Horn Removal

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kerley

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What is the best way to remove the horns off of yearling calves. Put them in the shute, head gate. I want the horns removed but I want it done without harm to the calves. Any advice will be appreciated.
Tom.
 

Red Bull Breeder

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If the horns are not to big just use a set of scoops. Vet has a saw that looks like a worm drive skill saw with the blade layed down for the big ones. Any way you do it on yearlings that i know is gonna be bloody.
 

Bez+

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kerley":1fwks5wn said:
What is the best way to remove the horns off of yearling calves. Put them in the shute, head gate. I want the horns removed but I want it done without harm to the calves. Any advice will be appreciated.
Tom.

There is a ton of information on this site - several of us have writen extensively on this topic.

However - if you have the facilities - but are weak on the practical here is your best bet.

1. Have a neighbour over to do it - one who truly knows what to do when things go wrong - and sometimes they do.

or .....

2. Call your veternarian and have him / her do it. Sounds like the best bet for you.

As for the discomfort issue - a yearling is quite late to do this and it can set them back substantially.

To prevent this it is quite possible the veterinarian will use Lidocaine or some other similar drug - your neighbour might if s/he is up on this type of thing. It makes the entire operation quite painless.

I am sure someone will be happy to tell you to breed the horns off of them - but that is not always what you will want to do or be able to do - so if you have horns, time to get smart on them - do a look through here and use these words in your search:

Author - Bez, Beefy, CattleAnnie, Dun, Caustic
Words - Horns, dehorn, de-horn, dehorning, de-horning, horned

You can cut them off with a hand held wire saw - the best method at this age = or you can scoop them - bad at this age.

You scoop a big set of horns or cut them off without knowledge two things are going to happen - one they will bleed like crazy - and this can be controlled in seconds if you know which veins to pull out - and sometimes they go down when you scoop without freezing - which tends to get folks that do not know a lot about this operation to panick a bit. Also it is not a neat job - as there is always a bunch of horn left behind - big scoops work but they are sloppy. Ever see a de-horned cow with a disfigured horn growing out of her head? That is often the result of a sloppy job done with a scoop.

I am dead set against scooping anything over about six months - I trim the hair and wire saw them - faster and it seems to seal the veins and slow the bleeding until I get them pulled. Does a nicer job as well. Then you burn the base a bit and it makes a nice clean job. Seals it from flies. And I guarantee the horn will not grow back. If I use Lidocaine they go right out and start eating - no standing in the shade licking their wounds. Costs me a dollar to a dollar fifty a head and I think I more than make it up by not losing a weeks worth of gain when a big steer is hurting.

Do not panick if you open up the sinus a bit - just pop the membrane and you can either cover the hole with a bit of packing if flies are an issue or leave it open if there are no flies - we like to dehorn in the winter for this reason.

I always spray them with Bleu - which is an aerosol wound powder - it forms a nice cake on top and also keeps the flies off.

In the end you will learn as time rolls along - it really is not a major issue once you know how. Go watch a few being done and you will catch on fast.

If I was close I would come and do it for you for nothing - except for a free lunch - and I would guarantee they do not bleed bad, feel anything and the horns would not grow back.

It is all in how you do it.

Have fun

Bez+



Either way
 

Aaron

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List of things you need:

Wire saw cables for horns
Blood stop powder
Pine tar
Small flat stick to apply tar
New pair of needle-nose pliers with good teeth
Rope halter

Loop the cables across the backside of the horn, as close to the skull as you can.

Start sawing back and forth, the heat from the saw will help cauterize the wound. The animal will likely beller..don't be surprised.

Take the horn clean off, after 3/4 of the way through, your going to need another hand (person) to hold the horn so you can finish sawing (it will be flopping around loosely)

Soon as it comes off, the arteries will be spraying like nuts (good to wear old clothes for this procedure). Locate them both (arteries) in each horn and pull them out with the pliers. If you don't get them all, don't worry. Just give a good dose of blood stop power into the holes and around the base and take a good gob of pine tar and smother on top of both bases, bringing the surrounding hair (with tar) towards the horn to help cover it up and protect from dirt and flies.

Let the animal go and watch for the next few hours to make sure that bleeding stops. If not, call a vet. Although we have never had a problem.

If you have access to drugs like lidocaine to ease the pain, that should make the going easier. We have never done that, so can't really comment. You may need to use the rope halter to subdue the animal if they start thrashing their head around in the chute when your sawing. :cowboy:

Just make sure you pack the holes good with pine tar. Nothing nastier than fly eggs (in summer) or a head cold (in winter).

Similar to Bez, once you have the equipment, its fast and cheap to do horns. I figure about a buck a head and takes about 6 mins top to do wire sawing. We typically used Barnes dehorners at weaning as it saves about 3 min per head.
 

Loch Valley Fold

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We use rubber rings that we have for banding bull calves to dehorn our yearling heifers very little to no blood takes about 4-6weeks for the horns to fall off only problem I've seen so far is that that 1 or 2 heifers work out how to rub the ring(s) off.
 

dun

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kscowboy":9lks3nlo said:
loch valley , can you tell us more about this banding procedure ? placement , any swelling , tetanus , etc.

