Lil Discovery


Now that I can get all up close and personal with Glory Bee (seriously, does she not look thrilled that I’m touching her?), I discovered that she’s not just a devil….

….but that when I pushed her hair aside….

….she’s a horny devil.

She’s enough trouble without horns, too.

I’ve got some dehorning paste. I’m desperately seeking advice from anyone who has used this stuff. It says to not let the calf around other animals for six hours, and not to let them nurse. I’m thinking to put it on her in the evening. I milk her before dark, around 6ish, then don’t milk in the morning till around 8 a.m., so that’s over a 12-hour time span. I just want to be sure it won’t cause any harm to BP when she nurses the next morning. Help?


  1. Christina S. says:

    Oh, she really doesn’t look too pleased to have your company, huh?? Poor girl, she doesn’t know what she’s missing!
    Does she like treats? Can you give her something to make her love you? Can you BUY HER LOVE WITH COOKIES?!

  2. Shelly says:

    We never used the paste, but I’ve never heard anything good about it. So we got a disbudding iron. Good luck.

  3. Celeste says:

    How old is she again? By now, if she were horned, those buds would be way bigger. Trust me. I’ve had polled calves that do have horn buds show up between 2 weeks old thru a month, and the buds never get bigger.

    If you do think they’re horns, DON’T use paste to get rid of them. That stuff is caustic and could easily turn her blind or burn her. It’s much easier if you find a friend who raises cattle and have the horns burned with a burning iron. Burning irons get the job done fast, don’t really hurt the calf in the long run (unlike paste) and do the job well.

    Just my opinion…

  4. Celeste says:

    Oh, and I forgot to say that most country/large animal vets will burn the horns for you, if you can’t find a friend to do it…

  5. Gabrielle says:

    Just be careful using dehorning paste. I’ve never used it but with all of my kids I did research on the best method. We ended up taking them to the vet to have them cut off…very gruesome looking compaired to the buring them off but as he said “would you prefer to be cut or burned?”

    I love reading your blog!

  6. TX Aggiemom says:

    :hug: Oh, Suzanne, I can just imagine how you’re loving this thread! Nothing sounds good does it? I certainly don’t know what to tell you, but wish you well in the horn bud department.

    I’m also in favor of buying her love if you can find a treat she likes. She’ll forget WHY she loves you, she’ll just love you. :sun:

  7. Angie says:

    Please don’t do it. Horns on a calf are the same as horns on a goat. That paste is caustic acid. If it rubs off on BP it will burn her severely and if she rubbed it in her eyes she would be blinded. Please, don’t do it. If you must, please find someone experienced with the burning irons and let them do it. Even then I am leery. I know of several people with milk cows that are not disbudded. They are gentle girls and it makes no difference to the milk.

  8. Kathi says:

    I’ve never used the paste but have only heard bad things about it – it can drip into her eyes. We use a disbudding iron on my goat kids, well *I* don’t use it, a friend does it for me!

  9. Dawn Carrica says:

    What the heck is wrong with horns? My Jersey has horns. They are nothing like the horns on our Scottish Higlands. In fact I think my poor Jersey has horn envy. I’d have them burned off. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from fellow ranchers about the paste. Good Luck on whatever you decide. Cute calf though!

  10. Miss Becky says:

    I know nothing of horns or buds or paste. But I do know that I’d like to be that close to the little “devil” myself. She’s just the cutest little thing EVER. :airkiss: :airkiss: :airkiss:

  11. Trinav says:

    If she was mine I would leave the horns. I have a friend who milks her Texas longhorn with no problem from the horns.
    But if you are determined to dehorn go any other route than the paste.
    That is some nasty stuff.

  12. Angela P says:

    Definitely call the vet Suzanne. Infection, burns, blindness etc….Call in the professional. Its worth it in the long run. Some things we can do but this one is out of our reach. Maybe he or she can advise over the phone and postpone a visit until the day the dehorning or disbudding needs attending to.
    Big debate..horns on or horns off.

  13. Hamp Girl says:

    With some luck, they might be scurs, where some brown swiss are known to be polled. Scurs have horn tissue, but they aren’t connected to the skull and won’t grow more than an inch or two. If they’re scurs, they’ll wiggle around a lot when moved. If they’re horns, they’ll be firmly connected to the skull.

    Burning the horns would probably be the best way to go. It’s less messy than using a horn scoop (which is exactly what it sounds like; it scoops the horns off of the skull). I have polled cattle, but we once had the genetics line up right for a horned calf. We left his horns.

    Most horned animals aren’t aggressive, the horns just get in the way.

