Monday, January 20, 2014

Calf Wrestling

We have a nice two day stretch of nice weather before the freezing temps roll back in town.
There have been some calf chores that should have been done a couple of weeks ago, but we finally found the time to get them done.

First, the bull calves needed to be banded. Actually, the oldest bull calf has already been banded and we just needed to band the younger one. Banding them is an easy way for a family farmer to keep from raising a bull and to raise a steer instead.

This little tool is not expensive and I use it to band my young lambs as well. You put this band on it first.

Then you stretch it out and place the scrotum through it and release it slowly.

The important key is to make sure that BOTH balls are through. They can slide back if you are not cautious and not actually get into the band.

The procedure will feel a little tingly for the calf the first day. The band will cut off circulation to the scrotum and after about 2-3 weeks, the sac will fall off.
The next chore we had was to burn off the horn buds. Even if you raise a very docile cow, horns can be dangerous. It is best to "nip it in the bud" early. There are several ways to rid a cow of its horns but we have found dehorning paste works great on young calves.

It is best to apply this paste when you first feel the horn buds. First you need to trim the hair around the buds with some scissors. Apply the paste with a wooden tongue depressor or popsicle stick. The paste is very caustic so make sure it doesn't get on your skin or anywhere else on the calf.

It doesn't take very much and we like to lock the calves up by them selves overnight so they do not get the paste on another calf by rubbing heads. That is it!

All I had to do next was change clothes and start a load of laundry. It seems that when I wrestle a calf down I always roll down into a pile of cow muck! As a friend pointed out though, it's just grass, right?

Athena also got a nice work out since the sun was out and the temps were mild. Indiana walked her for a good while around the front pasture. We are looking forward to another nice day today.

Since the calves are growing and doing well, we will be getting another one tomorrow. A two week old bull calf. It should be fun!

Happy Monday Ya'll!


  1. Thanks for the pics, I just ordered the banding device and some bands because 2 of my goats kidded a month ago and I'm going to band one of the males so he can be a wether. These pictures make it a little more coherent. By the way, found you from Patrice Lewis' Rural Revolution site, was the one who responded to take up for us good old hicks here in the South that don't do snow and ice well, LOL!

    1. Yes! Glad we could stick up for the South! I am really ready for some spring weather too. The bands are so nice. I use them to band my boy lambs and I also band the tails of the lambs. Very handy indeed!


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