Calves castration – a common procedure for an efficient management
Castration of bulls is already a common practice all over the world, with benefits that are generally recognized and appreciated. Each year, the farmers practice the castration of the young calves, with no questions, in the immediate post-calving period the castration of their calves. Since 2008, the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), America shows that 75% of Americans agree with the castration of bulls and the same percentage castrate the calves before the age of 3 months. Castration of the calves in the first days of live is ideal and recommended both from a psychological point of view and because it reduces the stress at which the animals are exposed to. This is also reflected in the animal’s health, weight gain and the quality of meat. A lot of studies have been written on this topic, taking in consideration both parts, the benefits of the cattle and the benefits of the farm and the best management practices. Here are the main conclusions and the reasons why castration of bulls is no longer a question, but a habit for all farmers:
From farms management point of view:
– By reducing the produced testosterone, the animals are less aggressive and they do not harm each other
– Preventing pairing too early and bringing the possibility of keeping males and females together in the same group
– This way the bovines are much easier to handle and involve low maintenance costs
From produced meat point of view:
– The muscles are more relaxed, the meat is smoother, with more intense marbling
– It decreases the pH level that can influence the meats taste in a unpleasant way
– The obtained meat from castrated calves is similar to that of females, which makes it easier to produce constant quality
The easiest and most practical method is to use an elastrator:
- Use the purchased elastic rings for the last 12 months to avoid tearing and to ensure a good bottleneck.
- The rings must be strong enough to cut the bloodstream into the arteries. Otherwise the scrotum may swell.
- Pull both testicles into the scrotum. The attached muscle of testicle will pull the testes into the abdomen.
- Place the rubber band on the elastomer. Hold the elastomer with the teeth up. Close the handles to open the tape.
- The calf must stand and have both testicles in the scrotum and after this put the opened ring over the scrotum. Release the tape just above the upper testicle (~ 0.5 cm), not at the base of the scrotum.
- Check that both testicles are still at the top of the scrotum and that the ring is correctly placed (Figure 2). If not, cut the ring with a scissor and try again.
- Remove the elastomer under the tape.
The herd management is an evidence for the improvement of genetics. By selecting males for breeding, farmers can positively influence the transmitted traits to the herd and to contribute to the breeds evolution. Only the best performers bring yield and quality, their genes influence the daily weight gain, muscle and fat ratio, milk production for calves, overall the physical and mental health of the animals.