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So I've got these three week old twins, and looking into the future, when is the best time for the calves’ health to disbud them? When are they strong enough to handle the stress but small enough to make it the lest stressful? I used paste on my first heifer calf:bash: didn’t work. Then had the vet out at six months to do it, way too big by then. So what are your recommendations?
 

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I just had the vet out last week. My calves are 2 months old. He used a burning iron. The calves did just fine and are recovering nicely and quickly. This is something I would not have tried to do alone but it didn't look that difficult. I just don't think I could have held that thing to their heads that long - softy. He also castrated the bull - now steer. That one I would have done, had I had someone to hold him for me.
 

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I think it also depends on the breed of you calf. My Jersey heifers horn buds were barely big enough to be done at 10 weeks old. My Holstein steer was just fine at 10 weeks and my Jersey Holstein cross was also still a little small, but I had them all done. We'll see if we get any scur growth on the ones that were a little small in time.
 

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Bulldog I disbud about 20 calves per year. Most are burned at 3-4 weeks old, never had a scur or a health problem. I get the job done early, the longer I wait the stronger they get..Topside
 

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You can do them as soon as the horn bud is big enough to find. Burning works great, and as long as the horn isn't too big for the dehorner to go around it will do them. I actually paste all our calves with horns, and they are done within 48 hours of birth. Rarely we will have a calf that doesn't have buds at that age that we will do at branding. The biggest thing with paste is getting enough paste onto the horn. I cut the hair away from the horn bud and spread about a dime to a nickle sized amount over the horn. If we miss one at birth and at branding we will do them by the time they are 8 months old, just using Barne's dehorners and cutting the horn off. I prefer to not have to do that, but if you do them before they are a year old usually it isn't a terribly big deal, they don't normally bleed a lot, and will be back to normal within a few days.
 

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Bulldog I disbud about 20 calves per year. Most are burned at 3-4 weeks old, never had a scur or a health problem. I get the job done early, the longer I wait the stronger they get..Topside
WOW That is really early. Everyone I talked to said to wait until the horn bud was 1/2" tall. Hmmm this is my first experience with calves being disbudded, so I hope they turn out well.
 

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We usually burned in that 3-4 week range for our holsteins. Once the buds were up 1/2", seemed we had to use the larger diameter ring on the dehorner & that just caused way too much flesh damage. The ring for burning the smaller horns has a narrower contact area. Never had scurs, although a time or two we did have to reburn with the larger ring.
 

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I really appreciate everyone's input here. The locals all say 1/2" but they also say 6 weeks plus. So, kind of confusing. The gal who came out brought the bigger ring and I think maybe the smaller one would have been better for the job too.
We may have another opportunity very soon as it looks like we will be getting 3-5 more calves next week.
So can anyone give me an idea of how long the horns on a 6 month old Holstein might get? I am wondering if people actually bother disbudding veal calves they are raising to about 6 months?
Thanks so much for any help.
Trisha
 

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I raise about 30 holstein calves every year, I dehorn then with a iron at about 8 weeks. My vet sells me Ladocane over the counter, i inject it into the nerve behind the eye. That freezes them and I put a bucket of grain in front of then and get to it with the iron! They happiliy eat the grain and feel nothing! Once they are done, I give them a shot of vitamins and spray on some antiseptic. And turn them out. I have yet to have a problem doing it this way in the almost 9 years I have been raising calves!

When I started to get into calves I had my vet come out and give me a lesson on how to do it.
 

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i just had all mine burned they ranged from 4 months to 2 months old and they all did fine

also had him cut the big ones horns off and that went ok he gave them "the knock out shot" and they were down in about 5 mins and didnt really move the rest of the day

today there a little slow cause its like 90 out side and it must hurt there head

o and then my big one also got cut too cause when he was younger the band must of broke or some thing then they were too big to be rebanded

ill get some pics up so you can see the difference in the horns and the looks
 

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I use paste on my Dexter calves before the age of two weeks.

I cut the hair short with a scissor around each bud and smear a ring of vasaline then use two small dabs of paste per horn bud.

I isolate for an hour to keep the cows from licking off the paste. Works for me.
 

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I burn our Jersey/Holstien calves at about 3 weeks to 2 months depending on the size of the bud. I do them as soon as I can feel the bud properly. The smaller they are, the easier they are to contain for the burning.
 

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Burn or scoop them early 3-5 weeks seems to be easiest on calf.
If using a burning iron, I burn a good complete ring around the horn bud.
Then I take the heel of my hand and knock the horn button off with a fast sharp blow to the horn button. Then I apply the hot iron again and sear and cauterize the tissue where the horn button was.

If using the scoop method, I scoop the bud and about 1/16 inch ring of hair around horn bud out, and the dose the area heavily with bloodstop powder.
 
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