Banders of calf or cattle are advisable as the most humane castration device for your livestock. When the band’s tension is kept high, it minimizes your cattle’s immune response and also lowers the risk of appetite loss.
However, only when using the best cattle banders can you perform cattle castration well every time. Make sure you have some of the best-rated banders that will be mentioned in this article.
Table of Contents
- Top 7 Best Cattle Banders on the Market 2022
- In-depth 7 Top Rated Cattle Banders Reviews
- What to Consider When Castrating Cattle?
- My Top Pick
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Top 7 Best Cattle Banders on the Market 2022
In-depth 7 Top Rated Cattle Banders Reviews
#1 Callicrate Pro Bander – Best Overall
The Callicrate Pro is one of the best cattle banders on the market. This tool is from No Bull Enterpries Inc. – the best name in the bander industry. Many veterinarians and animal handling specialists worldwide recommended this bander model for its robust construction, safety, and durability.
This Callicrate bander takes less time and effort if you have a lot of cattle for castration. First, it comes with a pull strap and large openings so that you can get the band on effortlessly. It also comes with a 360-degree tension indicator, allowing you to view the tension.
The tension is high, so you need to put less stress on your cattle. Thanks to this sturdy construction, you will need around 15-30 seconds to band one cow.
Although the upfront cost is high, I think its top-rated build and design worth your investment for a flawless castration method.
The Smart Bander is a more affordable option for those who love the Pro Bander but have a limited budget. This bander is much cheaper and comes with a Callicrate cutter, 5 loops, and a compact carrying case.
This bander offers the same benefits as the Pro Bander. It has a sturdy, solid construction that bands exceptionally well with no breakage or damage. It also prevents slipping thanks to the Smart Bander loops and the patented clip locks. You can perform a bloodless, humane castration with less stress on your animals with this versatile tool.
There are a few pitfalls of the Smart Bander compared to the Pro Bander. First, it weighs more than the Callicrate Pro. If you need to neuter a lot of cattle at once, it will be less comfortable. Second, it comes with a cutting tool instead of a built-in cutter, which takes you more time for banding.
This bander also has a tension indicator, but it’s not a 360-degree one like the Pro. However, if you have handled this job before, I think this missing feature doesn’t bring any difference.
Banding is the most common castration for goats when they are from 8 to 12 weeks old. To minimize their discomfort and pain, you should pick up the best goat bander. Tri-Band Castration Bander is a bloodless goat castration tool for newborns up to 3 or 4 months with a maximum capacity of 350lbs.
Despite being plastic, this Tri-Band bander is two times stronger than its counterparts. Moreover, it comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can always contact the manufacturer for help if needed. The bander opens up to 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches (equal to a golf ball), wider than most standard banders.
The bands are elastic and hard to break even when using in summer. There are 10 free bands in this package. You can also purchase additional ones. Their flat edge prevents them from falling apart from the applicator. They also require no tightening. Just open, put it in place, then release.
The later you wait in life, the more stress your cattle will have to experience. S&J XL bander is a fantastic solution to make their delayed castration less painful. This large bander for cattle can handle various kinds of animals ranging from 250 to 750lbs, from sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and so on.
This tool can open up to the size of a tennis ball (4 x 3 x 3 inches) and requires no tightening. Thus, you can easily apply it to your calves and cattle.
Their scrotum will drop off 20 to 40 days after application without appetite loss or slow weight gain. A few weeks before banding older calves, you should vaccinate them with a tetanus toxoid to protect them from tetanus and blackleg.
Its sturdy and rugged construction makes it last for a lifetime under regular use. Besides castration, you can utilize this tool for removing horns and docking tails.
A minor drawback of this bander is that there are no bands in the package. The rings themselves are not durable when used in cold weather conditions.
#5 Xl Bander
The XL bander for cattle is the best budget-friendly option in the bander industry. This bander is easier to use than the two above Callicrate ones. At a lower price than Callicrate banders, it offers good performance and an excellent level of tension. This bander is suitable for bulls weighing from 250 to 750 lbs.
Providing fixed, smaller bands than the Callicrate models, this bander fits best for farmers with more banding experience. Since you don’t have to adjust the tension, putting the band on is easy as pie.
However, it might be challenging for first-time farmers. The bands can only open up to a maximum of 4 x 3 x 3 inches, so you will need to take more effort to get the testicles inside the band.
A few buyers reported that the bands are fragile in lower temperatures after months of banding animals. Mine has no problem with the bands. I have used it for one year, and it is still in good condition.
