Horn Talk Blog

It’s Time for Some New Cattle Dehorning Data

Posted by Dave Lucas on Thu, Apr 28, 2011
Calf Dehorning2008 seemed to be a banner year for dehorning research. That was the year we saw the publication of articles on everything from dairy calf welfare to the comparison of pain response in calves receiving hot-iron or caustic paste. That same year, the Journal of Dairy Science published an article, co-authored by Dr. Temple Grandin, highlighting results from a survey 113 dairy farms, showing only about a third of calves are dehorned by eight weeks, and about 80 percent are dehorned with a hot-iron.

Aside from a survey published a year ago showing 90 percent of U.S. bovine practitioners dehorn at the time of castration, there hasn’t been a lot of new data recently. Some interesting dehorning data came out of Europe last fall, but that’s a subject for another blog.

Here’s the kind of dehorning data I’d like to see:
  • A comparison of the effectiveness of caustic paste vs. hot-iron disbudding

  • The impact of dehorning methods on calf weight gain and other performance indicators

  • The impact of dehorning methods on calf value at auction

  • A comparison of infection rates and other complications among various dehorning methods

  • A comparison of dehorning practices from 10 years ago to the present

  • A survey of consumer attitudes toward various dehorning methods.
What kind of dehorning data would you like to see?

Topics: Research, Temple Grandin, Caustic Paste