• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

dehorning options for [dairy] cows?

 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hi all,
i was wondering if people knew what other options are available to dehorn cows?
it seems to me, that most of the cow keeping public would prefer the horns be gone... most dont care how they go, they just want them gone.

our current jersey/brown swiss cow has no horns, but her baby is starting to get them. my momma cow sometimes like to push her head against my leg and sort of rub up and down... not sure i would like this if she had horns

as i look forward to selling the heifer, i am conflicted on what to do.
personally i would prefer the cows keep all of the items it was born with, but i also recognize most people wont want to buy a cow, especially a dairy cow, with horns. (keeping the heifer isnt an option, unless it is in the freezer)
the heifer is just over 3 months old.

so far, these are the options i know of:
burn/freeze the horns off early in life (not ideal imo)
some sorta paste the stops them (doesnt seem good imo)
horn weights (i havent done a ton of research on this, but i believe the idea is you can effect the curve of the horns using wieghts, as to make them less dangerous to people)
cosmetic surgery (done by a vet, not cheap but better than buring them off, imo)
adding a "kong" to a trimmed horn (i cant fins an image to post, but if you google "kong on cow horn" there are a few pictures of them)
100% natural


does anyone else have any other options that i missed?

what do you think about a dairy cow with horns?

any feedback is appreciated.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For a family cow being milked on a lead rope or free, it isn't much of a problem unless they are highland or longhorn and can actually reach the milker with only a flick of the neck. IF they are calm enough to milk free. It gets complicated when you want to milk in a stanchion, depending on the size of the horns, but manageable if you build the stanchion for horns.

We have a couple highland cows that are rather ornery and will snag each other in the bag, injuring a quarter. NOT GOOD.


None of the ways to remove horns is very pleasant. Done wrong, and they can get scurs, blinded, and infections and all sorts of problems. You are probably too late for some of the methods, too.

 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kelly Smith : -I second R. Scott, at the risk of offending my neighbors, this is a barbaric practice that may not have to be done at all depending on breed, and you
should actually see the procedure done before you decide ! Big AL !
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 369
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
10
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For me, removing the horns on a younger animal makes a lot of sense. Horns get to be a problem with close proximity (like a feeder) or with an aggressive animal around people. It's a symtom of the change in environment from what the horns were designed for - just like house cats don't really need those long claws for hunting their food and tend to only use them to scratch people and sofas...de-clawing is barbaric, but I've seen several problem cats which look like they should be de-clawed..

The younger the removal, the less traumatic (kind of like castration..) In the best case, putting on dehorning paste soon after birth is probably least traumatic - cutting nubs in the first 6 months is also relatively minor.

If a cow is already over a year, I would think more toward training horns or just living with them -- but I would not personally want to keep a bull or aggressive cow with horns.

 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i thought this should go here:



we ended up having our vet dehorn our calf similar to how it was done in the above video.

im interested in hearing adams opinion, as his cows have their horns, or anyone else whose cows have horns.
 
matt sorrells
Posts: 126
Location: Canton, NC
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We had our one beef steer dehorned and it was ROUGH. That poor feller bled for 2 days and his horns grew back anyway. I was SURE that we'd wake up in the morning and have a dead cow from bleeding too much. I mean, there were puddles. We wont do it again, thats for sure. We've got a 10 week old calf now that will be a milker and she is growing horns. No worries, I think she'll be just fine with her God given equipment. We may have to just be careful, but we should be anyway. When they grew back they werent really a problem, even when my 10 year old son got caught in the man-parts it was just funny, not really dangerous. He might disagree, but he was ok just a few minutes later.
 
Adam Klaus
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used the dehorning paste. It is easy. I apply it at about a week or two of age, once I am separating the calf at night from the momma cow. 100% success rate. Calves dont like it too much, but my understanding is that it is vastly more humane than burning. I feel good about it.

The only animals I dehorn are bulls that will be raised to maturity for use in breeding. All my bulls for beef, and all my cows, are kept intact. Breeding bulls do not get horns because they would be too destructive on my corrals, fences, and buildings. Horns or no horns, a mature bull is still a lethal proposition.

Dehorning older animals is cruel and inhumane. There is no proper way to do it. Dehorn in the first month of life, or not at all.

hope that helps!

 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good point about the bull. We have a highland bull, he is gentle as Ferdinand and not that big as far as bulls go--but he can hook a big round bale with a horn and flip it in the air.
 
It's a pleasure to see superheros taking such an interest in science. And this tiny ad:
Got Permaculture games? Yes! 66 cards, infinite possibilities::
www.FoodForestCardGame
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic