We are awaiting another winter storm this weekend. Ho Hum. I keep reminding myself that I have a limited number of days to live on this earth, and I should not ruin even one day by worrying about a storm that may or may not happen. Nor should I ruin one day complaining about the snow, if it actually happens.
Well, this vet uses a dehorner that burns the area and kills the cells so that the horn drops off. This is NOT a procedure that is over with quickly. Cliff even had a hard time restraining one-month-old Jenny; in the picture he is holding six-month-old Gracie down.
To make matters worse, when we led him to the new calf we just purchased, he said he couldn't dehorn her until she was at least a month old.
"That's odd," I said to him. "We used to use dehorning paste on all the babies, and we did it as soon as we bought them at three days old."
"Really? Well then, this should work too, if that's the case."
So he spent about ten minutes burning her head in two spots. After he left, I told Cliff, "I don't even think he burned the right area."
"Oh yes," Cliff replied, "I'm sure he did."
As I was feeding Penny her bottle that evening, I felt for the horn buttons under her skin. Sure enough, they were outside the burned area.
Looking back, if I had been the vet I would have refused to do the job without a chute, charged for the farm visit, and rescheduled the whole mess.
A couple of days ago I bought a bottle of dehorning paste. From now on we will do the job ourselves like we used to. Trouble is, it's a painful procedure too. The hair around the horn button is shaved off, and then you cover the shaved area with the paste, which is an acid. It doesn't hurt long, but it is painful for a little while. So poor little Penny has to suffer twice. While I'm a little angry at the vet, obviously I should have asked which procedure he used, because then I would have had him bring the chute. Not that it would have helped Penny, since for some reason he couldn't tell which area to burn.
You may be wondering why we dehorn cattle: Well, they tend to use their horns to bully other cows, for one thing. And they are not worth nearly as much if you sell them, because nobody wants a cow with horns. One thing about it, the babies our Red Angus bull makes with our cows will be naturally polled, which means no horns.