We have had a few cows over the years that we have had to dehorn, depending on the size you can use a dehorning gouge, or just saw them off short & blunt - on adult cattle, the danger with a gouge is making a hole so deep that you open up the sinus cavity - even if you're careful and gouge the horn out above the sinus cavity there will be alot of blood & you'll have to cauterize the holes and watch for infection - a long acting anitibiotic is recommended. If they're older cows I'd just saw them off and grind them blunt - alot less stress for the animal and no danger of accidentally losing one. You should be able to saw them off 3-4 inches from the head without a problem and just blunt them with a hand grinder. Oh - make sure you've got a good head squeeze! Good luck
The only time I cut the horns is when they are going to be endangering the cow. For example growing into the cows eye or into her head. I might cut the tip off a cows horns if they are really sharp but other than that I figure cows are dangerous whether they got horns or not .If she is going to run over you does it matter if she hits you with a horn or just her hard head? Either way is goin to probably leave a mark, if you know what I mean.
As far as calves go I de-horn any of them that have horns , they bring more money in my area if they are de-horned and castrated.
I agree, most of our calves are polled but when we work cattle prior to turning them out in the spring we castrate, vaccinate & brand and I always check for horn buds (we haven't had any with scurs for a couple of years) and if needed I'll use an electric dehorning iron on them at that time 'cause they're only about 2-3 mo old and the buds are still plenty small enough. But, that being said we've found that polled bulls are the best way to go - now we only have about a dozen old cows with horns (out of 370) but when they go that'll be it. Every year I also raise a dozen or so holstein steers that I get from a local dairy - they're kinda my pocket money and I'll dehorn them with the electric iron as soon as I get them home.
so does the electric iron also cauterize the blood vessels? My dad has done this before some years ago and he used powder to slow down blood loss, but I have to admit I felt sorry for his cows. If I just cut and blunt the tips that old heifer will still be a bully (no pun meant). Nothing makes me madder than for one to come in slinging their head around. I know cows have a pecking order but this cow may go to the sale. She drops a beautiful calf but she's just mean.
I really enjoy reading some of the posts on this site. I have learned a lot. Some of you are so funny!!!! I appreciate all your help. GOD bless!!!!
you can use an electric iron or a regular fire heated dehorning iron to cauterize the wound if you dehorn with gouge.the powder works ok on a small cut or something - but we're talking alot of blood here - use an iron. Even if you dehorn her she's still going to be mean. She'll still sling her head at you and have the same nasty disposition - Id get rid of her - life is too short to have to put up with a nasty cow and after all, how valuable is she if she puts somebody in the hospital!
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding here but, based on your post, this cow doesn't sound like she is 'mean' - she has simply figured out that her horns (however short they may be) have given her an advantage over the polled cattle and she is using that advantage to her benefit - namely where feed is concerned. This is exactly why polled and horned cattle should not be ran together. Sometimes it isn't a problem, but a lot of times it is.