There are no weight or size restrictions when it comes to Zikimed California bander. In other words, you can use this tool for all your animals, from baby goats to older bulls.
This Zikimed bander for bulls is simple, efficient, and easy to use, saving a lot of time and effort for you. The ergonomic handle can fit nearly anybody.
This bander comes with 25 high-quality bands that are made of natural latex with no harmful chemicals. Each band is 6 inches in length, and it can open up to 10 inches when being expanded. In winter, you should warm the band up to make it stretch better.
#7 2005 PRM Castrate Bander – Best Calf bander
After choosing the best livestock to breed, you should spay the remaining ones to prevent unwanted mating and reproduction. Among the best calf banders on the market, PRM Castrate Bander is a premium solution that assists you in breeding control and maintains stable meat and milk quality. You can use this tool for male calves under 250lbs, provided that their testicles are ready for castration.
Compared to surgical castration, banding with this PRM tool is much more humane and cheaper. The bander is made of aluminum, which is lightweight (11.8 pounds) and less prone to weather forces and moisture than stainless-steel ones. This material is also easy to sanitize, thus reducing the risk of infection in bulk banding.
What to Consider When Castrating Cattle?
There are many different methods that one can use to castrate cattle. Typically, they are grouped into three types: physical, chemical, or hormonal techniques.
Physical techniques are the most popular due to their simplicity and relative affordability compared to chemical or hormonal castration treatments. It involves surgically removing the testicles or killing them by obstructing the blood flow into the testicles.
Depending on the age of the animal in question, different tools and techniques can be used.
(1) Elastic Band Castration
Elastic band castration works by cutting off the blood supply to the testicles, eventually causing the testicles to “die”.
For calves less than three weeks old, a device called the ‘elastrator’ is used. The ‘elastrator’ tightens an elastic band around the neck of the calf’s scrotum, limiting blood flow to the area. After some time, the scrotum and the testicles would fall off from the calf.
Older and larger calves aren’t recommended for use with the ‘elastrator’. Instead, specialized large cattle banders are used, such as EZE and Callicrate castrators. They employ tougher latex bands in place of rubber rings.
While it’s bloodless and easy to inform, there are many drawbacks.
- Bull banders can cause a lot of acute pain for the animal. Fortunately, this can be rectified by applying anesthesia.
- The cow banders must be accurately applied. If it’s not, it may not disrupt all of the blood flow to the testicles, resulting in a failed castration. Occasionally, there are even cases of the band “missing” one testicle.
- Weight gain post-castration is slower and lower than with surgical castration.
- Wounds from the banding are slower to heal than the small, precise incisions of surgical castration. There may be large lesions right above the band site that can remain for a long time. Because of this, elastic band castration is not recommended for yearling cattle.
- Lastly, infections can easily occur. As a result, vaccination against tetanus and blackleg should be done prior to the banding process.
(2) Burdizzo Clamp
With the Burdizzo method, instead of squeezing tightly against the scrotum to cut off blood flow, the clamp crushes the blood vessels. Circulation stops once the vessels are crushed, eventually killing the testicles.
While the method sounds painful, the pain level is actually lower than surgical and elastic band castration when it’s done in concert with local anesthesia. Usually, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is applied to alleviate pain further, too.
The animal’s weight won’t be impacted as badly as with surgical or elastic band castrators.
Drawbacks to this method are mostly time, expertise, and tooling.
If the Burdizzo method isn’t applied correctly, the bull would become a stag. As a result, the castration process is slow and meticulous. You’ll also need an expert at hand or a lot of experience with the Burdizzo clamp yourself to do it.
The clamp also wears out over time and has to be regularly replaced.
(3) Surgical Castration
With elastic band and Burdizzo methods, there is a small chance that they wouldn’t work. If you want to be 100% sure, surgical castration is the way to go as it removes the testicles completely.
Because the animal would sport an open wound after the operation, it’s recommended that you perform surgical castration either before or post fly season. In most areas, it’s around the middle of May to late June and July. Flies can cause infection.
Additionally, surgical castration should only be done if the calves can be led to a dry lot afterward. If the feedlot is wet or muddy, the chance of infection will skyrocket. Instead, consider bloodless methods like an elastic band or Burdizzo.
Three tools are used during the surgical castration process: a Newberry knife, a scalpel, and an emasculator. Prior to the operation, the animal is often treated with local anesthesia and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to ease the pain.
