A question that I am often asked is, “what is the best age to castrate bull calves?” We have found that the closer the calves are to a year in age, the better horn they will grow. The testosterone is what makes the base of the horn thicker. So the longer the calves have circulating testosterone, the stouter the horns are going to be. Early castration will cause the horns to be skinny and not as desirable for a quality roping animal.
The two most common ways to castrate are surgical (knife cut) or mechanical (banding or Burdizzo.) We band our bulls because it is easier on the cattle and us. You should always contact your veterinarian to discuss which is the best method for your program.
Thank you to the author, longtime Corriente breeder and NACA member #2152, Russell Barham, Barham Cattle Company of Madisonville, TX.
His cattle won both Grand Champion Roping Animal and Reserve Grand Champion Roping Animal at the 2016 National Show in Meridian, Mississippi.