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Delayed Castration for Heifer’s Calves

As forage and range conditions improve, and with historically low cattle numbers, people will be saving more heifers as replacements and to replenish the herds that were reduced because of drought.

Normally, heifer’s calves are lighter because the heifer is not yet into her full maturity as far as milk production is concerned. Heifers are generally bred to low birth weight bulls for calving ease, so quite often this produces smaller calves at weaning.

By delaying castration until weaning or preconditioning time, the animal benefits from its natural growth hormones. The calves can then be implanted at weaning or be left non-implanted, which will allow them to be sold into an “all-natural-market”.
Benefits of delaying castration:

  1. Results in more size and weight on the bull/steer calves of first-calf heifers.
  2. Allows for early weaning of first-calf heifer’s calves which improves condition on heifers prior to winter and, in certain conditions, early weaning is a benefit for cows in general.

Use the Callicrate Bander as the preferred tool to castrate/band the bull calves at weaning or preconditioning time, to accomplish your objective with less stress on the calves and the operator.

Plan ahead and manage the health and vaccination programs for these selected groups of animals by following these recommendations:

Banding Time or Calves 1 – 3 months old:
Vaccinate for:

  1. BR, BVD, PI 3, BRSV
  2. 7 way Clostridial + Tetanus or 8 way Clostridial which includes Tetanus
  3. Pasturella (optional) [use especially if summer pneumonia is a problem].

Preconditioning – 2 weeks to 1 month before weaning:
Vaccinate for:

  1. IBR, BVD, PI 3, BRSV
  2. 7 Way Clostridial + Tetanus or 8 Way Clostridial which includes Tetanus
  3. Pasturella
  4. Multimin shot (mineral injection)

Weaning – if you preconditioned calves:
Vaccinate for:

  1. IBR, BVD, PI 3, BRSV

Weaning – if you did not precondition calves:
Vaccinate for:

  1. IBR, BVD, PI 3, BRSV
  2. 7 way Clostridial + Tetanus or 8 Way Clostridial which includes Tetanus
  3. Multim shot (mineral injection)
  4. Optional: Booster IBR, BVD, PI 3, BRSV at 4-6 weeks post weaning

All vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.


For more information, contact Rachel Dodd, general manager of
No-Bull Enterprises, at 1-800-858-5974 or 785-332-3344.