How to do calf dehorning and deworming
Dehorning is an important stage of rearing calves. Dehorning of a calf can be carried out chemically, mechanically, electrically or through a surgical process. This procedure is also known as disbudding.
The process of dehorning yearlings and older animals is painful and causes copious bleeding. Hence, it is recommended that dehorning be done when calves are around 10 to 15 days old. It is also preferable that the surgical process be carried out when the climate is dry or is expected to be dry.
There are several methods of carrying out dehorning of calves. Most common are:
- Dehorning with paste: done by applying caustic paste
- Dehorning with a hot iron: done using a hot iron rod
Why should you do dehorning?
The practice of dehorning calves helps accommodate a larger number of animals in a smaller space; making them easy to handle. It also reduces the danger of injuries to the handler as well as other animals of the herd. However, there are some breeds like Kankrej horns where the horns serve as an important identification mark for the animals and they are, therefore, normally are not dehorned.
Which method to use?
Dehorning methods vary with the age of animal as well as the stage of horn development. Ideally, dehorning with caustic paste and hot-iron can only be used in calves under 2 months age, a period before the horns join themselves to the skull. Mechanical dehorning methods are usually used at all stages of development. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. Dairy farmers should consult their veterinarian before deciding on the appropriate dehorning method.
It is challenging to detect a worm infestation unless it has reached a later stage—by which time it will have caused irreparable damage. The ideal approach is deworming the herd and protecting them from any life-threatening diseases. Deworming of calves ensure a healthy herd and thereby ensuring that the farm flourishes.
Tapeworms, flukes, roundworms and other parasites destroy cattle. Every responsible dairy farmer must stay constantly alert for any symptoms of an infestation.
Types Deworming Plans
- Deworming against Liver Flukes: Administered twice a year
- Deworming against Round Worms: First dose administered at 10 days after birth. Then, thrice a year with a monthly interval of up to 6 months
- Deworming against Tape Worms: Dose administered twice a year, in the months of January and June.
Dairy cattle are be dewormed according to parameters such as age, sex and the environment they are bred in.
Adult cows will benefit the most when they are dewormed at freshening when they are fed on dry lot or kept in semi-confinement. Mature cows (that live in confinement) should be dewormed once every time they lactate, either in groups or individually at.
Dairy calves that are raised on pasture should be dewormed once a month after turning out to pasture and in late autumn.