  14. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Horns on a cow are not the same as horns on a goat. A cow outweighs a goat by at least a quarter ton, probably more. I wish I could give you advice about the paste, but I cannot. All I can say is that I’ve been bruised and injured by cows just being pushy without horns, one with horns can be truly dangerous. Even with a gentle cow, a moments inattention can cause injury or at least bruises, that’s a common sense thing though, we all have to pay attention. A teenage heifer with horns can wreck havoc. (they can do that without horns too, but… )

    Cow’s horns are also different from goats in that they are easier to dis-bud. Goat horns are more hollow and the treatment is more dangerous for the goat. Cows are more solid, less risky to remove. Not sure what to say beyond that, but dehorning Glory Bee is probably a smart thing to do.

  15. Leanne says:

    Hi suzanne,

    We have the horns burned off our jerseys calves too, the vet comes out and each time they do herd health, the new buds on the latest additions are burned off. Glory’ll be bouncing around as soon as it’s done, and you’ll have no anxiety about blinding her, or keeping her from BP for any time. Good luck with whatever you do!!

  16. Christina S. says:

    How big will these horns get if you leave them?

  17. Leanne says:

    Oh and….I wouldn’t like to have a run in with a horned heifer either!! YIKES! I agree with Buckeye Girl, horns can be very dangerous on cows. period.

  18. Lee in KY says:

    My jersey calf, Daisy Mae, is 3 weeks old and we just dehorned her with the paste, last week. It will not work if the horn has broken through the skin. If it hasn’t and you choose to do this here are a some tips. 1.) Get brand new paste if you’ve had it for more than a year (ours was a little less than a year old and didn’t work and we had to re-do, not a good thing) 2.) Take some electric trimmers and shave the hair away from the horn buds 3.) make a ring with vaseline and that will help with the goo not running into her eyes 4) Tie her up somewhere firmly to apply, even better have someone sit on her while she’s laying down 5.) Use duct tape small squares to cover the spots after the paste is on 6) Then take duct tape and wrap all the way around her head to keep it off places you don’t want it. OH, a pencil with an eraser dipped in the acid is easier to control than the popsicle stick recommended.

    Even easier call the vet and have him burn the horns. 🙂

  19. Charlotte says:

    This is a post from a woman who used the paste.

    In fact, her writing about all things cow is very handy information.

  20. Heather says:

    wish I could be of some help. All our guys and gals have their horns.

  21. Gabrielle says:

    No horns is always a safer bet. I was carrying my pygmy goat kid (he was around 4-5 months); I was bringing him to another field…now, he thinks he’s all grown up and can walk by his self and doesn’t want ‘mommy’ carrying him anywhere anymore. So halfway there he through a fit “ma” and *bam* busted my lip! It got so swollen and bleed what felt like forever…his little head smashed just right into my face. Thankfully I had him disbudded; I couldn’t imagine what would of happened to my face if he had horns….

  22. JOJO says:

    OH MY!! This paste thing sounds very scary, please let us know what you decide.

  23. Nikki says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I can’t help you with the paste either but I wanted to add that you really want to get the horns taken care of. My husband had 3 cracked ribs because of a cow with horns. The cow just wanted to play (she was very friendly) and got a little rough.

    My son has a calf who loves to eat just about anything he (my son) eats!! He would feed her potato chips, carrots and apples! It’s kind of funny because her name is Peanut Butter Cup. Her moms name is Reese’s. He named both of them!! :cowsleep:

  24. Jeanne says:

    Most Brown Swiss have horns and they are usually large curving upward style. I don’t know if the Jersey breed has any naturally polled cattle, Brown Swiss do but they are not common. Plus I would guess that BP was dehorned as a calf based on the shape of her poll. So even if GB’s papa was polled the chances are good that she would have horns. Having one cow with horns and one without in not a good idea. The horned one quickly figures out they have an advantage and use it at every opportunity. Since Glory Bee will most likely be larger than BP, horns could cause a lot of bullying by GB. Horns can leave some nasty gashes and puncture wounds on the other cattle and cows quickly figure out that people can be scared by the horns too. (as they should be)

    On the paste, I wouldn’t use it. Having them burned off is much better in my experience. I have done both and much prefer the burning. It hurts and smells nasty but the pain is quick and healing seems to be faster. With paste the chances are great that it will get somewhere other than the horns. Growing up we had cows with holes in their ears and scars along the poll from the rubbing the paste before it set. My mom would never consider burning the horn buds off. It is very important that if you decide to do the paste to get a HALTER. You must be able to immobilize her head and raise her head to the point she can not use her rear feet to swipe at the paste. Make sure BP can not reached her to lick as it will burn into her tongue. Glory Bee will try with every thing in her to rub that paste off. This is how it gets spread to the ears, eyes and skin and it burns for what seems a long time. We use to keep our calves tied up for close to an hour to try and prevent them from smearing that paste around. Make sure you have a cloth and water to wipe up any stray paste on her or you, it burns in quick. The vaseline trick is good to keep the paste from running. We used a flathead screw driver to apply the paste. Given her age it may take more than one application of the paste to get rid of the horn buds, it is best to do this as soon as the buds form. They can be burned as long as the bud fits inside the dehorning iron. When my husband and I raised bottle calves we used the iron. The scars were not as bad and the pain didn’t last nearly as long. The scab/wound doesn’t seem to be as deep either, plus our success rate was about 99%. The ones that didn’t take were usually because we let them get to big and didn’t get the burn ring all the way around.

