Friday, April 05, 2013

About That Whole Dehorning Issue


Here is a darned good blog post addressing it.

As regular readers know, we have a couple of horned cows. Horns are a huge problem both for other cows and for the people who work with them. Dear Betty, who is as sweet a little cow as you could find, is a menace. In order to keep the snake-necked older cows on both sides of her from gobbling up all her hay, it is necessary to shake it out really fine. Then Zulu and Evidence can't grab it by the slice and toss it over into their part of the manger.

Shaking that hay out is dangerous! Betty flings her horns at those neighboring thieves and doesn't pay much attention if people happen to be in the way. So far I've been able to duck but.....

We had some farming neighbors who didn't believe in dehorning a few years ago. They had an entire herd of horned cows. They also had a nice mare who had a lovely little foal...which was killed within days by one of them. Nasty. Unnecessary.

Now the esteemed Mr. Gosling, acting in his capacity as a mindless mouthpiece for an animal rights organization, which I won't name here, suggested using polled genetics to breed cows without horns.

Great idea! The dairy industry has been working in that direction for years. We have used polled bulls in our herd, when good ones were available, since the kids were small. However, changing the genetic makeup of an entire population of animals does not happen overnight. Plus as Dairy Carrie says, there just aren't enough polled animals in the gene pool to maintain genetic diversity.

I suspect however that Mr. G has no clue about inbreeding .....

Anyhow, Carrie did a good job on this and I don't blame her a bit for  what she calls snarkiness. After a while it gets old being told how to do something by someone who has never done it, never seen it done...or at least not the right way, or had anything to do with  with it. 

9 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

I don't know if you have ever tried this, but...we have had very good luck dehorning adult cows using castrating bands around the base of the horn. It is easy, cheap, doesn't make a mess and I have seen no evidence that it causes any pain (and believe me, we watch for that). We have been all over the dehorning spectrum on our farm as well and we wont have anymore horns here. Once those cows learn to use those horns, they are just too darned dangerous.

threecollie said...

DD, we have tried that a couple of times with mixed results. Have to watch out for tetanus. I hate horns on cows!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

This reminds me of Julia Roberts complaining that in America the horses are kept behind fences needlessly when it was perfectly apparent to her when she visited Mongolia that fences were not necessary! Hogwash.

I do not like horns on cows, and have nothing but regrets for leaving some on. Great post here and on Carries blog.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

This reminds me of Julia Roberts complaining that in America the horses are kept behind fences needlessly when it was perfectly apparent to her when she visited Mongolia that fences were not necessary! Hogwash.

I do not like horns on cows, and have nothing but regrets for leaving some on. Great post here and on Carries blog.

Jinglebob said...

There are only two times i don't like my horned cows, when i have to put them down a chute to vaccinate them and when they use them to defend their calf when i have to work with said calf... by and larger horns on cows can be bad, but then, I don't have any coyotes bothering my calves with a lot of cows who still have horns on in the herd...cows are large and in dairy cows where you interact with them twice a day for most of their lives, it is a dangerous thing to have horns, for the other cows around them and the people who have to work around them...we tried the bands on some horns years back and had poor results, if your going to do it, do it when they are young, if at all possible..... as to lack of pain, I imagine there is pain from them at first but it would go numb very shortly, wrap a string real tight around your finger and leave it for a bit, until it starts to turn blue.... oh, have fun when you take the string off! :-)

I find it odd that people who will have their male children's foreskin removed with out any anesthesia, would worry about pain in an animal....people is stoopid critters...

Terry and Linda said...

Yep...I get sick of those 'who know' when they really don't know and never will, except in a book.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Jeffro said...

I suspect however that Mr. G has no clue about inbreeding .....

Hahahaha!!!! Sooo subtle! Love it!

ellie k said...

So many people put things on paper and it looks good but these same people have never seen or tried to make it work. When I worked I got so sick of the higher ups telling me things would work while they sit at there desk and never worked in my work place.

threecollie said...

Nita, the level of willful ignorance displayed by most of Hollywood is embarrassing as well as dangerous. I won't watch television and only bother with a few movies. They should stick to doing what they do...pretending to be someone else...and leave those who work alone.

JB, I understand completely...a whole different management system. We are so close to ours so much of the time.

Linda,some of them should be ashamed of themselves. Anything, anything at all, for publicity.

Jeffro....hmmmm.....

Ellie, I think it occurs far too much and everywhere. Such a shame.