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  #1  
Old 02/13/12, 09:30 PM
 
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best age to castrate

Hi, newbie here. What is the best age to castrate a bull calf? I think the deed should be done at a very young age like 2nd day. Is that too early?

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  #2  
Old 02/13/12, 09:38 PM
 
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Some people like to band them as soon as possible, I let mine get to weaning age and band them at the same time we de-horn and vaccinate. ..I think it gives them a head start on size and muscle, makes a bigger steer.

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  #3  
Old 02/13/12, 10:51 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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weaning age....let the bull muscles grow a little plus they will gain faster and lose very little when you do ...do it

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  #4  
Old 02/14/12, 07:57 AM
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I agree with Myersfarm, all my bull calves are banded anytime after one month old. We burn the horn buds and band on the same day...Topside

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  #5  
Old 02/14/12, 01:30 PM
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Don't forget to factor in whether or not you have the ability to catch & restrain them when they are older!

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  #6  
Old 02/14/12, 03:57 PM
-Melissa
 
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on our bottle calves I always ban and burn when I can feel the horn buds. why? because thats when I can hold them down to do it. (with help from my dear B-in-L) we never had a headgate to hold them so doing it while they were young and small and not so strong makes it easy. were I to have a head gate, yes I would wait to band, but not burn the horn budds. I would still do them as soon as I could reliably feel them.

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  #7  
Old 02/14/12, 05:18 PM
 
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Our bull calves are all done at about 24 hours of age. Most calves in this area are done before they are 3 months old. Either banded at birth or done at branding. There are studies showing that anything you gain by leaving them bulls til weaning or later is lost when they are castrated.... Take that for what it is worth. I believe it.

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  #8  
Old 02/14/12, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randiliana View Post
Our bull calves are all done at about 24 hours of age. Most calves in this area are done before they are 3 months old. Either banded at birth or done at branding. There are studies showing that anything you gain by leaving them bulls til weaning or later is lost when they are castrated.... Take that for what it is worth. I believe it.
Agreed. Weaning age is not popular around here, too hard to handle, sets them back on growth rate, and, if they are too "stagy" or bullish looking, they will not bring top prices as feeders. We always cut bull calves before pasture time, usually this was 1 or 2 months old or less.
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  #9  
Old 02/14/12, 08:43 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for the input. There seems to be a debate on when it should be done . For me what settles it is I think I can handle I day old calf who understandably does nt like what is being done to him. A month old calf may be a whole other ball game.

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  #10  
Old 02/14/12, 10:07 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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Here is a study it says it pays to wait....


http://www.castrator.com/eze_bloodle...castrating.htm

I use one of these banders

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  #11  
Old 02/14/12, 10:14 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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here is another thats says IT DOES NOT CUT AT BIRTH


http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq10883

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  #12  
Old 02/14/12, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
There are studies showing that anything you gain by leaving them bulls til weaning or later is lost when they are castrated.... Take that for what it is worth. I believe it.
What exactly does that mean? I am thinking on steering Bones--he is 6 months old (and yes I still have him on a bottle--what can I say--he gets half a bottle twice a day--because I have the milk)

I was going to let him breed, but because he is a Holstein, I am now afraid to as my cows are not real big.

So what exactly is gained by not steering, and what is lost by doing it?
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  #13  
Old 02/14/12, 11:47 PM
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The ranch I grew up on was managed by my Grandfather then my Dad after Pawpaw passed away. 400 plus momma cows. We worked calves twice a year then shipped twice.

When we worked the first time calves were cut from a day or 2 old up to about 3 months. Second time would be everything born after that.

End result was pretty much the same.

If you leave it a bull for a year or so the cut it, it will still keep bullish features. But cut him before that and he will look like a steer regardless.

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  #14  
Old 02/15/12, 07:16 AM
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I band them, so I do it early. I use the dehorning past - so I do it early. I do it alone- so I do it early. It think it's more important to do it right.

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  #15  
Old 02/15/12, 08:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen in Alabam View Post
What exactly does that mean? I am thinking on steering Bones--he is 6 months old (and yes I still have him on a bottle--what can I say--he gets half a bottle twice a day--because I have the milk)

I was going to let him breed, but because he is a Holstein, I am now afraid to as my cows are not real big.

So what exactly is gained by not steering, and what is lost by doing it?
The theory is that if you leave them as bulls til weaning or later, that they will put on more weight because of the testosterone. But when you castrate them, they lose some weight due to stress and pain. And the idea is that the older they are the harder it is on them to castrate them.
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  #16  
Old 02/15/12, 08:12 AM
 
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And here is a study that compared the studies....

http://beefmagazine.com/health/0401-...-calves-timing

The highlights of that article.....

