Dehorning older calf

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How old is to old to dehorn a calf. I have a 6 month old holstein/hereford heifer with her horns. I want to get her dehorned to i can show her. Is she too old and is there a high risk of loseing her? Also if it is still safe what is the best way to do it? Thanks in advance...
I don't know when it is too old to dehorn a calf, but our hostein heifer was 6 months old when the vet dehorned her with a Barnes dehorner. He shot her with a local anesthetic then crunched the horns away. The horns were about 1.5" long. The only thing that didn't go well was one horn spot filled in with tissue and the other didn't. About 5 months later the one that didn't fill in got infected. All was well within a month and it filled in with tissue or whatever by the end of the summer. I'm sure it was a fluke. Hope this helps.
When we started raising cattle 4 years ago, the first pairs we bought the seller told us he took his calves to the vet at 6 months old to have them dehorned. I asked the vet if that was best and he told me that some people dehorn them very young but he preferred to do it at 6 months old. He uses a saw that looks like a fender grinder and cuts them clean. He medicates them and we put them back in the trailer. We have done a lot of them and have never had a problem. I tend to get a headache everytime I watch it though.
i really doubt 6 months is too old. my steer last year was close to a year old when he was dehorned. they were maybe 2 inches. its a pretty nasty thing if you have a somewhat weak stomach. i think if the vet is any good the chance of losing her is slim to none. they are only too old if the horns are somewhat large. we had a bull come in that was about 2 years old that still had horns. vet said the only way to dehorn him would be to have major reconstructive surgery on his skull, which isnt worth it. and he would also have a head shaped like a cone. all they could do was tip the horns so they werent sharp
If you're planning on showing her, you'll need to find someone that can do cosmetic dehorning. This will involve shaping the head after the horn bed is dug out. You can ask the FFA or extension agent about who does this proceedure.
for a show calf cosmetic dehorning is the way to go . it will heel faster and not much bleeding. you will have to remove the stiches in about 7-10 days
i had friends who dehorned show calves at 700 lbs and they healed fine but it was gruesome. i dehorn mine at 2 months or less and the sinus cavity is not open in the head. it is bloody but not as bad. i would like to burn them at 1 week old but i haven't been able to yet. i don't know how well it works?
jcarkie":ym7b3d64 said:
i would like to burn them at 1 week old but i haven't been able to yet. i don't know how well it works?

Burning works great on young calves.
The vet does my calves (Jersey bulls) done at 6-7 weeks of age. I've never had one grow a horn back.

I had a yearling Scottish Highland heifer dehorned about a month ago.
Wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Vet gave her a sedative and then use a cable saw to take the horns off. The thing cauterized as it cut, the only blood was from a nick in the skin surrounding one of the horns. She had pretty good sized horns, the bases were almost 3" in diameter.

Ann B
Agree that if you're going to show the animal, get a vet to dehorn it.
However we've dehorned mature animals with no setback using dehorning wire. I figure 8 a piece of twine around the bases of the horns and tie it tightly in the middle... seems to slow down the bleeding. You can also cauterize a bleeder with a hot iron.
We dehorn all the calves at branding using a hot iron, and it's slick as a whistle. No funny looking regrowth and no bleeding.
Good luck with your animal.
Take care.
a few years ago i started useing a bull to dehorn with , no bleeding at all . 8) 8) 8)
WORANCH":31ytwv2p said:
a few years ago i started useing a bull to dehorn with , no bleeding at all . 8) 8) 8)

definitely the best option!!

i agree that if you're going to show, have a vet cosmetic dehorn the calf. there will be no regrowth & the head will be shaped much better. costs more but worth it.
WORANCH wrote: a few years ago i started useing a dull to dehorn, no bleeding at all.

That is what you call "screwing" the horns out!

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