    Whichever method you use, be sure to trim the hair around the horn buds so you can see them. If using the iron make sure there is a full burnt circle around the bud. The good news is that when the scabs start to loosen there will not be flies around to lay eggs in that area. That is something you need to keep an eye on when dehorning in fly season (winter does have some advantages). There is always a chance she could get an infection under a scab, so you need to check out the horn area occassionally until it is all healed. Since our calves were mostly bottle and bucket babies it was just part of feeding time to check for injuries and infections.

    Good luck.

  25. Gem says:

    We have the vet dehorn all our Jersey heifers. I would never attempt to do it myself, either with the paste or with an iron.
    It is done routinely by the vet, so we have him (a pro) do it!
    Please call the vet-it will be over and done with in a day. 🙂

  26. lizzie says:

    Oh my! I have learned so much about horns! and I thought dusting my chickens for mites was BAD!!! Sorry, I have no information for you. Glory BEE is so PRECIOUS! I no she can be a naughty girl, but the pictures make me want to cuddle her. I know you will do what’s right Suzanne, you take wonderful care of your animals!!!! :snoopy:

  27. Jeanne says:

    Forgot to add that when I was a kid we had a few Swiss cows that the paste didn’t completely get the horn (I think it was old paste and not as effective as it should have been). They had these weird stubby, sort of softer, lumpy horns (looked kind of like grey pickling cucumbers). It seemed that every so often they would knock that weird piece of horn off and there would be blood all over, Lulu did it more often than Snooks and Rita. Of course it was often in summer and every fly in the township showed up and massed on that poor cow’s head. The fly spray would burn, so we use to spray it on paper towels and wipe their heads in an effort to give them relief. The horns would usually grow back to the same size and the cycle would repeat. I can only remember two of our horned cows breaking a horn off. One when she was under a tree that got broken up in a thunderstorn and a branch caught the side of her head, dad finally had the vet cut the other horn back because the poor cow walked around with her head tilted to the horned side. The other got in a nasty fight with another horned cow for boss cow rank and she got pushed into the side of the chicken house and broke part of one of her horns off, put a huge cow-sized dent in the chicken house wall as well. When we had horned and dehorned cows, the boss cow always was a horned one.

  28. Michelle says:

    Completely agree with letting the vet do the dehorning. Our vet only charges $5.00 and it’s well worth it. Have only heard horrible stories about the paste. :moo:

  29. Heidi says:

    You could put rubber booties on her horns…lol. Like bumper cars! I would think that thousand of pounds of cow behind anything remotely pointed would at the least cause some internal bleeding, though. If your kids or anyone you love is going to be around her I’d have the horns taken off.

  30. shirley says:

    :hissyfit: NO!!No paste!

  31. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Call the vet Suzanne.I wouldn’t risk my animal’s health doing something like that.

  32. Liesl says:

    Hi Suzanne
    I would also have the horns burnt off instead of using the paste! If you can’t find a knowlegdable person,rather go the safe route and call the vet out!

  33. pdelainey says:

    Be very careful putting the paste on. If she gets it on her ear it will eat a hole in the ear.
    My family used the dehorning paste on 2 calves quite awhile ago now, they managed to rub their heads in such a way to smear it onto their ears, and after all of that, it never fully stopped the horns from coming in. My family ended up using another tool to burn them off.
    Good luck.n :clover:

  34. DragonLady says:

    I wouldn’t put acid on a baby (or adult) of any species! There are better alternatives. 😕

  35. Ramona says:

    That explains why she’s been giving you fits. A horned devil.

  36. Emma Filbrun says:

    I agree with the majority–get the vet to do it. We have a 5-month-old heifer calf, and my husband borrowed the tool from the vet to dehorn her. He missed and had to redo. We have 3 little goats right now that we’re raising for meat, and used paste for them. One has a nick in his ear where the paste got on it; the next lost an eye when the paste ran; the third, we put only a tiny amount of paste on and it didn’t work at all. Do it right, and do it soon. My dad always cut off the horn buds at one month, with very little stress to the calf.

  37. Michelle says:

    Is just blunting/trimming the horns short not an option? I swear that I’ve seen cows with this sort of treatment before.

  38. Kay Bryan says:

    Oh, I hope you’ll leave the horns alone. If they get to long and pointy, you can always put tennis balls on them. Really, I would leave them be. And I love your blog!

  39. Julia says:

    I love poking around on your site. It is all very interesting. But sometimes it just raises more questions… What did you decide to do about Glory Bee’s horns? She doesn’t have any in her pictures. Did you use the paste or get an iron or call the vet or what?

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