New calf and question about banding : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My jersey/holstein had a bull calf this morning. All the kids got to watch! Talk about educational. We couldn't get the calf to suck. The mailman stopped to see if it had come yet. He came in the barn and helped us to get the calf to nurse. Talk about service. We're going to keep the calf for meat, so he offered to band it for us. What are the benefits of this? We don't know if we should. I appreciate any help on this.

-- Lena(NC) (, March 21, 2001


From The Stockman's Handbook:

Points in favor of steers: Consumers tend to prefer meat from steers because they believe castration improves the color, texture, tenderness and juiciness of the meat. Also steers will have a quieter disposition and be easier to handle.

Points in favor of bulls: They have better growth rates, feed efficiencies and carcass cutability than steers.

Some prefer to leave them as bulls until about six month of age. However, after 2-3 months they cannot be banded and must be cut or sterilized by some other method. Also, to cut a bull calf this size, you will need a pretty good restraint system.

Personally, I band my bull calves as soon after birth as practical. Normally steers sell for a premium at the livestock auction, but I have seen times when bulls sell for a premium over steers.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 21, 2001.

I've always banded my calves at 2-4 weeks, but this last calf I let go until he was 4 months old (he was just too cute, sweet, whatever). I had to have him cut, and at 500lbs it took three men and myself since we dont have any facilities to restrain large critters. It was so horrible, I will never feel too sorry for them when they are tiny calves, and will band them right off. I've never heard of anyone eating a bull and enjoying the experience, I've heard the meat isn't good.

Band him soon and he will forgive you :-)

-- Julie (, March 21, 2001.

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