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 Castration - what method do you use?
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farmer Liz

36 Posts


Posted - Aug 12 2014 :  7:30:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, I know this isn't exactly milk cow related, but sooner or later, you have to deal with a bull calf....

So far we have used rubber bands with no problems on about 20 beef calves and 3 milk cow calves. Only issue I have is that they take weeks to work, and I always worry about the poor little calves until its all healed up. We considered leaving one calf as a bull (although we intended on raising him for meat), but worried that he would become aggressive and he had horns, so he got a band too eventually.

Does anyone else have castration experiences to share?

http://eight-acres.blogspot.com.au/

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia

CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 12 2014 :  9:35:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This may or may not help...but we have always used the bands with our goats as we could do it ourselves without needing a vet or someone else. I have thought about the clamping, but felt that the success rate would be unknown until too late! But, maybe, this does not relate at all to cows. My experience is limited. I do feel sorry for my little guys as they do carry on for a few hours and I can imagine it is painful at first. I always try to give them an extra milk bottle during that time. After that, the little guys don't seem to even notice the bands.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6883 Posts


Posted - Aug 12 2014 :  9:53:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We've only steered one bull so far in all these years. We took him to the vet for the procedure. I watched the process. He was numbed first and then his two sacks and some tubing removed. He was close to two months old. Once he was back home, he didn't act any different and healed quickly. I've been told that a bull is more prone to getting infections when banded and that they feel discomfort for the first few days.

We've also butchered a four-year-old Jersey bull who was no longer fertile. Because we weren't convinced that his meat would be tender, we turned most of it into a very lean hamburger. It's incredibly tasty and delicate. Everyone who has tried it has given it an enthusiastic thumbs up. It seems like if you wait to butcher until they're older, you can use them as bulls the entire time and then fill your freezer (a bull would put on more weight I would think). That way, your animal is dual purpose.

I think Kade uses bands on his bulls. Maybe he can weigh in on this.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Aug 13 2014 :  06:25:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We had a companion bull calf (Boss Boy), for Maybelle when we started out, and I had the vet come out. I had a hold on him while the vet castrated him. Everyone told me not to have a Jersey bull because they are so aggressive. He would challenge us even after he was castrated so I don't know if there would have been much difference. Anyway, Boss Boy didn't have any problems after the castration and didn't act like it bothered him in the least. It was done in just a couple minutes and off he went. I used betadine solution to the area for a few days. Just a precaution.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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kadebg1988

128 Posts


Posted - Aug 13 2014 :  08:36:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Mary Jane, Yes we have used more than one method to castrate our calves banding has worked well for us. I will list and describe each method though.

#1 Banding using an Elastrator , This CAN be done a couple days after the calf is born or anytime during the bulls life. The equipment you use for the procedure will change as he grows and matures. While he is still a calf, the banding tool you will use takes a small green band. We call these "Green Cheerios" These can actually be used up until the calf is almost a month old and still receive the same results. WE ALWAYS recommend calves receive a Tetanus toxoid vaccination during this procedure. As well as Tetanus should be used anytime you will have a would or eventual open wound on a calf. As the calf grows and becomes a BULL, if you have not castrated as a calf then a different type of banding is used. Now you may ask " Why would anyone wait to band them so late, how cruel". The answer is...many reasons....Some farmers keep back and "Raise Up" their bull calves until they are 6-8 MONTHS to evaluate who will make the cut ( Pardon my Pun) to be a herd sire for his or someone else's herd, You simply cannot guarantee that a new born bull calf is "Herd Sire Potential" at only a few days old. That calf will do so much changing and growing and can still become a better steer then bull even with the best genetics behind him. This is why some farmers wait. I am one of these farmers. As my calves mature and start to reach around 6 months I then decide who is staying a bull and who is not. I then bring my bull calves into our working pen, separate them off, send them down to the head catch and use a BULL elastrator, this apparatus uses a larger BAND which is ratcheted down onto the scrotum to a certain tightness to cause loss of blood flow and castration. I PREFER BANDING, this is my personal preference as I am sure all have their own. But my reason is their is not direct open wound, the calf is only in discomfort for a short period of time until the feeling leaves his testes and he goes about him life half the man he was. I am not saying there is NO discomfort, any procedure you choose will cause discomfort to a point.


