When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:15 pm

Kenny is right on.
Research I have read says stress level is higher initially with surgical castration vs banding, but ends much quicker and calves end up overall gaining better than the banding. All articles & trials show EARLY castration (banding or surgical) is the best by far, 2nd best is surgical, banding is the least desired results over-all through weaning, feedlot & carcass data.
Choice - cut your finger off quickly with a hatchet or put a rubber band on it & wait for it to die & fall off???? eewwww
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Dave » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:35 pm

I was at two different brandings this spring where the bulls had been banded right after birth. At both there were calves that require surgery to finish the job. One had about 200 calves. So about 100 male calves. Every calf was checked and 3 or 4 required a knife cut to get a nut that had been missed. The second branding only had 60 calves. So 30 males. There had to be 7 or 8 that required a knife. I was at another branding in April where those bull calves weighed up to 500 pounds. They were knife cut. Those steers now probably average 750, maybe more.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:01 am

Dave wrote:I was at two different brandings this spring where the bulls had been banded right after birth. At both there were calves that require surgery to finish the job. One had about 200 calves. So about 100 male calves. Every calf was checked and 3 or 4 required a knife cut to get a nut that had been missed. The second branding only had 60 calves. So 30 males. There had to be 7 or 8 that required a knife. I was at another branding in April where those bull calves weighed up to 500 pounds. They were knife cut. Those steers now probably average 750, maybe more.

Dave - that is NOT the problem with the band - it's a problem with the PERSON doing the banding. Husband & I NEVER banded, he cut every one - whether it was at birth or at 500+. Since my nephew Phil is here, I bought a bander. So that's 6 calving years and we have never had a problem. Of course, our numbers are way less. But, the thing is, if you can count to TWO, you're good. One thing about cutting, if you have two in the bucket, you're good.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby BRYANT » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:08 am

Texas PaPaw wrote:
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.

can't say I have banded any that were 1000+ lbs. , but I have banded some that were pretty big and that slit is the way to go. I have said that several times on this site, now get ready there will be several start saying how stupid of an idea that is. I could even name you some of the ones who will say it, I bet half of them have never even tried it, but it works and they will dry a lot faster than just banding them.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Lucky » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:27 am

I’ve always been told that castrating them young takes away the “bull” look that some will get at 500-600# which equals a few more dollars at the sale. It also takes thier mind off azz and puts it on grass so they’re not riding other calves as bad which is good all the way around. Any thoughts on this?
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Dave » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:04 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Dave wrote:I was at two different brandings this spring where the bulls had been banded right after birth. At both there were calves that require surgery to finish the job. One had about 200 calves. So about 100 male calves. Every calf was checked and 3 or 4 required a knife cut to get a nut that had been missed. The second branding only had 60 calves. So 30 males. There had to be 7 or 8 that required a knife. I was at another branding in April where those bull calves weighed up to 500 pounds. They were knife cut. Those steers now probably average 750, maybe more.

Dave - that is NOT the problem with the band - it's a problem with the PERSON doing the banding. Husband & I NEVER banded, he cut every one - whether it was at birth or at 500+. Since my nephew Phil is here, I bought a bander. So that's 6 calving years and we have never had a problem. Of course, our numbers are way less. But, the thing is, if you can count to TWO, you're good. One thing about cutting, if you have two in the bucket, you're good.


I know the problem is the application not the band. The people involved here .... well it sure aint their first rodeo. I always found it a lot tougher to find both at the new born age. Add in that these people had a Eastern WA or Oregon range cow most likely blowing snot up their backside while putting on the band. At some point that distraction might cause a person to alter their judgement slightly.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:26 am

Dave wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Dave wrote:I was at two different brandings this spring where the bulls had been banded right after birth. At both there were calves that require surgery to finish the job. One had about 200 calves. So about 100 male calves. Every calf was checked and 3 or 4 required a knife cut to get a nut that had been missed. The second branding only had 60 calves. So 30 males. There had to be 7 or 8 that required a knife. I was at another branding in April where those bull calves weighed up to 500 pounds. They were knife cut. Those steers now probably average 750, maybe more.

