Castrating calf : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We have a Holstien bull calf that will be 3 months old the 10th of December. In the past we cut our calf at about a month old, no big deal, this calf is very big and freasky and we're not experienced cow hands. What I need is suggestions about restraints. A brother in law suggested that we sadate him with some stuff they give horses to calm him down, that didn't ring true to me. The last calf we done I cut the bottom off scrotum and pulled the testicles out, think I can do that on an older calf? Thanks alot

-- sherry (, December 02, 2001


If you subscribe to Countryside look back 3-4-5 issues and there is an article in it on castrating calves.

Since you apparently don't have a headgate, rope the calve and bring it up to a stout fence. Secure the head and rear ends (around the belly) to the fence or building with gaps between the boards.

Stand in back of the calf and use your left leg to go between the legs and push the calves left leg out a little, while having someone hold the tail over the back. If you are left handed, reverse the process.

Pull the testicles tight against the bottom of the scrotum. Using a sharp knife or single edged razor blade make a slit maybe two inches long against the bottom of one of the testicles. First you will cut through the scrotum, then the membrane containing the testicle.

Pull the testicle out of the scrotum completely, get a good hold and pull back sharply to stretch and then snatch the cords. Repeat process on the other side.

If you are still getting flies, spray the scrotum area with a fly spray. Don't remember the name, but the local Co-op has it - a purple color.

If you don't have a sturdy fence, your other choice is to rope and bring down. Have someone sit on the front end while you operate on the back. Same procedure.

I've tried the cutting off the bottom of the scrotum, but prefer the slit and pull method.

That said, a three-month old calf is not too old to band with an elasticator.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 02, 2001.

Just wanted to say I would not stand directly behind it. Most people think holding their tail over their back prevents them from kicking & that's not always the case. I watched the vet do my dad's calves & I have seen him get kicked in the head twice. Both times someone was holding the tail very securely over the calves back. One time required quite a few stitches. Stand off to the side if you can.

-- Wendy (, December 02, 2001.


That's why I recommend my method. On the left leg, if it kicks at worst you will get hit in the back of the leg. You will be out of the way of a kick by the right leg. Believe me, cattle don't cock their legs before kicking and the kick takes only what seems a nano- second.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 02, 2001.

When I was a teenager, my dad decided one day to save vet fees and cut an 800 lb angus bull himself. Don't ask me why. I think it was some excuse about waiting until the sign was right. My younger brother and I both objected and tried to convince him the bull was too big for us to man-handle -- make that kid-handle.

There was no debate. The bull was going to be cut and we were going to do it. We always used the slit and pull method on hogs and cattle. We banded sheep. So, we got a couple of spanking clean new ropes and wrapped that bull up nice and tight against a hay bunk inside a 200-ton hay barn. My brother and I were fairly good sized kids and in good shape from playing football and all. Our job was to hold the bull against the bunk and keep him cinched up tight.

Well, when the first cut was made and the pull was started, that bull popped those new ropes like shoestrings and suddenly developed a real nasty dispostion. Luckily, we all climbed up walls, over gates, and through hay bunks as this bull attempted to even the score with us. After several minutes, the bull found a crack in the wall of the alleyway and made a new entrance hole out to the feedlot. There he was running around the lot banging into anything that got in his way, dragging his testicle behind him in the mud. He was mad.

Somewhile later the vet showed up with a portable chute and the four of us finally got that bull into the chute where the vet finished the job. So much for saving money. The lesson learned that day was that you want to MAKE REAL SURE in advance that you have enough of what it takes to control the animal you plan to castrate. A 300 lb holstein bull will have more power than you might think. You might want to give some additional thought to using a chute and be careful.

-- Ed (, December 02, 2001.

Wasn't thinking Ken. You can say that again about it happening so fast. Saw the blood on his head before I realized what had happened.

-- Wendy (, December 02, 2001.

Get some help and push the calf up against the wall and cut away! Jim

-- Jim Raymond (, December 03, 2001.

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