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Mar 12, 2014
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NE Texas
I just heard you can band dehorn. Who's done it here and any experience you can pass on would be appreciated.. Its been a while since we've needed anything dehorned. Our sims use to have horns back in the day. We've worked hard to have only polled cattle with an occasional skur, but, if we can band dehorn, that would be great. Cant stand the dehorning process and recovery garbage. Not going to name another cow Waygu bulls horns have to go..
I have never heard of it either. can't see how a band would penetrate the horn to cut off blood flow inside. will be interesting if it works.
I've done it once and got good results. Used XL bander. Heifer's horns were around 3 or 4 inches long. It took around 5-6 weeks for both to fall off. I wrapped gorilla tape around them to make sure they didn't slip or she could rub them off. I could tell she was uncomfortable for the first day or so, but after that she went right back to normal. She seemed to bounce back quicker than ones we had dehorned with other methods. Others may have done it on a larger scale and can chime in with their results.
It works. You don't put the band on the horn itself but on the hide at the base of the horn. Best to use more than one band. It is a good idea to put duck tape over the top of it to help keep it from being rubbed off. They will rub.
I've watched a few videos and it doesnt seem to technical. We have the bander, just need fresh bands. I hate that bander for castrating. Its barbaric.. But on horns, it would be much easier to use.
Tried that years ago. Horns have different shapes and sizes in different breeds at different ages. The Cheerio bands wanted to just roll up the horn and off due to the extreme taper on the horn. About weaning age simmental with short horns with a wide base. Cut a little groove in the horn to keep it from rolling off. Turned her out and she had a personality disorder then. Shook her head around, bawled like she was gonna die. Looked like she was in extreme duress. Took them off and decided that method was not for me.
Thankfully, I have not had any that required dehorning in years. For small animals, I would use the Barnes type scoops and pull the bleeders or for larger animal, use OB wire that is fairly quick and somewhat self cauterizes from the heat it makes. Would think about fly control in warm weather for any method.
Horn band is one method I will not use. It causes a lot of sensitivity and every time something touches the horn it causes a sharp pain to the animal. It takes too long for the horn to come off.
I much prefer to use dehorners and just whack the horn off. Get it done with. Don't let blood spurting out bother you, it is not really that bad after you get used to it. If you want to you can put gauze, cotton, or even a paper towel on it to reduce bleeding. If it is still available there was a compound called "blood stop", if memory serves it is in powder form. You can use forceps to pull out the arteries ,if you can see them, and bleeding will stop.
Get someone to do it for you if you think you may not be strong enough to handle the dehorners.

For calves I prefer calf horn scoops. Again, just do it and be done with it. Don't be squeamish. Electric dehorner will work pretty well on calves.
It is dangerous to be hasty and reckless. But it is just as bad to be timid.
The horns on these bulls are wicked.. Thick and pointed. They know they have horns, maybe being sensitive would be a good We're going to get them fert tested, maybe we'll just have the vet cut them off and sew it up. Going into the summer with open big horn spots will just ask for maggot infestation,(referencing the Maggie name)... had a few named that. I can watch the vet do just about everything, but i cant be anywhere near dehorning or anything to do with eyes....
Don't miss dehorning calves. Painting the side of the barn red like abstract art. Been breading polled cattle so we haven't had to dehorn one is 15 years.
I won't use bands on horns. On big horns they take forever, and when the horns start getting loose the cattle will sometimes knock them off and they bleed like crazy. If the horns are small, it's just much easier to cut them off. At least when you cut them you can use pain control that will get them through the worst of it, instead of leaving them suffering for weeks with the bands.
I've done it on a few dozen dairy heifers over the years. They were between 3 months and a year old. If they know they have horns, it stops that behavior all together. I use cordless clippers and clip the base right at the scull. I use a callicrate bander and haven't had any slip off. I feel like it works much better than green Cheerios. I really like the callicrate for bulls and claves that people don't cut when they should too. The heifers will shake their head for a day or so but other than that I've had no problems. I've used it on goats too that my daughter likes but can't seem to keep their stupid heads out of the fence.
Hope that helps.
I've done quite a few, used to be on our dairy with Holsteins. I prefer using bands on the horns if they've gotten away on you, but the BEST way is to use an electric dehorner when they're baby calves... like less than a month old. About the same "pain factor" while doing it as branding... but they're over it as soon as you let them go pretty much... an hour or so of head shaking... but for the most part, it doesn't set them back at all.

I have the elastrator tool with the "green Cheerios"... and I agree that they can tend to roll off pretty easily, and the XL bands being squared off don't do that as easily... but that makes them harder to "roll up" then too (I've used them both). On animals with a steep taper on the horn, I too have cut a notch into the horn at the skin/hair line to "set" the band into. You don't have to do it all the way around... just kind of on two opposite sides, and just enough of a notch to ensure it can't roll back off. They'll bleed some from that cut, but once the band is installed, that quits pretty quickly. Horn will fall off in a few weeks to a month. Lots of times, they will knock it off just a little prematurely as it dies... and then they will bleed some, maybe for a day... but it's never too bad, and can't be as bad as gouging them.

The "green Cheerios" seem to want to tear pretty easily... which is never a good thing. The elastrator tool that stretches them can begin that tearing process because of how it puts all the stress from the stretch on just a few very small points... so look at that thing before installing, but after you've stretched them out fully... Do a number of hand squeezes on the tool to stretch the band and work it up gradually to fully opened.

I had one fairly large calf (about 300#) that I was just able to slip his nuts through the band on... and durned if that band didn't break about halfway through the job of nuts falling off... calf developed a large grapefruit sized mass right below his belly, stunk bad, looked pretty rough, nut sack hanging down about 12" below that .... thought it might have been a hernia... regardless, I took my California banding tool (with the surgical bands... should have used that one right from the start), and wrapped around the whole thing right up tight to his belly... figured he'll either make it or he won't... but I wasn't sticking a vet bill into him yet too. Gave him a tetanus booster (had given him the first dose when I banded him the first time). In a few weeks everything fell off, he quit stinking, started picking up on attitude, and today, he's as good as can be... you'd never know he had a problem at all, and his underside is nice and smooth... no telling it even.
Have dehorned using all methods. Now we use a paste on small calves, An electric circle branding iron on 2-350 lb calves and Callicrate bands on larger horns. My BIL has used the Callicrate bands on 50-60 hd of roping steers for several years. Works great. Cattle with larger horns has a lot less stress. I know some that after a few weeks knock the horn shell off and then cut the horn off. They say no bleeding. Banding is the preferred method in this area by those who do larger numbers. We each have our preferences but I haven't used our dehorners in years. I use what I consider better, less stressful methods.

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