Dave - that is NOT the problem with the band - it's a problem with the PERSON doing the banding. Husband & I NEVER banded, he cut every one - whether it was at birth or at 500+. Since my nephew Phil is here, I bought a bander. So that's 6 calving years and we have never had a problem. Of course, our numbers are way less. But, the thing is, if you can count to TWO, you're good. One thing about cutting, if you have two in the bucket, you're good.


I know the problem is the application not the band. The people involved here .... well it sure aint their first rodeo. I always found it a lot tougher to find both at the new born age. Add in that these people had a Eastern WA or Oregon range cow most likely blowing snot up their backside while putting on the band. At some point that distraction might cause a person to alter their judgement slightly.

LOL - that is sooo true.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby TCRanch » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:35 pm

Lucky wrote:I’ve always been told that castrating them young takes away the “bull” look that some will get at 500-600# which equals a few more dollars at the sale. It also takes thier mind off azz and puts it on grass so they’re not riding other calves as bad which is good all the way around. Any thoughts on this?

Looking bullish is not necessarily a good thing. Only reason my crew discovered a stag/cryptorchid last year when we weaned is because he looked too bullish. Didn't want to operate & wean at the same time so I pulled him & sold him separately. Seasoned buyers can spot a stag & I definitely got docked.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby snoopdog » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:11 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 .
I will take back the first sentence , as I can't find the link to support it . What I do find , are a whole lot of research articles that say there is no difference. YMMV.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby JMJ Farms » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:19 pm

snoopdog wrote:
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 .
I will take back the first sentence , as I can't find the link to support it . What I do find , are a whole lot of research articles that say there is no difference. YMMV.


Unless they are implanted steers then your first sentence is absolutely correct.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby snoopdog » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:10 pm

JMJ Farms wrote:
snoopdog wrote:
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 .
I will take back the first sentence , as I can't find the link to support it . What I do find , are a whole lot of research articles that say there is no difference. YMMV.


Unless they are implanted steers then your first sentence is absolutely correct.
Thank you for the comment , but if we are preweaning implanting , aren't we making excuses for our mommas ? I totally believe in post weaning implants being the best money a cattleman spends, other than a good bull . If you don't wean on the trailer .
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby JMJ Farms » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:32 pm

snoopdog wrote:Thank you for the comment , but if we are preweaning implanting , aren't we making excuses for our mommas ? I totally believe in post weaning implants being the best money a cattleman spends, other than a good bull . If you don't wean on the trailer .


I don’t think so. We are just substituting hormones for the ones we lose when we castrate. Implants still won’t make up for poor milkers.
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby skeeter swatter » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:01 am

BRYANT wrote:
Texas PaPaw wrote:
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.


can't say I have banded any that were 1000+ lbs. , but I have banded some that were pretty big and that slit is the way to go. I have said that several times on this site, now get ready there will be several start saying how stupid of an idea that is. I could even name you some of the ones who will say it, I bet half of them have never even tried it, but it works and they will dry a lot faster than just banding them.


Do you ever have any problem with fly's/maggots?
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby bird dog » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:10 pm

I prefer to band around two months of age when the nuts are a little bigger and you have a little more to hang on to. I don't care for an open wound in fly season and I don't trust my unexperienced help with a sharp knife behind a squirming calf.
I can't recall ever missing one but every now and then, I'll leave one intact because I can only find one nut.

I have one now that is about 4 months of age with an empty sack. There was nothing there when I first ran him through a couple months ago, and nothing yesterday when he went through again. The sack is very small. He looks like a calf that was knife cut. Any suggestions on him?
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Re: When is a Bull Calf too big to band?

Postby BRYANT » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:03 pm

skeeter swatter wrote:
BRYANT wrote:
Texas PaPaw wrote:
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.


can't say I have banded any that were 1000+ lbs. , but I have banded some that were pretty big and that slit is the way to go. I have said that several times on this site, now get ready there will be several start saying how stupid of an idea that is. I could even name you some of the ones who will say it, I bet half of them have never even tried it, but it works and they will dry a lot faster than just banding them.


Do you ever have any problem with fly's/maggots?

No with a drain slit they dry up a lot faster then fall off with out it they walk around with a glob of rotting flesh hanging from them. That being said I think you are better off to band them when they are small. I am not recommending banding big bulls but if I do I cut a slit in the sack.
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