Best Calf Bander (Reviews) 2021
The best way to keep balance and quality in your herd of cattle is to castrate the majority of your bull calves. This is especially true if you’re raising steers for beef. One of the most popular methods of castration is calf banding.
When you band a calf, you use a specified tool to lock an elastic band around the neck of the calf’s scrotum. This obstructs and stops blood flow to the testicles, and leads to the scrotum and testicles falling off of the calf’s body.
For the right results, you need to use a top calf bander. We’ve found the best 5 calf banders to use for your calf banding needs.
Please note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.
Top 5 Rated Comparison Table
Suggested Animal Weight
250 to 750 lbs
Under 250 lbs
Under 250 lbs
Under 250 lbs
Under 250 lbs
Reviews of the Best Calf Banders
This extra-large banding tool from S and J Tools is perfect for banding up a larger calf that’s a bit too big for the other banders we’ve reviewed. It’s ideal for use on bull calves and other farm animals that are between 250 and 750 pounds. It can also be used on horns and tails where needed and safe to do so.
This bander is very simple to use, so long as you have an extra pair of hands or more to help you secure and stabilize the animal you’re trying to band. This helps to avoid undue injuries.
When you order this bander, you get a starter pack of 50 XL cheerio bands to use right away, but we suggest ordering more from the beginning, as you may snap a few while practicing stretching the bands out before application.
- Ideal for bulls and calves from 250 to 750 pounds
- Easy to use
- Can also be used on horns and tails
- Works on a variety of farm animals including cattle, goats, sheep, and more
- Comes with 50 bands to get you started
Your animals may not feel particularly lucky about being banded, but Lucky Farm has a great pair of castration bander forceps that are great for a wide variety of young farm animals. It can be used for both castration and tail docking purposes.
This bander comes with 100 castrator cheerio rings for you to work with upon arrival. Make sure that you stretch them slowly before trying to apply them, as they may snap easily if you’re too quick.
- Made from high-quality, durable materials
- Comes with 100 castrator rings
- Great for young calves, sheep, pigs, dogs, goats, and more
- A good multi-purpose tool that can be used to dock tails as well
- Will castrate your calves without any external blood loss
- The bands may seem a little flimsy at first, so make sure to slowly stretch them a few times before applying to reduce the risk of snapping
This bander can be used on calves, goats, lambs, and more with ease and accuracy. It’s ideal for farm animals that weigh less than 250 pounds, and the bander itself is lightweight and easy to use and maneuver.
This bander is made of durable aluminum metal which makes them long-lasting and stable for use. Some customers have had trouble getting the bands to slide off of the bander during application, but this may be an operational error as most others have not had this issue.
- This bander is ideal for calves that are 250 pounds and under
- Made with durable aluminum metal
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Can be used for calves, lambs, goats, and more
This bull calf bander is a great tool for farmers, ranchers, and small animal husbandry enthusiasts alike. It offers you the ability to safely and cleanly castrate your animals without the need for invasive surgery or the necessity of learning safe and effective knife techniques. This is a blood-free, simple alternative.
This bander is vet recommended as quick, humane, and effective for castration and docking purposes. It attaches the elastic bands to your animal painlessly and comes with a one-year quality guarantee from the manufacturer.
- Offers a bloodless castration method for farm animals and smaller animals
- Ideal for animals up to 250 pounds including young calves, goats, and sheep
- Easily attaches elastic rings quickly and painlessly
- Vet recommended as humane and effective
- Comes with a one-year quality guarantee from the manufacturer
- It may not open as wide as other banders
This cattle bander opens up to a diameter of two inches with the band in place, which should give you plenty of room to band a variety of livestock including young cattle under 250 pounds, pigs, goats, sheep, and more. It’s made of durable stainless steel and plastic, and as a result, is corrosion-resistant.
The ProRider bander comes with 100 elastic cheerio bands to get you started. It also conforms to CE, ISO 9001 and 13485, and FDA standards. It’s one of the best banding solutions available on the market.
- Opens elastic bands up to two inches
- Conforms to CE, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and FDA standards
- Made from stainless steel and durable plastic to be corrosion-resistant
- Great multipurpose tool for calf castration, tail docking, and more
- Comes with 100 starting elastic bands
A Bander for Calves Buying Considerations
When you start your search for an appropriate calf bander, there are some factors to consider. You need to think about the weights and ages of the calves you intend to band, alternative methods of castration if banding is not a realistic option, and consider the elasticity and strength of the bands you’ll be using and how well they work with your bander.
Weight and Age of the Calf
One of the first things you need to determine and assess before you commit to purchasing any bander or other castration device is the age and weight of the calves you intend to castrate.
Castration at a young age in calves will minimize hazards to the calf, your producers, and you as the lot owner. Some of these hazards include the potential for illness or death if you wait to castrate at an older age. Castrating a calf at a younger age is easier on you, less stressful for the calf, and helps you to avoid any scrutiny over animal welfare concerns of older cattle being castrated.
Additionally, determining the weight of the targeted calves will help you find and purchase the right bander. This is because each bander has a limit on how much it will open and how far the elastic bands will stretch, and typically the heavier the animal, the larger diameter that the band has to stretch over for proper band positioning. If the band cannot be stretched over the scrotum, there’s no way to use it to castrate your bull calf.
Along with banding, there are several other effective methods of castration that may better suit your bull calf if it is too difficult to band him or if he is too old or heavy to safely band.
Banding is the primary focus of this article and is best used for young calves, though with the right equipment can be used on larger or older calves. A properly-applied band will cut off the blood flow to the testicles and will allow the scrotum and testicles to atrophy and fall off without leaving any open wound or causing any bleeding.
Using a Knife
Using a sharp pocket knife has been a traditional way of castrating bull calves for the history of cattle castration. The knife needs to be as sharp as possible and properly sanitized, and proper technique is important. Many ranchers and cattle owners still use this method, though it is time-consuming and can carry additional risks.
Emasculators are typically used alongside the knife technique. They’re used to crush the spermatic cord and blood vessels following testicle removal. This helps to control blood flow.
The Henderson tool is a clamp that is placed above the testicles that is then slid into a cordless drill, similarly to a drill bit. It quickly spins, twists off, and crushes the spermatic cord and blood vessels going into the testicles, which seals them off. This method eliminates bleeding but requires a considerable amount of experience.
Elasticity and Band Strength
The biggest factor to consider when banding your bull calves is the elasticity and strength of the bands you’re using. In addition to that, you have to be aware of how much your bander will stretch the bands you intend to use, and determine if the two will stretch enough to fit over the scrotum of your bull calves.
Even if you get the bands around your calf’s scrotum, you have to be certain that the band will have the strength to close back up and effectively stop the flow of blood into the testicles. For these reasons, it’s important to not only find the best calf bander but also to find the best high-quality bands or “cheerios” for the job.
The Final Word
Having the right tools, knowledge, and technique for banding your bull calves is imperative to their health and well-being as well as your personal safety or the safety of the people that help in the care and maintenance of your herd. We’ve listed and reviewed the five best calf banders for your calf castration needs, and we hope that this makes your cattle keeping easier.