Resilience: How to caponize a rooster
Yes, it’s even a verb! This is a follow-up to our delightful virtual get-together with Chris on Thanksgiving. For the scientifically-minded individual who strongly doubted it was possible, this is how to make a rooster into a capon. Which are delicious and perhaps worth considering as a useful addition to your resiliency larder. Or not, depending on one’s view of the process.
“Bill Keough spent 20 years caponizing cockerels for Iowa’s Wapsie Produce, which dominated capon production before ceasing operations in 2010. To make a cockerel a capon, he explains, a caponizer must restrain the 3 to 6 week old bird by tying weights to its wings and feet to prevent movement and expose the rib cage. Then the caponizer cuts between the lowest two ribs of the bird and spreads them apart with a special tool to open up access to the body cavity. Last, the caponizer searches for the testes, each about the size of a grain of rice, and rips them free of their connective tissue with a small slotted spoon or, in some cases, a tool made out of a loop of horse hair.
This is the most difficult part: The testes are delicate, and it’s easy to only partially remove them, allowing some production of the male hormones that will result in a useless animal known as a “split” — not a rooster, not yet a capon. The testes are also next to a crucial artery and the kidneys, and damaging either could kill the bird. The incision is not sutured, and the entire process is done without anesthetics or antibiotics (though it should be said that neither anesthetics or antibiotics are used the more routine castration of cattle or pigs).
When asked, Keough shrugs off concerns that the process could be done more safely or humanely. “There’s not any other way to do it, and I don’t think there should be,” he says. “If you do it right, it only takes a few seconds and the bird doesn’t know what hit him.””
Awesome reminder. Pre-YouTube I accidentally…Well you get the picture.
Capons are a forgotten delicacy.