Best Time? I bet some of the members are saying "at conception" .
Do not try to weight or slope too early. Horns are apt to turn too abruptly. If weighting I would say 9-12 months. Can do earlier if needed for show or sale. Just be more careful about leaving them on too long. Do not use too heavy of weights. Use lighter weights on lighter horns and heavier wts. on heavier horns that are up more. Take them off when horns are just past level. If cattle are older you might go just a bit farther. Once you create the curve growing horns will pretty well follow it.
We like the slope cutting method on our bulls. (most of our customers do too) Bulls go through the chute easier and far less broken horns from fighting.Also get it all done at once. We cut horns at 14-15 months of age. As with the weights you are better off being a little late rather than trying to do them too young. The more the horns are up and the heavier the horn the more horn you take off. You end up taking 1/4 to 1/3 of horn on high side. The more the horns are up the more you angle the cut (some people think angle does not matter but I believe in it). You cut more off the high side. Shorter side (when done) grows faster. That is how it works. You can also bring goat headed horns forward by cutting more off the back side with the same theory- short side grows more, turns forward. I suggest marking cut with magic marker before you turn animals head to get both cuts fairly similar. We pull animals head down and to the side then go around base of opposite horn and then then up and back to same side. Immobilizes them pretty well and also cuts off most of blood. We seer horn after cutting and blood loss is minimal.
Horn weights are available but have gotten pretty expensive.
3-4 year old cow can still be weighted, just takes longer and a heavier weight. Older than that I doubt it.
Thanks Jane, you don't have any pics of the process by any chance? Or can you take a few pics when you do it again please?
I'm usually also an advocate for taking them off at conception or birth, but I'm just easing myself back into the horned game and have to make a clear distinction between the horned herd and poll herd as I'll have a hard time selling horned bulls in my area and don't want to mess up my poll market by making the customer think its just a mixed match of genetics. So the plan is to leave the horns on the heifers, still contemplating what to do with the bulls.
Glen, if I remember correctly you did some horn shaping some time ago by cutting at an angle? How did that turn out or is it too early to tell?
Yes, cut less off the back side of the horn and if you want horns down more cut more horn off and make the top angle flatter. In other words make the short side shorter. Be careful not to over do it. They will look like a Jersey cow. We use a flat dehorning saw kind of similar to a miter saw. We use an electric seering iron with a slightly convex surface just a bit larger than a silver dollar that works really well. Helped a gentleman do some a couple and he used a saws-all which seemed to work well. Had a pretty coarse blade on it.
I use the angles Jane mentioned but instaed of a hand saw I use a Jet power dehorning saw, expesive but a lot easier on them and me. I take baling wire and twist it tight around the base of the head under the horns and it really cuts the blood flow like Jane does with her halter or rope. I run two electric cauterizing irons so I have a really fresh hot one for each horn, makes it go alot faster especially if you get a "pumper" I have used both L&H irons and Ram irons, I think the Ram irons reheat faster and hold their heat better as far as cauterizing irons go. Once everything is done I cut the baling wire and turn em out of the chute. We usually do it when the bulls are about 12 months old. the beran boys argue that they are better tipped at 15 months. I guess you just have to figure out what works best for you age wise however the old they get the harder the are to saw (at least I thought so back when i was still using a true hand-held dehorning saw to do it. Oh, any hiefers we leave with racks we wait until the are about 16-18 months old to do. don't know if this is right but seems we get a better slope then I as of yet I haven't knocked a pregnacy out of em diong it then.
the thing my guys tell me is they like the sloped horns better than the weighted ones, less issue with em getting hung up in bale feeders.however the thing the last couple of yearas I've had guys buy em who what em dehorned.
I used to dehorn em for em if I hadn't sloped yet, if I have they are out of luck, If they are tipped I wouldn't go back in and take em off, to much for the bull im my mind. that being said I made up my mind this year if they are horned I ain't dehorning one at yearling for them at all, they can either have their vet do it (and my bull warantee don't cover this-you screw him up diong it it's totally your baby) or pick one of the polled bulls
Last Edit: May 10, 2012 20:35:36 GMT -6 by bookcliff
oh the first one I ever did (20 some years ago) was a long yearling bull we bought back when we were still weighing em. he had a heavy rack, they hadn't done much on him and I didn't have heavy weights so I decided to slope him. had only heard about sloping , hadn't ever seen it done and neither did anyone I knew done it or seen it done. but we forged on. grabbed the tipping saw and fired up the branding pot and heated up a couple of dehorning irons
what a bloodly mess........................
got the angles wrong.......................
the horns swept just about every way but where I thought I was sending them.............................
out, down and FORWARD and CURLING UP AGAIN---looked like a set of elephant tuskes hanging off his head............................
needless to say I spent quite a bit of time quizing Rex before I did another one.
Last Edit: May 10, 2012 20:26:06 GMT -6 by bookcliff
When The Oklahoma Hereford Assn. had a range bull sale every year in Ardmore, there was a set of bulls one year that when they got ready to slope horns they decided the cut should be on the bottom side. The horns went up real nicely. Always wondered if that would work on roping steers?
Have pictures on website of tipping horns in spring of 2011. BEERYHEREFORDS.COM. Turned out fine but made a long bloody day with the sawsall. Not bad but still like the horn weights. Only reason why we cut them that year is our working corrals were so full on snow that couldn't keep shoveled out. One trip through with them but they also remember it.
I am buy no means an expert on horn weights, but here is a calf that I took the weights off after the picture was taken. 3/4 pound put on 10/15. He had moderate size horns that went out not up. I may leave them on a touch longer than some, try to avoid the wide spread as a mature bull--easier in alleys and chutes come semen evalution time.
This is a bull that had big horns and pointed up. Put 1lb weights on him. They will stay on a bit longer. The bull I posted in the "137y" thread also got 1lb weights but horns were shorter and not pointed up as much--they will be taken off any day.
This bull had small horns that were pointed up slightly. Put 1/2 lb weights on him. They will be staying on longer. I have plenty of horn weights and sizes so I try to match the type of horn to the weight I put on. Tried the slopping method and didn't care for it. Seemed to take forever for horns to come around. Actually had a customer make me go to his place and put weights on this summer on one I cut this spring. He just didn't think it was working. I warned him how they would turn out if I put weights on with the sloping--he insisted. By the way-thats not fun putting weights on a bull that has been tipped, good thing I took a variety of weights with me.
I personally prefer the look of weighted horns over tipped horns-just personal preference.
Hope this helps a little Harley, but like I said I am no expert. Some on here may tell me I am doing it all wrong, but maybe I'll learn something from them too.
Here he is a little over a year old. Weights (1 lb)put on in December and this picture is probably taken late march or early April. Left these on a little longer because I was keeping him to use myself.