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Castration - At birth verus 4-5 month of age

Dropmore Dave

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Normally we band at one to two days old, however lately have been thinking of changing to banding at around 5 months of age. My rational for this change is that there would be better growth, and of course we could use the squeeze and not have to put up with the cow breathing down your neck. Comments or suggestion would sure be welcome. As I get older I think it may be a lot easier for me to have the calf in the squeeze but perhaps there are some potential problems that I have not thought of.....

Dave
 

dun

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At that age there isn;t any testosterone involved so waiting isn;t going to get you anything.
 

angus9259

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Angus Cowman":d6z3ofeh said:
dun":d6z3ofeh said:
At that age there isn;t any testosterone involved so waiting isn;t going to get you anything.
Not trying to argue but my vet says you will get about a 10% gain on castrating at 6 months compared to new borns
I think the study he quoted was from either Nebraska or Colorado

Seems like for every study that shows one thing, there's another that shows the opposite. My vet says the research shows there's no difference. I band at birth. Much less trauma to the calf and whatever I "may" be losing in growth, I'll make back during the trauma withdrawal on the weanling. MSU just did a study showing weaned banding causes greater losses than weaned cutting too. There's a greater short term loss with the cutting, but weaned banding has a longer loss period and thus more overall loss.
 

mbangus

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We band ours as newborns (couple of days old). potential bulls are left until weaning. We used to knife during spring vac but due to man power and time it took we changed. I've been told leaving them for a few month helps with growth but if left to long you can bet they will be put in a stag pen and you just lost a least ten cents lb. and as everybody knows calf prices stink already.
Like the name dropmore dave not from dropmore are ya??
 

buckmaster33

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Seems like for every study that shows one thing, there's another that shows the opposite. My vet says the research shows there's no difference. I band at birth. Much less trauma to the calf and whatever I "may" be losing in growth, I'll make back during the trauma withdrawal on the weanling. MSU just did a study showing weaned banding causes greater losses than weaned cutting too. There's a greater short term loss with the cutting, but weaned banding has a longer loss period and thus more overall loss.[/quote]

I agree with this statement. I've read articles of all degrees on this subject...and to go a step further, band at birth and give them implants is the best route?... I personally band at 24-36 hours, if for no other good reason than it works the best for me. I agree there's a good 10-12% increase weight performance for delaying it....but does it overcome the added trauma/loss at weaning, not to mention the added time and effort to get them all knifed?? Banding at birth takes about.....lets see, 36 seconds? Of course, some people have some very nice handling facilities to help offset alot of the time factor.
 

4CTophand

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I prefer castration as newborns --we just band them as we tag them and weigh them. I have known a lot of Vets and seen alot of research--- some think they know, some know, and some are bystanders.
T
 

Dropmore Dave

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mbangus":2jcga44k said:
We band ours as newborns (couple of days old). potential bulls are left until weaning. We used to knife during spring vac but due to man power and time it took we changed. I've been told leaving them for a few month helps with growth but if left to long you can bet they will be put in a stag pen and you just lost a least ten cents lb. and as everybody knows calf prices stink already.
Like the name dropmore dave not from dropmore are ya??

You bet I'am from Dropmore MB. Still not sure which way I'll go as calfing for me starts in April. Most likely will stay with banding as new borns but was just thinking of trying something new.
 

bandit80

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Castrating at 4-5 months of age seems silly to me. If you don't band at birth, why wouldn't you simply wait until weaning to cut? 4-5 months and you aren't getting the increased growth in my opinion, and you have to run them through the chute an additional time. Fewer times through the chute equals less man hours which equals more time to do other important things.
 

I luv herfrds

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We band at birth and helped a friend who banded them at 6 months or older.
I will tell you this after banding and then cutting the sacs off of that guys bulls I will stick with banding at birth. The stench is enough to knock you over.
We had a really snotty cow this spring she almost met her fate at the barn. She went down the road this fall.
A shot of iodine in their nose calms our cows down too.
 

KNERSIE

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I agree with dun and Bandit80, no real gain by leaving them intact till 4-5 months. If you left them intact till 9-10 months I can see where you might gain something, but that you could easily achieve with an implant, too.
 

Elder Statesman

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I band them at 6-7 months as well. The information I have read over the years tells me there is some added growth. Even if it is only 30-40 lbs., that adds up to a few dollars. There is very little trama when banding at 6-7 months and usually it is a little easier to find both of them. ;-) I give them a tetnus shot and let them fall off on their own. I never cut them off. They are usually gone in 3 or 4 weeks.
 

angus9259

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Elder Statesman":uqoky5d7 said:
I band them at 6-7 months as well. The information I have read over the years tells me there is some added growth. Even if it is only 30-40 lbs., that adds up to a few dollars. There is very little trama when banding at 6-7 months and usually it is a little easier to find both of them. ;-) I give them a tetnus shot and let them fall off on their own. I never cut them off. They are usually gone in 3 or 4 weeks.

I tried this for the first time this year. Had one I left as a bull but wasn't turning out.
 

Willow Springs

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I've done almost everything. I used to leave everything as bulls until the fall and sell as bull calves; we have a PB herd and needed all the claves to be the same sex for indexing. That worked when buyers wern't as particular and you didn't get docked as hard for young bulls. Then I started banding in the fall. I didn't really like it because it does take a while for them to drop off, they are stinky and they don't heal as quickly as cutting. I also ran into a marketing crucnh; as bulls i didn't have the flexibility to market when I wanted and then once they were banded I ended up holding them for 6 weeks to get them over it and healed up.

Now I do a varied approach. I band anything at birth that isn't going to be a bull for whatever reason. Then I band througout the season whenever I work the cattle (vaccinating, AI'ing, etc). I have found that the little green rings are still quite effective up to about 3 months of age, depending on testicular size and how thick the skin is. On those bigger ones I put 2 or 3 bands, made the mistake of only using one once; what a mess. They seem to heal up pretty well at this age, but if the get bigger you've got to go to a bigger bander or cutting. Personally if it is later in the fall I would cut rather than band.
 

SRBeef

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It is interesting reading the different points of view here. Leaving them intact for a few months likely does add a few lbs. At the other end of the spectrum, I would not band and wean them at the same time.

As a beginner, what I have started with is to leave them intact at calving in the spring (April). The vet cut the bull calves during the early summer (July) work through. I think in 2009 I am going to wait until the lightest are over about 300 lb (August?) since my self-catch headgate doesn't really seem to catch them at 250 lb even in the tighter setting. Cutting just seems to be a positive, one-time method, just need to be able to count to two.

What I saw this summer is that they healed from cutting pretty quick on grass in mid-summer. Mama licks them clean, keeps them full of milk and they are back behaving like calves after about 10 days. Lots of grassy places to lie down with minimal risk of infection.

Weaning in November, this doesn't seem like a good time to add the stress of castration also, at least in my climate and situation.

This when and how to castrate seems like one of the questions where there is no one "best" answer.
 

Steve Banks

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I used to band at 4-5 days old but didn't like having to mess with catching and watching the old cow! So, now I band at 5 -6 months old just to be able to use my shute, I've had good luck so far!! I also wean them, give shots and hold them for 45 days and then sell em. I don't worry about weight gain/loss just as long as they stay in good health. I usually avg. between 500 and 600 lbs. for steers and heifers. Thats good enough for me.
 
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