An incision is made to open up the skin of the scrotum. Then, the testicles are pulled through the incision.
For older calves, the blood vessels and the spermatic cord are crushed and cut with an emasculator. This lessens the risk of bleeding. For younger calves less than 3 months old, the blood vessels are separated from the vas deferens. The vessels are then severed with a light tug.
A professional is usually needed to perform the operation. Because this is a more hands-on approach than either the elastic band or Burdizzo clamp method, good restraint is necessary. If not, the animal and the surgeon could both be injured.
Chemical castration involves the injection of a chemical solution into the testicles to cause them to lose function. A common agent is 88% lactic acid.
Compared to physical techniques, chemical castration takes more time and skill. The healing time is also longer, too. It may take the calf twice as long to recover from a chemical castration operation.
Hormonal castration – also called immuno-castration – involves the injection of immuno-contraceptive compounds.
These compounds cause the animal’s immune system to produce specific antibodies. They can limit the production of hormones that regulate testicular function like GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone).
Immuno-castration has been shown to be superior to surgical castration in many ways. It increases live weight as well as hot carcass weight. Daily gain is also improved, as well as dressing percentage.
However, injections have to be renewed once every 6 months, which can be costly. This is why hormonal castration has become a lot less popular than the tried-and-true physical castration methods.
You should castrate your cattle when they’re young. The older they are, the more difficult it is to castrate them safely.
Older caves are more at risk of contracting illnesses and dying after castration. Additionally, the lower gains in live weight after castration will pose a problem to overall productivity.
Young calves can be castrated as early as the first day of life. But, traditionally, castration is held off until weaning when the calf is around 6 months old. It’s believed that the calf would grow faster when it’s castrated at 6 months compared to when it’s 1 or 3 months of age.
Recent studies have shown that this is most likely not the case. There’s no real impact on waiting until the calf begins to wean. As a matter of fact, waiting can negatively impact the performance of the calf by making them more vulnerable to illnesses.
Therefore, we recommend castrating the calf when they’re as young as possible (less than 3 months). It will be better for their overall welfare and performance.
No matter what castration method you employ, there’s always going to be pain involved from the animal. Castration is separated into two distinct categories: acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain is short-lived and occurs during the castration process itself. Meanwhile, chronic pain is more persistent and can last for several days after the castration procedure.
Minimizing the animal’s pain is important for their welfare and performance. During the castration procedure, local anesthesia (such as lidocaine) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ketoprofen) can be administered to aid with alleviating pain.
Over the long term, analgesics can be used to keep the pain level at a minimum until castration wounds have completely healed over.
In many countries, it’s required by law that you must administer anesthesia during the procedure and analgesics afterward.
1. Does banding a bull hurt?
Banding is most definitely a painful and stressful experience for the animal. Many studies suggest that out of the three popular physical castration techniques, banding may be the most painful for the bull. The concentration of “pain chemicals” in the animal is a lot higher after banding than after either Burdizzo or surgical castration.
However, they do not have to suffer through it. The pain and stress can be alleviated by using anesthesia and anti-inflammatory drugs. Analgesics can be administered over the course of the next few days to help with post-operative pain.
2. How long does it take for a bull’s balls to fall off after banding?
The answer will depend on the age and size of the bull as well as the environment. Generally speaking, the testicles will fall off after 10 to 50 days.
3. Can you band a year-old bull?
It’s doable, but not recommended. The younger you band a calf, the safer and more effective the operation is going to be. Banding a yearling can lead to many issues.
Nevertheless, if you insist, the option is on the table. Though you should exercise caution as older bulls are more susceptible to illnesses after they’re castrated. There’s a slim chance that they could die from complications, too.
4. At what age should you steer a bull?
You can steer a calf as early as when it’s just been born. But most producers wait until they’re at least a month old to steer. It’s recommended that you castrate them before they reach three months old.
5. Do steers grow faster than bulls?
No, steers don’t grow as fast as bulls. Studies have shown that bulls have higher live weight gains and heavier carcass weight. The financial return of growing bulls is also greater, too.
Check more: Drop Calves: All You Should Know
My Top Pick
There are various reasons for castrating your livestock – to stop their hormones and semen production, to prevent unwanted mating, to decrease their aggressiveness, and so on. You need to find the best cattle banders to make the castration job done quickly and efficiently.
A high-quality bander like Callicrate Pro is a safe and efficient choice for all workers and animal types. Its terrific usability and construction make your castration work stress-free, even for first-time cattle owners.