Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: castrating calves  (Read 1988 times)

Scotsdumpy

  • Joined Jul 2012
castrating calves
« on: July 07, 2016, 08:40:09 am »
We've just had our 2 calves castrated and wonder if the method has changed recently.  Our last calf was done by an older (old school) vet who used local anaesthetic in the calf's scrotum/testicles and the job was done without too much discomfort to the calf. On this occasion a recently qualified vet used an intramuscular pain killer then went straight to the job with the scalpel. The calf was obviously distressed - one testicle was removed whole but the second disintegrated during removal. The second was a repeat of the first but both testicles disintegrated and one was pulled back into the body. This meant the vet had to go in with a pair of forceps to retrieve   - he was considering knocking him out at one stage. My question is should he have used local rather than intramuscular? And, what do your vets do?

I'm thinking if we have males again to use rubber rings - do any of you use this method?

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 08:51:50 am »
We get the vet to castrate our bull calves at about six months of age - usually when he comes to PD the cows again. Sometimes he uses the Burdizzo but usually he cuts them, becasue it's November-ish and past the flies. It's also completely reliable - using the Burdizzo, you should check in a few weeks that the testicles have shriveled just in case it's not been 100% effective.

We don't use rubber rings because I like the steers to have a sac and I think castration at 7 days makes them look rather feminine. There's also some evidence that they grow better if left entire for longer.

I've never experienced the problem you had but it's always been the same vet - he uses a local anaesthetic.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 09:01:16 am »
We ring all of our bull calves when they are tagged at a couple of days old, much better for everyone involved. They all grow fine and normally achieve top prices in the store ring. You can tell the odd 1 that has been left entire for longer and cut later on by the vet, it affects their temperament and they can be quite a handful.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 10:14:45 am »
 I'm not a vet, but to me an intramuscular painkiller is like giving general pain relief to reduce pain, much as you would for a headache; whereas a local anaesthetic is to totally block the pain in a specific area. Our vet has always used a local and our animals haven't felt a thing. Recently I get them to administer Metacam (painkiller) afterwards for when the local has worn off as I read that this reduces the stress to the animal as the feeling comes back.

 Sounds to me that it's no wonder the testicles disintegrated as the poor calves must have been in considerable pain, and no doubt struggled violently.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 12:16:21 pm »
I think you need to speak to the more senior vet(s) at the practise; it sounds as though the younger vet may need some mentoring.

We prefer burdizzo or castration at three months-ish as they do develop more masculine characteristics if done later.  However we do on occasion use a rubber ring at a few days days old; it works fine and the beasts grow well.  They do look a little more like heifers though.  I have to say, however, our top price ever for a beast was a Limousin stirk that we'd ringed at a few days old.  Whether he'd have fetched even more if he'd been that bit more masculine, one can only guess! 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2016, 04:00:04 pm »
He should have had local anesthetic into the scrotum and then after a few minutes cut off the bottom of it with a scalpel and then removed testicles, relatively quick and simple. Painkiller ie Metacam can be given after to help with discomfort when local wears off.
We do around 100 every 8/10 weeks.

Rubber band at three days old is much easier though!

Jullienne

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2016, 04:30:28 pm »
I am planning on having mine done next year, so thanks for discussing this subject guys :) Is rubberinging a good way or can it backfire? I don't mind the femineness about them, but would they grow any faster?
boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. proverbs 27 verses 1-2.

Scotsdumpy

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2016, 05:16:58 pm »
Thanks for all your replies - unfortunately we don't have much choice of vet surgeries here in north Aberdeenshire otherwise we would have considered changing a long time ago. I might have a word with the manager when I get to pay the bill. Our other alternative is to ask for the older vet to do it. The calves are recovered from the ordeal for the moment!!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 05:28:02 pm »
I am planning on having mine done next year, so thanks for discussing this subject guys :) Is rubberinging a good way or can it backfire? I don't mind the femineness about them, but would they grow any faster?

On our small sample, I wouldn't say there's a significant difference in growth rate, no.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: castrating calves
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 05:52:45 pm »
I am planning on having mine done next year, so thanks for discussing this subject guys :) Is rubberinging a good way or can it backfire? I don't mind the femineness about them, but would they grow any faster?

As long as you make sure you have caught both the stones and not trapped anything else it works fine- is there a local farmer that could help you the first few times?

 

Ear tagging and castrating done!

Started by trish.farm

Replies: 17
Views: 4479
Last post May 05, 2014, 06:14:32 pm
by SallyintNorth
Bye calves!

Started by Roxy

Replies: 1
Views: 2102
Last post December 14, 2009, 09:22:06 pm
by stooriefit
New Calves.

Started by Crofter

Replies: 10
Views: 5776
Last post July 12, 2011, 11:34:48 pm
by SallyintNorth
Castrating young bull calf single handedly

Started by Muddy Wellies

Replies: 5
Views: 397
Last post May 08, 2020, 11:23:16 pm
by landroverroy
Roaming calves

Started by Roxy

Replies: 4
Views: 2684
Last post August 27, 2009, 11:28:35 am
by Roxy

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2020. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS