Dehorning continues to be an underperformed practice among cow-calf operations. Because of the large number of cattle which are not dehorned on cow-calf operations, removing the horns of cattle when they arrive at feeding facilities is a common practice to reduce injury to other cattle and handlers. In addition, there is an increase in bruising on carcasses of cattle that have been housed in pens that contain horned cattle. Bruises are trimmed out of a carcass, resulting in lost carcass weight, devalued primal cuts and reduced carcass value.
The best practices for dehorning stocker and feedlot cattle continues to be in question. A study conducted by Kansas State University researchers suggests horn tipping is the best compromise for managing cattle with horns in feedlots. When comparing methods for dehorning, tipping horns resulted in the least amount of observable pain.
Tetanus toxoid must be used. (Especially critical if history of tetanus on your ranch or if cutting the horns very short.) It is important to read and follow vaccine instructions. For more information, contact your veterinarian.
CAUTION: You must adequately restrain the head. The head should be tied back to the side using a halter or nose tongs. A chute with adequate neck chain, neck extender or head sweep also works well. Electronic immobilizers are also a good choice when tipping horns. For your protection, safety glasses and gloves should be worn.
- Put on safety glasses and gloves.
- Place one loop over both horns so that it pulls up underneath both horns.
- Tension the loop. Ratchet a couple of times to tighten it down some (not necessarily to the back of the slot- it will vary depending on the size of the horns).
- Crimp the clip with the crimping lever.
- Cut the Callicrate Loop as close to the SPOOL as possible.
- Saw horns off to desired length.
- Pack the open sinus cavity to avoid any contamination or fly infestation.
- REMOVE the loop after a few hours, giving the blood time to coagulate. Placing loop over the poll shuts off the blood supply to the entire top of the head, therefore, removal of the loop is imperative.
- Make sure to cut the loop in the center behind the horns or, if necessary, cut in the middle of the front.
- If doing large heads/horns we suggest using our larger prolapse loop to make it easier to get the loop over the horns.
Questions? Call 800-858-5974