Dehorned cattle are easier to work with, house and transport. The chance of bad bruising is lessened, as is the danger of injury to udders, flanks and eyes, as well as to labourers working with the animals.
You don’t need as much trough space for dehorned cattle and they can be fed more easily with less interference from dominant animals. Horn blows during transport also bruise the meat on carcasses, making it unfit for people to eat, and loses you a lot of money. Here are two methods of dehorning.
Caustic stick method
This method is only suitable for smallholders with few cattle.
Hot iron method
Here, the horn-forming tissue at the base of the hornbud is burnt with a de-budding iron, which is heated by gas or fire. This should be performed when the calf is three to six weeks old.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
This article was originally published in the 19 February 2016 issue of Farmers Weekly.
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