how to castrate a bull calf?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by hstd1999, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. hstd1999

    hstd1999 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2002
    Hi I was wondering if anyone you has ever castrated a bull calf with a knife? And if so what is the proper method for doing this? He is about six month old and I need to do it now!!!!!!!! Thanks for all your help.

    Thanks eric
     
  2. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    When I was in my twenties I worked a summer on a beef farm and we did hundreds of the little guys. We would just cut off the bottom third of the sporran, pull out the possibles, and give the empty hull a spray of antiseptic.
     

  3. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Location:
    northern Oklahoma
    That's how we do it sometimes. Antiseptic and a sharp knife. We use the blackleg vaccination with tetanus in it.

    My Dh is trying out banding on some of them too. He's satisfied with it I think. It worked well last time we did it so we did it again this time we worked calves. If he's pretty large, cutting is best.

    Still, most cattlement prefer cutting them. It's certain and quick. He'll be sore for a week or two, but be ok eventually.
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,484
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I would suggest that if you don't have someone who can actually show you how, and there is a technique involved, it might be wiser to call the vet. It's not quite as easy as it looks and the risks are pretty high if you don't know what you're doing. I would recomend banding to the inexperienced long before suggesting they pick up a knife.
     
  5. angus_guy

    angus_guy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    I would Concur with the inexperienced making a trip to the vet and the cost is minimal $5-10

    However my vet has advised me that in banding they run a high risk of tetnus.

    Anyone have experience with this if so what is tour incedence of tetnus
     
  6. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,484
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I've never encountered tetnus as the result of banding but I have to say in all the years I've had livestock, I've never even seen tetnus, maybe it's our climate or location. I know the oldtimers talk about it.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    I band lots of bull calves and have never experienced a problem other than an occasional band breaking if I let the bands get old. Once applied I have not had a band to break. The break happens when I initially expand the band on the banding tool.IMO, inserting ear tags is a greater risk for infection than a band. In fly season the banding technique affords a level of protection from the insects. Bands are very cheap if bought by the 100 from the online vet supply sources. I store the unused bands in the freezer and that prolongs the band materials life. Here is a neat aid for the inexperienced but can work for the experienced.......get a thin piece of tough plastic about 1/8 inch thick and slightly larger than a playing card. In the center of one of the narrow ends cut a slot 3/8 inch wide from the end to the center of the card/plastic. When you go to band a calf, slide the plastic tool between the belly and the scrotum. This will permit you to verify that you have the testicles (both) and then you can apply the band without one of the testicles escaping back into the belly area.

    ____________________________
    ____________________________
    ____________________________
    ____________________________
    ______________ _____________
    ______________^ SLOT 3/8 inch"
    ______________
    ______________v_____________
    ____________________________
    ____________________________
    ____________________________
     
  8. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

    Messages:
    1,642
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    Along the Stillaquamish, Washington
    I'd check around with my neighbors and see if any of them have cattle experience. Its not something you want to do without some expert guidance.
     
  9. cowboy too

    cowboy too New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    First, you want the animal secure. Typically this means horses with ropes on front and back legs with calf on its side on the ground. You can also do it (depending on calf size) with a person holding a rope around the back legs and another person kneeling on the front shoulder (one knee on neck, one knee behind shoulder), bending the upper leg up close to the shoulder, mostly so you have something to hold on to. Obviously other ways include using a squeeze chute but lying on the ground is the easiest.
    The "doctor" can either kneel on the flank and reach over the calf or sit on the ground in front of the calf. Be sure you're stable. Grab the end of the scrotum and, using a sharp knife, cut off about 1/4 to 1/3, or about 1 inch above the end for a small calf. Using both hands with palms toward the calf's body (be careful with your knife or hold it in your teeth) enclose the scrotum where it attaches to the body sort of like you were going to grab a pole to shinny up it. Tighten your grip and slide your hands toward the bottom of the scrotum. This will push the testicles out the end of the cut scrotum. When you have pushed them out of the scrotum, assuming you are right-handed, keep sliding your left hand to grab the cords above the testicles, that is tighten the grip between your thumb and first finger. (You grab the cords so the testicles are below your grip and it's easier to hang onto them that way.) For young calves, just slowly pull the testicles out. (You can grip one in each hand and do it one at a time.) For older calves, or if they are pulling too hard, pull out as far as possible and, using your knife blade, scrape back and forth quickly on the cords to gradually part them. (Scrape back and forth like you were trying to get the burn off a piece of toast.) If one slips out of your grip, just go back to the base of the scrotum and squeeze it (them) out again.
    Wouldn't hurt to spray on a little disinfectant and/or fly repellant when you're done.
     
  10. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    The Great State of South Dakota
    hold the tail strait up and pull toward head...helps with keeping it outta your face, making the "gifts" drop down...also helps keep the calf steady...
     
  11. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

    Messages:
    2,004
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    missouri
    cowboy i do it the way you do but i never use the knife on cords to scrap i use my hands my wife says i strip them backwards i just keep pushing up on the cords again and again with the testiles in my other hand....i use the same on the little babies also and then i pull the cords out i never cut the cords ........as you said some are easier then others .....with the knife there scraping on the cords i did that and the calf kicked and the cord got cut in all the mess so i strip them back with hands now..john
     
  12. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    717
    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Michiana
    DH and FIL have banded the bull calves for the past many years. They have not had any problems with tetanus that I know of.

    Ann
     
  13. Running Arrow

    Running Arrow Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    We don't cut a bull calf, only band them. Otherwise, if you don't have experience castrating anything, let the Vet do it. Too many problems can happen if you don't know what you're doing. Also, they need to have Tetanus shot and perhaps antibiotic shot after castrated.
     
  14. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    717
    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Michiana
    DH and FIL like to band the bull calves ASAP after birth. And DH said they had a lot more trouble when they cut the calves vs. banding. He was thinking of infection, open wound and flies, and possibility of a calf bleeding out. (I don't know if they lost one like that or know of others that did.)

    One more consideration ... FIL has multiple health problems (it sure is tough to get old!) but wants to keep involved. So we do whatever works for Dad! They band the calves at the same time they give the babies their shots.

    Ann
     
  15. petefarms

    petefarms Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    new york
    Haggis, I also band a bull calf, the younger the better, first week or two. It seems be a neat and clean way to accomplish this. The bands are cheap bought at my local feed store and the hand held spreader for them is a reasonable price and handy to use. I've a brother in law who also dehorns his heifers this way, but he milks 160 a day and also crops close to 500 acres of corn. His time is limited. Just get both testicles and do not let one go back into the belly.
     
  16. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,349
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    I clamp them with Burdizzo's. No open wound, and I have never missed a nut or had any problems. Your bull will grow faster if left intact, if you have only one or a place to separate him there is no real reason to castrate him. Bulls are typically cut to stop aggression and the fighting that happens when several are penned together, as they would be in a feed lot.
     
  17. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    western NY
    Would it be recommended to band a bull calf at 12 weeks old if he is penned with a freemartin?
     
  18. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

    Messages:
    6,613
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    I agree. They can bleed to death very easily, and they can get infection
     
  19. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

    Messages:
    6,613
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    there ya go! It sure works well doesnt it?
     
  20. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    I agree. The first and only one I ever saw done was a friend who did it to a holstien bull calf. It seemed to go fine, but the next morning he had bled to death.....
    I have banded many calves(and MANY goats), never a problem as long as you be sure both testicles are under the band. And if your banding in fly season, be sure to spray it when it starts to come loose.