Best Days: When's The Best Time to Castrate Your Bull and More

By Judson Hale
August 6, 2010
Zodiac Signs

From the beginning, The Old Farmer's Almanac has been calculated on astronomy, not astrology. But just as we include a few pages of astrology in each edition today, so too did Robert B. Thomas (our founder) include an annual page about the Signs of the Zodiac.

After each sign of the Zodiac is a body part—Virgo, belly; Sagittarius, thighs; Capricorn, knees; and so forth. These body parts appear in the Moon's Sign Calendar to indicate where in the heavens the Moon's astrological place will be each day of the year.

Almanac readers were very familiar with “The Man of the Signs.” Before you had a diseased arm bled, for instance, you wanted to be very sure the Moon was located in Gemini. (Gemini is in charge of your arms.) Along the signs, or separate from them, the phases of the Moon determine the most propitious times for weaning a baby, planting certain vegetables, making sauerkraut—you name it. Providing an insight into the timing of day-to-day activities was a major function of the Almanac.

Just as in our founder's time, our readers today use both our astronomical data and the astrological tables to determine timing. Common queries I receive, beside what the weather will be on a future date, have to do with when, according to the Almanac, it would be best to, say, have a tooth pulled or plant the peas. If the query is from Texas or Oklahoma, however, I know that more than likely it will be about castrating bulls.

“In the next ten days,” a caller will ask, “when would the Almanac say would be the best time for me to castrate my bull?”

I always tell the caller to do it when the Moon is waning (from the time it's full to the time its new), as there should be less bleeding then. But sometimes the caller persists in having a more precise time, and that's when I recall the answer my uncle gave in similar circumstances: “Why don't you try it,” I'd hear him say into the telephone, “when he's asleep.”

I've found that when I give that answer, no matter how serious the caller may be about wanting the information, it invariably provides a few seconds of shared laughter.

See the Best Days by the Moon Timetable for the current and next month.



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Reader Comments

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My mother is supposed to have kidney stones removed on Oct. 25 2019 and I was wondering what the signs look like, please help me.

Hysterectomy surgery

I'm having a full hysterectomy on May 21, 2019. Is this a good time?


My husband is going to stop drinking. When would be the best date to do that?


The Editors's picture

The best day for that would be, well, tomorrow! But in terms of our Best Days, follow the Best Days for Quitting Smoking.

Right Knee Replacement

I need to have surgery on m y right knee and scheduled it for November 15th. I am in a lot of pain. Is this a good date?

Best time for Knee replacement

I’m curios what responses you’ve gotten as I too am looking at the best time for the same! ASAP

I am looking for the best time for knee replacement also.

I am scheduled for knee replacement on April 29th. Is this a good date ?

hernia surgery for colt

needing to have this fixed, what is the best time after july 9 2018

When best date in October & November to wean colts & calves?

I have both animals and want to wean calves in October and colts in November 2018.

I need to know when the signs

I need to know when the signs will be in the feet in the month of December. Thanks

Signs in the head

Signs in the head for February and March 2019
Best time to have a heart Cath done??

Is October 2017 a good day to have a heart procedure?

Is October 27, 2027 a good day for a heart procedure?

Second open heart surgery

When would be best time for having a second open heart surgery? My birth date is 5/13/1968.

Best dates to have surgery in February 2017

When are the best dates/days to have surgery in 2017 - February?

Open heart surgery

In Nov. or Sept, what are the best days to have open heart surgery. My birthday is 10-02-1951.
Thanks Wilma

Eye surgery July 22,2016.

Eye surgery July 22,2016. Where are the signs that day?

Sign on the 22nd of September

The signs are in the Arms on the 22nd of September

Best time to have oral surgery. Wisdom teeth pulled?

When is best time to have wisdom teeth pulled?

tooth extraction

when is the best time to have my wisdom tooth pulled this month, It is scheduled to be pulled 1/12/2017 its my lower left tooth.

URGENT: Animal Abdominal Surgery

I am needing to schedule a biopsy of the liver and exploratory abdominal surgery for my beagle-mix, Chloe. I am reading the best time for less bleeding is when the moon is waning, and in looking at the zodiac signs of the man, Virgo is the belly. Based on this, I think January 27-28 would be ideal for the biopsy of liver. Is the surgery afterwards at another date recommended during the same moon phase (Virgo)? I would appreciate your prompt advice with this inquiry.

Lisa and Chloe

Dear Lisa,

The Editors's picture

Dear Lisa,

I am not an astrologer, but I believe that there are several methods as to how to employ astrology for determining the best time for surgery, from the very basics to the very detailed and individually based. But it is my understanding that overall, one tries to avoid several days before and after the full Moon, as it is said that it is harder for wounds to heal then, due to bleeding. Waning moon is best, but a waxing moon close to new is OK, too. Also, I have heard that you want to avoid the time when the Moon is in the same astrological sign as where you (or your dog) is having surgery. So, you want to avoid Virgo (which includes liver). So, if there is a date that is several signs away from Virgo, and is more toward the new Moon rather than the full Moon (on the waning side is best), then you might want to consider those dates, if they fit in with the urgency of the situation and the recommendation and availability of your surgeon. In January, the full Moon is on the 23rd. Jan 27, the Moon’s astrological sign is Virgo. On the 28th, it’s in Libra. Jan 18-19 would be better if there is availability, since those are farther away from the full Moon, and a few signs away from Virgo (Taurus and Gemini), even though a waxing moon. Or, early February looks good – but check with your vet, as delaying things that long may not be good for Chloe, depending on her ailment. Best wishes for her health and happiness!

Best days for surgery

There is a common rule to go by for scheduling surgeries: if you are having surgery performed BELOW the waistline (such as in knees,legs, stomach, etc) then make sure the Moon's astrological place in the Zodiac is ABOVE the waist (such as the Heart, Arms, Head, etc) and vice versa.

Female surgery

When is the best time to have female surgery. Probably could be having it in the last 2 weeks of July 2018.

knee replacment

born in April wondering when would be the best time to have this done thank you very much your reply will be most appretive

Having knee replacement on

Having knee replacement on Dec 12. Hope this is a good idea. I'm a Capricorn .

When is best ro have

When is best ro have hysterectomy ?

Would have loved to read the

Would have loved to read the article bout the castration, however, could not CLOSE that Discover New England AD to read it ... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrr

Hi Raymond, The alternative

The Editors's picture

Hi Raymond,
The alternative signs for planting are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.

When I initially commented I

When I initially commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox
and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

You list, on page 246 (2014)

You list, on page 246 (2014) the astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces as the best signs for planting. In your 2012 issue you listed the best three alternative signs. I don't remember what they were but I really would appreciate your help if you could look in the 2012 book on the page "Secrets of the Zodiac" and tell me the alternates. About this time each year I mark my planting calendar and it is not always possible to plant on the three best days. Sometimes you have to rely on the best alternatives. I always plant according to the moon but if you throw in the astrological signs as well you should get the best results. I don't always get that but I need to try. I would appreciate your help.