  • In nearly every case, studies that compare implanted steers to intact bulls at weaning show no difference in weaning weight. Low-dose implants given at 2-4 months of age are one of the most underutilized technologies in the beef industry. This suckling implant will add about 20 lbs. to calf weaning weight.
  • Calves castrated (surgically, banded or emasculatome) at or after weaning show increased stress, sickness and death loss. This becomes not only a financial issue — less profit for the feedlot — but an animal-welfare issue.
  • Calves castrated after weaning have increased gain up until the time of castration. But when compared to calves castrated at less than three months of age, those castrated late in life weigh 20 lbs. less at slaughter and are marketed 12 days later than those castrated early in life. Although a bull weighs more than a steer (non-implanted) at weaning, the stress of castration at this later age sets the calf back and he never catches up.
  • There seems to be no difference in using a rubber band or a knife to castrate calves less than three days of age. If you've never banded a baby calf, be sure you “count to two” before securing the band. Your veterinarian may say some unkind words if he has to peel a testicle away from the scar tissue that is around that retained testicle some months later.
  • In an ideal world, a calf would be castrated after a full belly of colostrum is ingested, but I know how hard they can be to catch at 24 hours of age.
  • Calves castrated before three months of age show no differences in performance, health and carcass traits to calves castrated soon after birth.
  • A bull calf has a relatively modest increase in testosterone production up until about seven months of age, so the “testosterone advantage” is minimal up to that point. The negatives of castrating late nearly always outweigh this minor benefit.
  • Bulls castrated over 500 lbs. tend to have less marbling than bulls cut earlier. Beef tenderness ratings also decrease the heavier bulls are at time of castration. This becomes quite pronounced for bulls weighing more than 900 lbs. at time of castration.
  • Bull calves are and should be discounted at feeder auctions. A 500-lb. bull will sell at a $5-$7/cwt. discount to his 500-lb. steer mate. As bulls get heavier, the discount increases even more.
  • Castration of bull calves soon after birth is ideal in terms of physiology (lower stress). It also results in improved animal welfare, improved health and gain in the feedlot, and enhanced marbling and tenderness compared to castration at or after weaning. Castration at less than three months of age is a reasonable alternative to castration soon after birth. Let's all strive for a 100% rating in the 2018 NAHMS study.
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  #17  
Old 02/16/12, 04:19 PM
 
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Location: sw virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
Hi, newbie here. What is the best age to castrate a bull calf? I think the deed should be done at a very young age like 2nd day. Is that too early?
I like to get it done early. Just works for me. I generally give the cow/calf 24 hours to bond. I then band as soon afterwards as possible. I may implant right around three months.

fitz
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  #18  
Old 02/16/12, 05:27 PM
-Melissa
 
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Location: springfield, MO area
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when you all talk about implants- what are you implanting? now, dont get me wrong- I am not the type that will rake you over the coals if its a hormone growth thing. I live by "to each their own". just curious is all. if so, what is it that you give? dose? tell us about it! some on here just might decide that it might be something they would like to try. others, can become even more firm in the non use... but lets keep it a calm logical discussion...

-Melissa

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  #19  
Old 02/16/12, 05:52 PM
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Yes growth hormone, Fitz is in the business to make money. Implants are inserted under the ear skin. Hobby farmers like me never implant, there is no point to it....Topside
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Last edited by topside1; 02/16/12 at 05:55 PM.
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  #20  
Old 02/16/12, 06:43 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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when I grew beef calfs...and next year when I raise beef calfs


lets just say $1 for something that will make me $40....should I use it or not takes 1 minute

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  #21  
Old 02/16/12, 06:58 PM
 
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I would band as soon as the calf has been up and had a good drink as it is safe to do so. easier on the calf and me, and it pays. Up to three months there is little check to growth.

I would not keep a Holstein bull, I think they are just too mean.

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  #22  
Old 02/16/12, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Karen in Alabam View Post
What exactly does that mean? I am thinking on steering Bones--he is 6 months old (and yes I still have him on a bottle--what can I say--he gets half a bottle twice a day--because I have the milk)

I was going to let him breed, but because he is a Holstein, I am now afraid to as my cows are not real big.

So what exactly is gained by not steering, and what is lost by doing it?
I dunno... I used to band mine when I was raising bottle calves the day I brought them home from the sale barn. I got out of that game several years ago when I bought cows and started letting them raise the lil buggars. Something about a 1500 pound cow pawing the ground and snorting if I tryed to get close to their babies cause me to "experiment" with letting them live uncut. Havent castrated a calf since! Just sold four (two heifers, two bulls) nice calves today that would average around 4 hundred pounds... 500 bucks each. I am happy with that.
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  #23  
Old 02/17/12, 11:41 AM
 
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Calves being returned to their home enviroment, I think seem to be minimully stressed by being casterated. Being weaned or mixed with other cattle would definently up the stress level.

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  #24  
Old 02/17/12, 12:07 PM
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I just did one that was 4 days old, and it took both me and DH to hold him down. If we wait longer it doesn't get done, because they are hard to catch and bleed too much. Here its cutting. Banding is too dangerous because of tetanus. That little bull calf, 24 hours later was sleeping alone on the hill in a blizzard and was fine. He acts like it never happened.

SO, we cut 'when the berries are in the basket'

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  #25  
Old 02/17/12, 12:36 PM
 
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I started when I was 48. I wished I had started sooner.

I like to cut them as soon as they hit the ground or as soon as practical. This makes it easier on me for the msot part. Even if I wait, they are small enough that their heads cannot be held in the chute, so I halter them too.

Don't plan on frying them when they are a day old.

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