Male cattle are called bulls but after they are castrated then they are referred to as steers. Female cattle that have not had a calf (typically under the age of 2 years) are called heifers. Castration is typically done at a very young age (before reproductive tissue has started to mature) and they receive medication for the pain.
But.. why the heck to we take away their manhood?? It may seem like a needless procedure but we actually do this for a number of reasons:
1. 𝗔𝗡𝗜𝗠𝗔𝗟 𝗦𝗔𝗙𝗘𝗧𝗬: Im sure you can remember back to your own puberty days and how the hormones made you a little bit crazy. Well, this is why we castrate male cattle. Bulls fight with each other to establish dominance and will continue to fight to re-assert dominance. Sometimes, they hurt each other so bad that the only option is to put them down. By castrating them to lower the levels of testosterone, aggressiveness is reduced.
2. 𝗛𝗨𝗠𝗔𝗡 𝗦𝗔𝗙𝗘𝗧𝗬: Bulls have a lot more of an attitude than steers and this aggression is sometimes taken out on the people that are raising them. By castrating them, they are more mellow to work with.
3. 𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗡𝗚: this is probably the most obvious reason. Often, boys and girl cattle will be mixed together at younger ages. Once puberty hits, boys will have no issues breeding young heifers (including their half sisters). If bred too young, animals will have issues safely delivering and raising a calf.
4. 𝗠𝗘𝗔𝗧 𝗤𝗨𝗔𝗟𝗜𝗧𝗬: majority of us love a really juicy, tender steak. Intact male animals have high muscle pH which can have a negative effect on the taste of the meat. Castration reduces this muscle pH and also increases the marbling, tenderness, and overall grade of the meat.