When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

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sstterry
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When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby sstterry » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:16 pm

I can't band at birth. I have a whole group of 6-month-old Bulls that need to be vaccinated and banded. When do they become too big to band?
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby TCRanch » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:40 pm

We used to band at birth but since now it's generally just me they're banded when we work them at 3 months (and I have a crew helping me). That said, I did have one that was almost 6 months old at the time & he was still banded. I have just the basic "cheerio" bander & one of the XL banders. I would strongly recommend Covexin 8 or something else with tetanus.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Workinonit Farm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:17 pm

Generally, the 'cheerio' type banders are good up to 500 lbs. When too big for that type, there's XL banders or Calicrate banders, designed specifically for larger animals.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Texas PaPaw » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:21 pm

sstterry wrote: When do they become too big to band?


Never! Have banded many 1000+ lb bulls with California bander. Will dry up and fall off in half the time if slit sack open right after band applied and yes, give tetanus toxoid at same time.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby sstterry » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:03 pm

Thank you all! I would definitely use Covexin 8 with all the other vaccines for tetanus.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Dempster » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:04 pm

I would give them a dose of covexin 8 a couple weeks prior to banding and a second dose when you place the band. A single dose at the time of banding will do nothing to prevent tetanus.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Lucky » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:03 am

I end up cutting a few big calves that were missed at first working every year. I’ve never had a problem doing this but allot would depend on what you plan on doing with the calf. In my experience castrating or dehorning 500-600# calves sets them back 60-90 days but gains 5-10 cwt at sale. Just have to figure risk vs reward. Others may have different experiences with this?
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby JMJ Farms » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:34 am

Lucky wrote:I end up cutting a few big calves that were missed at first working every year. I’ve never had a problem doing this but allot would depend on what you plan on doing with the calf. In my experience castrating or dehorning 500-600# calves sets them back 60-90 days but gains 5-10 cwt at sale. Just have to figure risk vs reward. Others may have different experiences with this?


I’m with you Lucky. I cut several 500-600 about 4 years ago. First and last time. It works though. Not knocking anyone who does it but it ain’t for me for two reasons. One it’s hot here during the times they would need to be cut. Biggest reason is it knocked them back bad even though they were still on the cow. I catch them when they’re born anyway to tag them so I decided to band at birth. Tag, band, BoSe shot, Vit A&D shot and paint navels. Just works better for my situation.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Dave » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:43 pm

I do prefer cutting over banding but I don't like it if they are much over 500. I have a friend who buys and bands a lot of 700-800 pound bulls. About 3 days after banding he runs them back in and cuts off everything about an inch below the band. I have seen some of those bigger banded bulls that have a stinking rotten mess. There is just too much there to just dry up. His solution works well. Everything below the band is dead by then. A sharp knife it only takes a second and it seems to heal quicker.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Lucky » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:39 pm

We always knife cut, never tried banding. Not sure which is better. That discussion could go on forever. Seems no matter how hard I try I always end up with 1 or 2 needing cut or dehorned in the fall at weaning time. They always live through it just never really rebound like I would like.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby JMJ Farms » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:55 pm

Lucky wrote:We always knife cut, never tried banding. Not sure which is better. That discussion could go on forever. Seems no matter how hard I try I always end up with 1 or 2 needing cut or dehorned in the fall at weaning time. They always live through it just never really rebound like I would like.


I guess one is as good as the other IMO. Here I think the buyers like knife cut better because they know both cods are gone. I haven’t had a calf YET that I couldn’t get both in a band. Had three or four over the years that took me 10 minutes or so and I probably should have just knife cut. If you can’t get both when banding then that’s not a crime..... just don’t put the band on. Nothing wrong with not be able to get both nutz, but there is something wrong with not being able and putting the band on anyway.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Lucky » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:32 pm

I knife cut because that’s just how it’s done around here. You may be on to something about buyers wanting knife cut. Several of the bigger sales in this area specify “knife cut”. I’ve got a friend that has several hundred cows and he swears banding everything at 500-600 # is the only way to go. I’m definitely no expert on this, really don’t matter as long as the jewles are removed I suppose.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby snoopdog » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:37 pm

I believe the data supports better gain leaving them boys at least until 500 or thereabouts. They don't get too big to band with a ratchet bander(not sure if that's the right term ), tetanus a must at over 300 Id say though . I can't and won't band at birth anymore , but I don't believe there is a difference between surgical and banding if it's NOT fly season at normal weaning weights . Stress is stress, and if you're weaning and castrating and vaccinating , it all adds up and you can expect setbacks . If you do it in steps, you can minimize that .
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby kenny thomas » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:46 pm

snoopdog wrote:I believe the data supports better gain leaving them boys at least until 500 or thereabouts. They don't get too big to band with a ratchet bander(not sure if that's the right term ), tetanus a must at over 300 Id say though . I can't and won't band at birth anymore , but I don't believe there is a difference between surgical and banding if it's NOT fly season at normal weaning weights . Stress is stress, and if you're weaning and castrating and vaccinating , it all adds up and you can expect setbacks . If you do it in steps, you can minimize that .

Studies of a chemical given off caused by the stress when they are cut or banded shows the level drops very quickly on castrated and very slowly with the banding. I knife cut as early in life as I can catch them.
With bought calves I still knife cut up to 700 lb. Don't buy anything needing cut bigger than that.
Vet at VA Tech compares growth of a calf cut or banded at birth that is given an implant as being equal to a bull calf left intact to 500lb. He says on his own he wants to wait till the head gets out before implanting. Then castrated them as soon as they hit the ground.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby farmerjan » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:10 pm

Dave wrote:I do prefer cutting over banding but I don't like it if they are much over 500. I have a friend who buys and bands a lot of 700-800 pound bulls. About 3 days after banding he runs them back in and cuts off everything about an inch below the band. I have seen some of those bigger banded bulls that have a stinking rotten mess. There is just too much there to just dry up. His solution works well. Everything below the band is dead by then. A sharp knife it only takes a second and it seems to heal quicker.

We don't knife cut, but band. If we do them young, then it is not too traumatic, BUT ....we always do them when the moon is going from last quarter to new moon when the almanac suggest..going from the thighs down. Less blood flow, seems to be less stress. Still, we have found as your friend, that banding bigger, and getting them in to cut off the sack, which we do about a week later, makes for a much less smelly mess and there is no prolonged waiting for them to dry up. We have also found that banding bigger calves that are still on the cow, they are back to eating/nursing within hours like nothing had happened. The callicrate type bander cuts off the feeling in less than 20 minutes, whereas the small "cheerio" type bands seem to take alot longer to cut off the feeling. We will give tetanus to anything that we feel needs it, including some that we have used the small bands on when the calves are 6-10 weeks. It's cheap, and if it prevent s losing one calf it is well worth it.
Knife cut calves do tend to bring a few cents more here, but we also find that waiting til they are a little older, it is alot easier to make sure you get both nuts, as they are more often fully descended after the calf is a few weeks old. We have never banded one that we could not get both down. Have one we just turned out to pasture, with his momma, that was 5-6 weeks. Could only find one nut and after some serious manipulating, did not band with just one nut. If we get them in anytime before we sell, and can get him in the chute, we will band if we can get 2, if not he will get sold as a bull. The difference between bulls and steers has not been as great this year, so it won't hurt that much.
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