Castration Tools for Cattle
Review of the Best Cattle Banders and Calf Banders in 2020
Whether you’re banding a calf or cattle, you need the best bander for the job. Cattle castration isn’t a pretty job but it’s a necessary job. And if you’re going to do it you need the best castration tool for cattle that’s humane, drug-free, and minimizes the loss of blood.
Some of the cattle castration tools on the market are more humane than others. Cattle and calf banders have been shown to be more humane than almost any other castration device for cattle. While you can use a knife, this is one of the most stressful techniques you can possibly use. There’s also elastrator rings but those are even more stressful to your cattle. Banding has been found to minimize the stress that cattle undergo.
The best method of castration is banding. However, there are a lot of banders on the market and it’s important to choose the right one. You need to keep the tension of the band high and only the best banders will be able to perform the right way every single time. Also, keeping the band under high tension will reduce the immune response of the calf or cow as well as decrease the risk of appetite loss or slower weight gain. This is why it’s important to make sure you buy a quality bander.
So, for this article we’re going to focus on the best stress-free way to castrate cattle, which is a bander. We’ll focus on the best cattle banders from the best brands in the industry. This is an area where you shouldn’t be willing to skimp because your livestock is your livelihood. And the humane way is the right way, plain and simple.
Top 3 Best Cattle Banders and Calf Banders
Since 1991, the best name in the industry of banders is No Bull Enterprises, Inc. Their Callicrate banders are made in the USA and made of only the highest quality and most durable parts. Their technology is also best of breed (no pun intended) and recommended by veterinarians as well as other animal handling specialists.
The Callicrate PRO Bander is one of their best banders. It’s not only a well-made tool, but it’s also safe to use and super-efficient. In fact, it only takes about 15-30 seconds to band one cow. Not only that but it’s also a lot lighter than previous banders by the company and a lot easier to use. It’s so easy, there’s no wrong way to put the loop on when loading (well, maybe you wouldn’t trust cousin Eddy to do the loading).
Another benefit is the fact that there’s no crimping needed. The bands also have a nice sturdy pull strap that won’t break on you. The openings are really large so you don’t have to worry about getting the band on. And the 360 degree tension indicator allows you to easily view the tension.
The tension is extremely high on this bander and this is key when buying a bander. The more tension the less stress you put on your cattle. The less stress, the better the gains you’re going to see. The better the gains, the more money you’re going to make off your cattle. So, this is why you’d choose Callicrate over other banders.
Although the upfront cost of the tool is a little high, it is the best cattle bander on the market so that’s to be expected. The loops themselves are not too pricey if bought in bulk but they’re still not the cheapest you’ll find on the market. That said, they are also the best banding loops with the best tension, so you do get what you pay for.
This bander is also covered by a five year warranty by the company, which is ridiculously good. The company will also repair any banders for only $50 if you have any issues that aren’t covered by the generous warranty.
Overall, the upfront cost of the bander is offset but this bander’s quality and reliability. Rest assured that if you go with the Callicrate PRO Bander you’ll be buying the best cattle bander on the market, and that’s no bull.
Pro Tip: Buy the banding loops in bulk so you can take advantage of the cost savings.
The Smart Bander, another Callicrate product, is a great option if you don’t want to go all-out and purchase the PRO Bander. This economical options is not only much cheaper, but also comes with a sturdy carrying case, five loops and the Callicrate Cutter.
There are a few drawbacks to going with the Smart Bander versus the PRO Bander. For one, this cattle bander doesn’t have a built-in cutter, which is why it comes with the Callicrate cutting tool instead. The loops used for these look like standard surgical loops (but they’re three times stronger) and they’re not bright green like the PRO. This makes it a little harder to see them but it’s not a dealbreaker. The other thing is that the loading is a little bit faster and easier on the PRO bands. You can’t use the PRO bands with the Smart Bander either.
This banding tool is also heavier than the Callicrate PRO model. It’s not much heavier but if you’re doing a lot of cattle at once it may become a bit of a nuisance. It also has a tension indicator but it’s not 360 degrees like the PRO (though the 360 degree indicator isn’t really that necessary anyways).
All that said, it still has a lot of the same benefits as the Callicrate PRO Bander. It’s a super durable tool and it bands exceptionally well. In fact, the fact that it’s a little more heavy duty means you can beat it around a lot more and it’s not as prone to breaking. The Smart Bander loops are exceptionally strong too and with the patented clip locks they lock in place well, with absolutely zero slippage.
Banding takes slightly longer with the Smart Bander because of the nature of the loops. They don’t have the same quick lock feature that the PRO Bander has so there is a little more fiddling with it to get it right. However, after you master the technique you can band almost as quickly as the PRO.
You also get all the benefits to your cattle. You still get the advantages of bloodless castration, reduced stress to the animal and optimized growth. It really is more humane compared to other castration methods.
Overall, a good budget option to still get Callicrate-quality performance. However, if you can afford it, it’s probably best to pay the extra money and go with the PRO Bander. You’ll have an easier time loading the loops, you won’t have to cut the bands, and with its lighter weight it’s a bit easier to hold.
The XL Cattle Bander is probably the best budget option you’re going to find on the market. At only a fraction of the price to the Callicrate banders, it provides good performance and provides a good level of tension too. It’s also fairly simple to use and a bit more intuitive than the Callicrate banders.
This bander is designed for use with bulls that are between the range of 250 to 750 lbs. The bands themselves are slightly smaller than Callicrate’s and don’t provide as much tension as you cannot increase the tension manually. You’re at the mercy of however much tension the bands themselves provide. The bands only open to 4″ x 3″ x 3″ so there’s a little more manipulation of the testicles that has to be be done to get them inside the band.
Because you don’t have to tighten with this band, or cut, using this bander is slightly faster than the Callicrate banders. However, since you have to manipulate the testicles sometimes it ends up taking a lot longer. It really depends on your skill level. With enough practice both of these banders should end up being approximately the same speed.
Putting the band on is super simple. Just put a little spit on the band, slide it over the tool, and then open the tool up (it’s self-holding). Drop in the goods and then release the hold. After this you just have to pull the bander free since there’s no cutting.
One of the only downsides of this bander is that some ranchers have had a bit of trouble using the bands in cold weather. There are reports of bands breaking during the cold winter months after having banded the animal. So, there is a slight problem with reliability in the bands, however, this has only been reported in a few cases and the vast majority of ranchers don’t have the same issue.
All in all, a great cattle bander if you’re on a budget and cannot afford the Callicrate. Also, if you don’t plan on using it for that many bulls it’s not really economical to buy the Callicrate anyways. That said, if you do want to use it with a lot of cattle the bands are much cheaper.
Highly recommended, high quality cattle bander.
Looking for a good tractor seat that doesn’t hurt your back? Take a look at these best tractor seats for farming tractors.