Years ago we tried the bands on horns of goats. Made them illtempered and very seneitive to handle. If they bumped the horn it seemed to cause a lot of pain.
 

Loch Valley Fold

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The rubber band is placed at the base of the horn if you take notice there is a "soft" spot right behind the base of the horn shell & their head, this is where the band needs to go making sure to get some hair in the band (this is where I think they can rub the band off). There is no swelling & you could give a tetanus shot if you want we haven't lost any this way not saying it wont happen but it could, the horn heals as the band cuts through. On older cows/ heifers (2yr old) it can take longer to cut through & fall off. Minimal bleeding I've only seen a slight trickle & this was when they were hot & getting worked up as we were trying to load them onto the truck. Once the horns have come off I've never noticed any difference in temperament. The only down side to banding is that some of the rings can either wor their way off or break, personally I think that has a lot to do with the colour of the rings I prefer the dark green bands over the light green.
I'll get some photos taken over the next few days showing how I band the horns & put them up for you to look at
 

Angus Cowman

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Buddy of mine uses the calicrate bander on horns he had some longhorn influenced cattle and every now and then he would come up with one with horns
it seems to work pretty slick
we used to just dehorn ours with the scoops unless they were to big then we would use a sawzall and we never had any problems, on the big ones we used a dehorning iron to cauterize them so it would slow the blood flow and then would spray with the Blue spray like Bez said
 

msscamp

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kerley":27opymg5 said:
What is the best way to remove the horns off of yearling calves. Put them in the shute, head gate. I want the horns removed but I want it done without harm to the calves. Any advice will be appreciated.
Tom.

Barnes dehorner is probably going to be your best bet. I don't mean to sound like I'm coming down on you, but it is a little late to avoid harm to the calves. Ideally, calves are dehorned when the nubs are just beginning to show. Dehorning at a year old is going to hurt like hell, and it will continue to hurt everytime they bump their heads for several weeks after the horns are removed. It sounds like you're inexperienced, and I would strongly suggest that you have your vet do it because there is going to be blood spurting everywhere. At the same time, he/she can show/teach you how. I hope you have a strong stomach. I detest dehorning, and it is the only thing I flat refused to help with.
 

grubbie

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I feel the same way. Don't like dehorning, never did. We have used nothing but polled bulls here for many years now. Use a longhorn on the heifers but those calves are gone at weaning time.
 

TexasBred

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Everything I now have is polled but I always used the scoops on the dairy calves years ago. Makes for a very smooth, neat looking femine head when healed.
 

msscamp

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TexasBred":29zybh70 said:
Everything I now have is polled but I always used the scoops on the dairy calves years ago. Makes for a very smooth, neat looking femine head when healed.

Hmmm, never noticed that. The males still looked like males, and the females still looked like females.
 

LoveMoo11

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I agree with most everyone else, you are probably going to have to use a scoop. Make sure you are prepared to restrain them well and that you know how to stop the bleeding (pulling the arteries). If you are worried about pain (which they sure as heck will be) use some lidocaine or something similar (probably will need a vet to do it). After its done, keep after them for the next few weeks and make sure they are healing up well. Keep the wounds clean and keep the bugs away the best you can.
 

Limomike

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msscamp":xc24go1i said:
TexasBred":xc24go1i said:
Everything I now have is polled but I always used the scoops on the dairy calves years ago. Makes for a very smooth, neat looking femine head when healed.

Hmmm, never noticed that. The males still looked like males, and the females still looked like females.

:lol: Yep.. just gotta look under instead of on top. :nod:
 

TexasBred

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msscamp":2nfow1n2 said:
TexasBred":2nfow1n2 said:
Everything I now have is polled but I always used the scoops on the dairy calves years ago. Makes for a very smooth, neat looking femine head when healed.

Hmmm, never noticed that. The males still looked like males, and the females still looked like females.

Well if you do it right you can influence the overall eye appeal of a cow. You can do it right and she looks sharp. Screw it up and she looks crappy...a reflection of the whole operation... But...I have seen bulls that looked feminine as well as cows that looked bullish. Doesn't matter....do it YOUR way which I'm sure you will. Would that make you a "bull headed" lady?? ;-)
 

msscamp

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TexasBred":7gryofl6 said:
msscamp":7gryofl6 said:
TexasBred":7gryofl6 said:
Everything I now have is polled but I always used the scoops on the dairy calves years ago. Makes for a very smooth, neat looking femine head when healed.

Hmmm, never noticed that. The males still looked like males, and the females still looked like females.

Would that make you a "bull headed" lady?? ;-)

You have no idea just how "bull-headed" I can be! :p :p :lol2: :lol2: :lol2:
 

novatech

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The biggest mistake I have seen people make, regardless of how they do it, is that they do not remove the growth area adjacent to the horn. At least 1/8 th inch of the skin around the horn should be removed/burned when dehorning. If you don't get this area you can end up with scurs.
 

Susie David

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Not going to worry about the horns...our lim bull hung horns on 60% of his calves and by the time I should worry about horns they will be in meat packages going to somebody's freezer. The Barnes and old guillitine dehorners are hanging on the shop wall collecting dust. DMc
 
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