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Discussion Starter #1
We have a 2 week old Angus/Holstein calf. He's doing excellent by the way for those read my other thread about him..

We were thinking about banding him, but wanted to know the pros and cons for both. Either leave him a bull or casterate him.

I'm guessing the general concensus will be to casterate. So my next question would be - what is a good age to do that?

If he remains a bull - is there a certain age they need to be butchered by? My thoughts were that he'd grow faster if left alone, but I could be totally wrong about that.

Thanks in advance! I did a search and couldn't really find what I was looking for.
 

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My name is not Alice
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Banding now is easier than banding a month from now. You can up to the point where you can't slip the scrotum through the band. If he is a bottle calf, you could do the duty while he is on the bottle and probably not even know you did the deed.

As to castrate or not? That is up to your management and facility. I band all calves because I don't have the pasture resources. I would not hesitate to keep a freezer calf in tact if I had the place to stick him in his 2nd (and maybe 3rd) year. But I don't, and I don't want accidental breeding, so off they come.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He is our one and only cow. We have about an acre and a half for him that is divided so we can switch him back and forth. But right now he's in a barn.

We're not against getting a 2nd sometime in the near future if the price is right.
 

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A lot depends on your facilities to handle the animal.
If you do not have a decent way to restrain him later to do the deed it would be better to band now.
If you have a chute and head lock or something like that then you can let him go till he's bigger and use a knife.
We have always banded calves but our neighbor let them get a good start, 600 pounds or so, before he castrated. He claimed that they grew a better frame that way then filled it out.
 

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As a bull, he'll be looking for cows in heat and your fences will suffer for it, along with your pocketbook. If he's your one and only "cow," then I would band him. Give him a tetanus shot now and booster in three weeks when you band him.

But it's hard to keep just one solitary animal. Cattle need other cattle for company. Why not get another steer to give him a buddy? He'll be happier.
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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In your situation, give him a tetanus shot and band in 2 weeks.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
But it's hard to keep just one solitary animal. Cattle need other cattle for company. Why not get another steer to give him a buddy? He'll be happier.
We are keeping our eyes open and would like to get a 2nd.

Thanks everyone. I figured with no plans to breed him, banding him would be the way to go. Didn't know about the tetanus shot prior to banding, so that is good to know.
 

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If I remember correctly, tetanus is caused by the organism being present in the soil. If there never was a case on your farm, you are probably safe not vaccinating for it, but it can be present from a long time back, and especially if there were horses on the farm.
 

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I band after their 3 their day colostrum intake so as not to interrupt that healthy chance of huge intake. If no momma, I band quickly, within first 2 weeks. Never given a tetanus w banding. Only w castration via scalpel
 

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I like to band early. I had one that I got in a trade and the guy banded him before I got him.. He missed both testicles. When he got to be about 5-600 lbs he started getting mean and awnry. I was planning on keeping him and eating him but I just hauled him to the stock yard. Im not taking a chance of getting hurt or killed with a mean cow or bull. If your plan is just to eat and not use for breeding I would highly suggest banding him.
 

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Tetanus can be present in the soil. It is shed by horses, and just about every property has had horses kept on it in the past.

We got by for years without vaccinating for tetanus, then we lost a nice big black steer to it. We cut 2 steers the same day, they were bff's and always hung out together, one developed tetanus, the other one didn't.

There is less risk of it with banding than with cutting, but still potential. So if you want to avoid an expensive loss, plus the misery of watching the animal suffer, give the shot. There is a vaccination which takes 2, 3 weeks to develop immunity, then there is an anti-toxin. The safest bet is vaccinate 2 weeks prior to castration, then give the anti-tox at the time.

It's pretty cheap insurance.
 
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Band him now, he will grow bigger and better as a steer. No need to keep him as a bull unless he is to be used for a bull. There is a reason why steers bring more money than bulls at market.
Its actually the opposite.
Other countries don't castrate at all for that reason.
There is a stigma in this country about bull meat.....its just fine as long he's not under severe distress while being killed.....
I have researched this a lot and i'm originally from Germany where they keep just about all meat bulls intact ,my cousin has 3big bulls in one lg stall 🐮
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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Its actually the opposite.
Other countries don't castrate at all for that reason.
There is a stigma in this country about bull meat.....its just fine as long he's not under severe distress while being killed.....
I have researched this a lot and i'm originally from Germany where they keep just about all meat bulls intact ,my cousin has 3big bulls in one lg stall 🐮
It is true that bulls will grow a little more, but also the steer will fatten/marble quicker. Bull meat tends to be leaner. We have eaten bulls, the meat tasted fine but they definitely were leaner than steers the same age. There is a tradeoff.
 
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My name is not Alice
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My preference is to band in the pasture on day 1. But my trusty cowpoke of a son hasn't been able to go out with me when I check cows this season, so I have been letting them go until the rotate through the corral. I don't do it alone, because it need someone to keep momma out of my grill. Doing it when they way north of 200 lbs is a major task, IMO.
 

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bulls do get bigger faster but not that much so and the problems a bull brings really are not worth it. i band at about 100lbs but i know some people that wait as long as 500
 
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