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Who castrates newborn calves on pasture?

  • We caatrate on pasture with a knife

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • We band our beef calves

    Votes: 9 45.0%
  • We give tetanus shots

    Votes: 1 5.0%
  • We Don't castrate this young

    Votes: 6 30.0%
  • We have other methods or ideas

    Votes: 1 5.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Beef Cattle suggestions and methods-seeking advice!

Needing input on castrating newborn bull calfs who are born on pasture as to what if any methods you use to quickly and safely castrate bull calves. Suggestions of sanitary practices, tools used, etc., to achieve success in this process are most welcomed!


So if you raise beef on pasture do you castrate with a knife within the first 24 hours after birth? This was taught as the best option, as we were instructed as it being the easiest way to capture the animal. We have only had a few that we have done this way, and are trying to learn and grow a small herd.

Questions we have-if you can help with any-thank you!
  1. Do you use or give any shots? CDT? Tetanus?
  2. Do you treat the area with any solution or disinfectant, blu-kote or other? Do you follow up with any disinfectant or shot?
  3. How would you know if you have a tetanus problem? If you do have one, then what do you do?
  4. Do you cut and disinfect umbilical cord with iodine?
  5. Is spring or wet grounds problematic? Not sure, but we have had lots of excessive rain
  6. Do you give your grass fed and pasture raised newborn calves any additional feed or creep type food?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
When castrating is a knife the main tool needed? Also, do you give the animal any penicillin or a tetanus shot at the time of castration!

Do you also cut, clamp or tie umbilical cord and dip in iodine as you do with a goat?
 

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Sharp, clean knife. Spray with blu-kote or iodine solution. No shots. Have had problems with lambs getting tetanus, but never calves, lambs were usually older when done and have a tendency to lay around in buildings. Have confined lambs to pasture and given tetanus antitoxin at the time of castration, or given tetanus vaccine at time of castration, or combinations all with better results than not doing anything. But never had a problem with calves on grass.

Have seen banded calves develop infections with banding as well as band failure, testicle slip back, etc. That is why we choose the knife. Tetanus will show up in 7 to 10 days, they start walking stiff, fall over, inside eyelids roll over the eyes, they quit breathing and die. Sometimes if you catch it early and give antibiotics, anti-toxin, and excellent supportive care some of them will pull through. Without having seen it before, you might not catch it early enough.

Have had joint ill in calves, every once in a while. For that reason, if the navel is still wet, it gets a squirt of whatever is on hand, if it is dry, not a big concern. Check for descended testicles before cutting, if they aren't both there give a couple weeks and get them up and try again. Have probably seen around a half dozen that weren't descended at a day old, in 30 years of doing between 50 to 200 head of cattle and Charolais or Limousin were involved in all cases.
 

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hillbilly farmgirl
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I like to use a scalpel. Disinfect equipment and calf beforehand, cut, blood stop powder, done. Let them go back to Mama to nurse, if a bottle calf have a bottle handy for comfort after procedure

I'm rather interested in knowing exactly how others do this, though. Do you cut the entire scrotum with testes inside, cut bottom of scrotum and pull testes out? What works for you? I like to just cut the bottom of sack and pull testes out myself
 

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We try to castrate in the first couple weeks. Always look up the signs in the farmers almanac for best days. Cut the bottom scrotum pull the tetses down cut and spray with blue-kote. ear tag and vaccinate. have not had an issue yet.
 

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We run our cows up three to four times a year. We band the ones young enough <300-400 lbs and vaccinate whoever is due and worm them all. If we miss castrating a bull calf, meh.....they'll end up at the auction anyway and they grow faster. There used to be a huge price differential around here for steers vs bull calves. There is still a differential, but I am not convinced it makes that much difference to the bottom line anymore as long as you auction them off before they hit 700 lbs.

Plus I am not riding around looking for calves everyday. We had one cow that kept her calf squirreled away for a long, long time (at least two weeks).
 
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Wood Nymph / Toxophilite
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We raise cast off dairy bucket calves. We wait for the testicles to descend and elastrate.

We do it first thing in the morning when it is still cool out and before the morning feeding.

Administer an LA200, alcohol on band and elastrator, apply band, give bottle feeding post procedure. Monitor for heat and discomfort until they drop off, then coat with an anti-pest and antiseptic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting to see the number of "banders," that have replied! Giving the LA200-seems wise...

Also, iodine dips-we believe in those-and so easy of course, so why not?

We have had so much rain -still and unfortunately or fortunately are birthing so late! Rain in mid July, is unusual, as its usually, April-June at the latest! Ugh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A couple of replies have suggested a tetanus show about 3 weeks before banding and at the time of banding. Probably a very good idea.
I think you might be prudent to do so.

In reading and raising other animals have seen recommendations like that with other livestock, so maybe it should apply to the larger animals as well?

It just seems if you can possibly avoid this terrible condition-tetanus, you would!?M

BTW-I just got my own DTP renewed! Embarrassed to say, as I have been the extreme one insisting on our livestock getting what they need-realized my own DTP was nearly 9 years overdue! Oh, my goodness! Guess, my roll of enforcer (and record keeper of health records, DOB, etc,...) for the critters, makes me seem a bit hypocritical!?!
 

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I band ASAP. They don't care, don't even know that anything has happened. Very humane. Get the band as close to the belly as possible, that way if you miss one it won't show, and he won't be fertile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Also can double band. Use two on each, as if one breaks?

Our vet did that on one at the farm.

Also gave a tetanus shot, or CDT
 
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