#2 Burdizzo- A Burdizzo is a tool that crimps the vessels of the testes and does not cut the scrotum, it applies pressure in such a way that the scrotum stays attached and the testicles are re-absorbed by the body ( if you do it right) if not you can simply have a bunch of gomer bulls running around.
While on the topic I guess I should talk a little about a Gomer Bull. A Gomer Bull is a bull that has had a form of vasectomy to where he still acts as a bull but cannot reproduce, used on dairy farms or beef operations using AI, these bulls are essentially walking,eating, bellowing grass eaters.

#3 Surgical- I calve in early summer and I do not want to treat my calves for fly strike.
Open wounds in the warm weather months attract fly's and they will lay their eggs in a wound and start to infest the whole wound, delaying healing even using most preventative treatments. But I have used surgical methods in cooler months on older bulls using a rope technique to drop them and stretch them out. Blood flow is also much less in cooler months. Which ever way you decide, it is always a MUST to have a good working relationship with your veterinarian and to have his number handy. These people are professionals who have had to run and fix a lot of mishaps because someone did not do their research first. So please be careful. Hope this did not come out as one big run on. Kade

Visit us online at www.upperdiamondfarm.com
Or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/upperdiamondfarm

Edited by - kadebg1988 on Aug 13 2014 08:37:28 AM
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maryjane

6883 Posts


Posted - Aug 13 2014 :  10:05:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Kade! You're the best! (You're the cow's moo?)

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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farmer Liz

36 Posts


Posted - Aug 25 2014 :  01:51:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Its interesting to read all the responses. We chose banding for the same reasons - its something we could do ourselves. The burdizzo is an attractive option, but I would always wonder if we had done it right! Most old farmers around us cut their calves, just using a pocket knife and no anesthetic, it just doesn't seem right to me and I don't want to pay a vet to do it either! I don't like branding either, but its a requirement if we want to sell cattle here.

http://eight-acres.blogspot.com.au/

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Aug 27 2014 :  6:15:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Pumpkin Moonshine is feeling a little less perky tonight. Vet was here and surgically removed testes. Also was dehorned and had an abscess incised at his umbilicus that must have got infected at some point. Anyway he bears watching for a few days and hopeful all will be fine. Mainly keeping flies off and watching for any further problems. When all was over he promptly went out into the small pasture started eating hay, and waited for Nellie to join him after milking.
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 29 2014 :  2:21:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How's Pumpkin Moonshine doing today?

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Aug 29 2014 :  2:43:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Moving slowly and a bit guarded, but eating and nursing. I doused his bottom side and his umbilicus incision with Betadine. He's not loving me much right now. He is very uneasy about coming into the barn. Keeping flies off his de-horned area. He just needs a few days and hopefully be right as rain.
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 29 2014 :  3:42:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What exactly are you using to keep the flies off his dehorned area? Clover just had a tiny scur burned this morning and we were told to keep the flies at bay.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Aug 29 2014 :  5:05:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't remember what the vet used, I know he mentioned it but I'm not recalling it right at the moment. I know he told me I wouldn't have to worry about it for a few days time because it would last that long. I spray MJ homemade fly spray in the barn and on the animals. If the flies look like they are going to bother his dehorning crevices I may use citronella just around that area until it is healed. Both of the crevices are dry and no flies bothering. It is overcast the last several days and not too warm so the timing was pretty good. If I keep spraying with the natural spray in the barn that helps quite a bit and of course keep it clean of muck. I can call the vet on Mon. and have them tell me for certain what it was he used. I believe it was a combination antiseptic/insecticide for wounds in particular. Maybe DiFly but I'm not sure so I will find out.
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NellieBelle

11033 Posts


Posted - Aug 29 2014 :  5:46:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would try using the Dynamint around the debudded area. If it works as good as MaryJane mentioned then I would stay clear of the stronger stuff because it can't be good for them. I haven't tried the Dynamint for fly prevention. Just using MJ natural mixture and citronella. I will try the Dynamint around the dehorned crevices if the flies come back but they're not bothering at this time.
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