Minimizing Pain and Complications by Dehorning Early
Dehorning Early is a process that ideally takes place in calves that are less than two months of age. That is because, at this age, the horn buds are free-floating. Over time, the buds begin to grow and attach to the skull. Once they are overlying the frontal sinuses, the horns acquire a blood supply. As a result, the dehorning process becomes more invasive and results in greater blood loss. The process also exposes the frontal sinus cavity, which increases the risk of sinusitis and infection while also prolonging wound healing.
Methods for dehorning range from disbudding with caustic paste or a hot iron when the buds are not yet formed to using wires, saws, knives and other cutting instruments to remove horns that have already developed. Approximately 70 percent of diary farms in the northern United States use a hot iron to disbud their calves while most beef farmers use saws or other similar dehorners. Only about ten percent use caustic paste.
Unfortunately, even after following the best of practices, it is possible to lose a calf or an older cow from a wide variety of causes. In these cases, you can count on The Last Ride to remove the carcass in an efficient and responsible manner.