Lidocaine, Rompun, etc)to remove velvet antler violates product label requirements related to use for food. (Specified withdrawal times for use of the animal for food is on most labels.)
For velvet antler removal, time is of the essence. Once held in the squeeze, the sooner the antlers are removed and the bull released, the better. Unfortunately in my opinion, use of lidocaine requires a bull to be held for far too long in the squeeze while he is harnessed, lidocaine is applied and then given time to take effect before cutting. The stress of being held for 5 - 10 minutes to complete the operation using this technique is as much or even more of a concern than pain during removal. My bulls have exhibited far worse trauma using lidocaine than with any other antler removal technique used. They also have been more difficult to handle and to bring back into the squeeze area at a later date.
As a bull enters the squeeze, narrow the pads at the same time to prevent him from dropping his head. Use 2 or preferably 3 people.. one on the squeeze controls, one to sweep the bull into the squeeze and one to quickly close the squeeze door once he is in. Everyone involved should work quietly, know their job and be coordinated during the velvetting operation. Accidents generally happen when the operators are not paying attention. A halter to immobilize the head will work. If a local analgesia (chemical or electrical) is not given, there will not be pain control during cutting. If a bull has a wide enough space provided between the squeeze pads to drop his antlers, damage is more likely. Covering his eyes may be a calming affect. Some bulls do not like blindfolds. Good luck and try to remain calm and controlled.