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Castration Options

20 August 2016

With changes in procurement processes and tightening up on requirements for entire male animals you what are the options for castrating bull calves which have been left entire?

Rubber ring:

These should only be used in the first 7 days of life


Bloodless castration to crush the spermatic cords can be carried out by a trained and competent stock-keeper.  This is permitted up until the calves are two months of age.

Any calf over two months of age must be castrated by a veterinary surgeon using an aesthetic.  Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act of 1966 it is an offence for anyone other than a veterinary surgeon to castrate calves over two months old.

Remember that castration of older and larger animals is not without risks both to the animal being castrated and those handling it.  Last year at Ayr we saw two larger bullocks that died due to blood loss over a week after castration had been carried out.  It was assumed these animals had dislodged the blood clots that had formed immediately after castration.

The decision to castrate (if required) should be taken as early as possible.  Any calves seen to be falling behind at an early age are unlikely to catch up and be finished on schedule, so these should be castrated sooner rather than later.

Marion McMillan,

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