Home page

Most breeds of cattle have horns, in the UK most are De-Horned at around 6 weeks of age, on this page we will show you how this is done.

It is done mostly in the intrest of safety and to prevent the cattle from injuring each other. Great care is taken to ensure that there is no pain or distress caused to the animals during this proceedure.

Firstly they are given a local anaesthetic. This consists of an injection around the site of the "horn bud", not unlike the injection that you may have had at the dentist if you have ever had to have a filling or a tooth removed.

A short period of time is then allowed for the anesthetic to take effect, before the de-horning iron is applied.

Dorothy's father's de-horner is electrically heated, in this case by battery, but they can also be heated by gas.

Once the iron is red hot it is applied and the "horn bud" as it is called is burned off with a scooping movement.

Once removed in this way the outer horn and its soft centre are removed.

The burning seals the area an antibiotic spray is then usually applied as a precaution against infection. The area will heal in about 2 weeks.

Some breeds of cattle such as the Aberdeen Angus naturally do not grow horns, cattle such as these are called "Polled"

These big heifers did not grow horns in the normal time and we had assumed (wrongly) they were polled.

Removing horns is more tricky and so Michael our vet is called in.

Again a local anaesthetic is used but he cuts them off using a "wire saw" and then seals with a heated burner.

Although this may appear drastic if left with cattle without horns these would soon realize their advantage and be very dominant amongst the others. Outdoors the others could escape but in a shed they could be seriously injured.

It is in fact illegal to keep fully grown and horned cattle together inside.

In two weeks time they will join the herd.


Back to Journal/Previous Page / Home page