Dehorning Cattle via Bands

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Is anyone familiar with dehorning cattle via placing bands at the base of the horns? I have a heifer I intend to keep but she has the sideways horns. Friendly enough, but... On the two dairy farms we were on in the early 50s I remember bands or something being placed at the base and eventually the horn dropped off. I cannot find anything on this in my reference books.
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ken,
    Have you done a search as this subject has come up in the past. I must admit to never having heard of the practice until I joined this site. If her horns are now large enough for you to be able to see how they're growing, would it not be just as easy to have her dehorned - and this would be a good time of the year to do it so long as it isn't raining.

    I must admit to being a bit strange - all my cows, and the bull, have their horns and they attract a fair bit of attention as a result.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I had searched the archives and did not notice anything about dehorning with bands.
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ken, I'm not sure of technique but any cattle that I have seen that have been banded leaves me a bit reluctant. I find that they generally end up with a scur that isn't attractive and you have absolutely no control over the direction a scur will grow and they generally do continue to grow. I can't say if the cases I've seen are the result of bad banding or if it's just how it works.
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    DH said he's seen it done. He said it must irritate the cow because they rub and rub trying to get the bands off.
    I read somewhere that it helps to use a file to make small grooves in the horn base so the bands don't roll out of place. Also have to check them often because of the rubbing.
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I use polled bulls. However, my neighbor's bull came visiting and is the daddy of this heifer. Likely next time she is in the headcatcher I'll just take off about half so the ends aren't pointed.

    I was only 5-6 on the dairies, but seem to remember cows with bloody stumps when the horns did drop off. Since apparently it isn't done now, negatives must significantly outweigh positives.
     
  7. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Burning or gouging or if they are big enough the giatine. This way you get the root, and you shouldn't get regrowth if done right. I have seen bands on the neighbors cows horns, didn't look all that impressive.


    Jeff
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have first hand experience doing this. Paula has described what I do and what I have experienced. I clipped the hair near the base of the horn. Then using a small round file to undercut the horn enough to make a slight indention. Then I used the same tool that I band the males with to expand the band and to get the band onto the small groove. If you do not make the groove the band will move up the tapered horn. I did notice the heifers attempting to rub the horns on a post but I did not notice any drop in performance or any attempt on their behalf to avoid hitting the horns against each other. The horns atrophied and fell off without complications. Given the opportuntiy I would have preferred to have seen the animals dehorned as calves but one does what needs to be done.
     
  9. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ken,

    What kind of heifer is it? If it's a Dexter/Jersey you could probably sell it for enough to buy a replacement of the breed of your choice.

    That would save having her dehorned.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd consider selling her, too, Ken. It's not just her that's going to have to be dehorned, it's her calves as well. I had some polled angus blood in my dairy herd (Holsteins) some time ago and it took several generations before the horns became normal again. You are looking at the reverse, it'll take a couple of generations before they are all polled again. Of course, it depends on how good she is and how much you like her.

    I've heard of banding horns only recently and have never seen it done.

    Jennifer
     
  11. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Ken I know someone who's done all his adult horned Dexters this way, and is very happy with the results (so far). He had the vet put the rings on(and they were the big fat rings), and he has had quicker results with the batch just done in late fall than the previous batch which were I think done in maybe late Spring.
    If you want his email, pm me, I'm sure he can send you pics and answer more questions.

    Carol K
     
  12. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I want to keep this heifer. First calf out of a rather nice cow. Neighbor's bull is a Romanola (sp?). I'm not good at weight guessing, but my WAG would be she is 600-700 pounds at about 10-11 months. She is going to be a rather nice cow herself. My guess is she'll go 800 or so when I put the bull back in with the herd in May. While she is relatively good natured, I just don't trust a cow with pointed horns.
     
  13. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    Although I dont have first hand experience using bands on cattle .. but with burning and cutting out horns , i have had experience banding goat's horns.. basically teh same thing ... It is in my experience one of the cruelest ways to dehorn .. it is not a slow proccess and may take up to two months for the horns to eventually come off , and can cause quite a bit of pain in the meantime and I cant think it would be any different for cattle than it was my experience with goats....
    It doesnt take much for the vet to either scoop out or saw off teh horns and as you would surmise this is the best time to do it being winter and the flys are minimal.
    Banding horns realy is and antiquated method of dehornind .. still used but really not the best

    Paula
    Hyde Park Farm
     
  14. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    I'm kind of in the same predicament as Ken, so I'm reading this with interest. Anyone know what a reasonable price would be for the vet to dehorn a grown cow? Mine is a 4 yo Dexter, pregnant and due in April. I would like to milk her, but don't trust a cow with horns. The calf I will probably dehorn with paste when it is little. I don't have a restraint devise, so I'm assuming I'll have to bring her to the vet instead of the vet coming to the farm, right? She wears a halter and will lead, but I don't think that would suffise for a dehorning.
     
  15. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    I can't quote a price for dehorning. But with a full grown cow, they would sedate her some, not put her out, but take the edge off. After that, they would remove them, probably using a big tool called a giatine if that is what they have. It is this midevil looking thing, its quick, and lops the horns off nicely. When we dehorned 4, the vet charged us 160 or so I beleive. I did the cutting, he did the vein pulling and singing with the calf dehorner (stop the blood flow). Worked well, and no horn regrowth.


    Jeff
     
  16. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Hovey,
    if she wears a halter would you feel comfortable if you tied her while milking? That's what I do with my horned girl, just tie her so she can get to her hay or grain then she can't reach you.

    Carol
     
  17. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    She's never been milked before and I've never milked. I don't want my first milking experience to be my last! She's not mean by any means. She will tolerate being touched and comes to see you anytime you are in the pasture, but I wouldn't call her "freindly". She seems to know that those horns are weapons and she tosses them quite a bit. I just worry about the kids being around her, or that she gets a little pushy at feed time, etc. The horses have her convinced that they are tougher and meaner, but that doesn't mean I don't still worry about them all being together. We don't have an ideal set-up where I could separate everybody out. I've got two pastures but like to rotate them, so the grass can grow in one while they are in the other. (Also, only want to buy one round bale of hay at a time) I will probably separate them when the calf comes.
     
  18. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    I see your point. If she tosses her head at you make sure you let her know who is boss though, yell at her and bop her on the nose to.
    Good luck with the milking,

    Carol
     
  19. MaryF

    MaryF Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ken,
    we just had one of our cows horns fall off just this past weekend, after being banded about 6 weeks ago. This is just from my little experience, but it was so easy...for both of us, I think.
    We had two heifers dehorned a while ago, using the giatine (but the vet didnt pull the vein, I think that was a huge mistake). It was very tramatic for us all.
    We decided with our cow, we would have her banded, by a guy that was very experienced. For the first hour or so after putting the bands on, she shook her head about. The guy mentioned visualizing you putting a rubber band around your finger. The pressure feels very strange. After that hour, she was perfectly fine. And when her horns did fall off this weekend, there was very little blood, and she didnt seem to be affected. It looks the same at this point as the two heifers done using the other method.
    The only issue I dont know, is someone mentioned a scur growing back. We arent far enough along to know if that happens, so I cant give you info there.
    But, I will say...between the two experiences, we will band before we ever use the giatine again. Hth's,
    Mary
     
  20. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    Ive seen those used. not a pretty sight, but on the large horns you dont have much choice.