Method of Castration
Male calves are castrated to prevent unwanted mating where male and female cattle are reared together in one herd. In addition, castrated males are easier to handle and they produce better quality meat.
Castration can be done by using an elastrator ring, burdizzo or open castration using a knife.
1. Knife castration (open castration)
It is the only completely safe method to sterilize male animals and can be done at any age by a qualified veterinarian. With this method of castration there is always a danger that the wound can become infected and the necessary precautions must be taken.
2. Elastrator rings
The rubber ring is applied around the neck of the scrotal sack
using the special instrument designed for this purpose. The testicles must be in the scrotal sack distal (away from the body of the calf) to the elastrator ring. To minimize pain when using the rubber ring method of castration, they must be applied within three days of birth.
A strong rubber ring is placed around the top of the testicles thus cutting off blood supply. The testicles die off slowly.
3. Burdizzo (close castration)
This is an instrument used to cut off the blood supply to the testicles, causing cell death of the testicular tissues resulting in degeneration of the testicles. The best time to apply the burdizzo is three to four weeks after birth when the spermatic cords can be felt.
The burdizzo is applied to each spermatic cord separately in such a way that the blood supply to the testicles is damaged, while circulation to the scrotal sack remains intact. Gangrene can set in where blood circulation to the scrotum is lost.
To achieve these objectives, the burdizzo is applied to the individual spermatic cords at opposite sides of the scrotum, leaving a central area free for blood to circulate or applying the burdizzo at different levels on opposite sides of the scrotum.