How to Castrate Calves by Banding

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Male calves routinely have been castrated for centuries around the world. Castration reduces the animals' aggressive characteristics when they reach adulthood and makes their meat more tender due to the lower amount of male hormones in the blood stream. The most common method of castration involves the surgical removal of both testicles without anesthesia. The calf often suffers extreme pain during the process. The latest method of castration involves placing a band around the testicles to cut off the blood supply. The method appears to not adversely affect the animals' appetite, weight gain or overall health, and is far less painful, according to "Beef Magazine."

  • Lay a young calf on its side and tie its legs together. An older, larger calf can be held by two strong people during the banding process. Adolescent, strong and heavy calves will require a cattle squeeze chute to hold the animal still.

  • Place the rubber band over the tips of the elastrator. Gently compress the handles together to expand the rubber band.

  • Grasp both testicles firmly with your hand and pull downward. Be careful to not let one testicle go and slip up inside the calf.

  • Slide the open rubber band over both testicles and gently release the band by allowing the handles of the elastrator to expand.

  • Look closely to make sure both testicles are banded. Release the elastrator by gently pulling the tips free of the rubber band.

  • Release the calf from its restraints. Many calves show discomfort and signs of pain for up to four hours after band castration, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The calf will often toss its head, stamp its foot, kick at its belly and roll around.

  • Watch the testicles closely to make sure they do not become infected. Contact a veterinarian If the testicles begin to have a pus-filled discharge with a foul odor. Depending on the age of the calf at castration, the testicles will typically shrivel up and fall off the calf, along with the rubber band, within 10 to 50 days after application.

Tips & Warnings

  • The elastrator and calf castration rubber bands can be purchased at most farm and garden supply stores.

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