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Castration of Cattle. Animal Science Kristal Zimmers. Review…. Objectives. Define the term castration Identify the reasons for castrating cattle Indicate the best age to castrate cattle

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castration of cattle

Castration of Cattle

Animal Science

Kristal Zimmers


  • Define the term castration
  • Identify the reasons for castrating cattle
  • Indicate the best age to castrate cattle
  • Describe the methods of castration in cattle
  • Identify the correct way to care for cattle after castration
  • Demonstrate the open wound method of castration
what is castration
What is castration?
  • Definition: removing the testicles of a male animal
  • The functioning of the testicles is stopped by preventing the production of the male hormones so that the animal is unable to reproduce
why do we castrate cattle
Why do we castrate cattle?
  • To prevent them from mating after they reach puberty
  • Steers are usually more docile and easier to handle than bulls.
  • Steers are also not as rough on equipment and are easier to manage as new individuals added to feedlots.
  • Steers are finished earlier (fatten quicker) than bulls because fat deposition occurs at a faster rate than in bulls.
why do we castrate cattle1
Why do we castrate cattle?
  • Steers produce a carcass with finer texture of lean and more marbling
  • Beef marketing system favors steer carcasses.
  • Steer carcasses can be marketed through a greater number of channels than bull carcasses.
  • Steers can be mixed with females in pasture or in lots without causing any management problems
  • Eliminates possibility of using inferior bulls
when to castrate
When to Castrate
  • Can be done at any age up to 12 months
  • Better to do when animal is very young (before 2 months of age)
  • Older calves tend to suffer a greater set back from the castration (which cost the producer money)
  • Easier to handle animals when they are young
  • Avoid extremes in weather. Too hot, too cold, or wet days should be avoided.
  • In all techniques the hands and castration instruments should be sanitized between each calf to prevent the spread and/or introduction of infection.
methods of castration in cattle
Methods of castration in cattle
  • Burdizzo
  • Rubber rings (elastrator)
  • Open wound castration (emasculator or knife)
  • Spermatic cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles are cut
  • Testicles tend to stop functioning for a while and then stop functioning and degenerate

burdizzo cont d
Burdizzo cont’d.
  • Calves can be castrated when the spermatic cord can be clearly felt (from about 1 month onwards)
  • One spermatic cord should be clipped at a time
  • It is important to clip the two cords at different levels so that the scrotal sac will receive enough blood
  • Otherwise it will become gangrenous
  • Make sure that the spermatic cord is between the burdizzo blades
advantages to burdizzo castration
Advantages to Burdizzo castration
  • Bloodless
  • Infection or maggot infestation seldom occurs
rubber rings elastrator
Rubber rings (elastrator)

rubber rings elastrator1
Rubber rings (elastrator)
  • Rubber rings are put on (using elastrator) between birth and about 10 days of age
  • If applied later, the calf could get tetanus or a general infection
  • Animal also feels more pain and this decreases growth
  • Ensure that both testicles are in the scrotum before applying the ring
disadvantages of rubber rings
Disadvantages of rubber rings
  • This elastrator bands can break and castration may not occur.
  • Sometimes a testicle can be missed and be retained in the belly cavity, resulting in a stag.
advantages of rubber rings
Advantages of rubber rings
  • Calves are easy to handle and little labor is involved
  • Bloodless method
open wound castration emasculator or knife
Open wound castration (emasculator or knife)

open wound castration emasculator or knife cont d
Open wound castration (emasculator or knife) cont’d.
  • Before the operation, the person doing the operation must wash their hands well, the instruments must be boiled and the scrotum disinfected thoroughly with iodine or another suitable disinfectant.
  • Apply antibiotic powder and fly repellant
open wound castration emasculator or knife cont d1
Open wound castration (emasculator or knife) cont’d.
  • A sharp knife is used to remove the lower third of the scrotum
  • Each testicle is removed from its supporting membranes
  • Do not remove too little of the scrotum or it will not drain well
  • Emasculator has a cutting and crushing surface
  • Instrument is placed on the spermatic cord and the vascular supply closed so that the testes are removed
open wound castration emasculator or knife cont d2
Open wound castration (emasculator or knife) cont’d
  • Excessive bleeding is prevented by the action on the vascular tissue
  • If a knife is used, the cords should not be cut “cleanly”.
  • Instrument is held at an angle and scraped over a distance of about 30 mm, until the cord breaks (prevents too much blood flow)
  • Better to use emasculator than knife
which castration method to use
Which castration method to use
  • Determined by the preference of the operator, age and weight of the calf, and the time of year the procedure is being performed.
  • Turn calves in with their mothers in a clean grass pen.
  • Do not turn into muddy or filthy lots or lots around barns (where there is much danger of infection)
  • Watch cattle closely for about 10 days after castration
  • Beware of fly attacks and infection (especially with emasculator method)
  • Treat wounds with wound aerosol which discourages fly attacks
  • If swelling and pain are severe and/or if the animal develops a temperature, a suitable antibiotic should be injected