Best Calf Dehorner (Reviews) 2023
There are many things that farmers and ranchers do that most people aren’t privy to knowing about. One of these things is calf dehorning.
Dehorning is done primarily on dairy farms to prevent self-injury of the calf, injuries to other herd mates, and injuries to the people working with the animals themselves. This makes calves in particular much easier to work with and makes them less dangerous to handle and transport. Additionally, this prevents the calves from causing injuries to udders, flanks, and the eyes of other cattle.
When you need the best calf dehorner to safely and humanely dehorn your cattle, you may be faced with a plethora of options that can be difficult to sift through. So we’ve made a list of the top 5 picks to choose from below.
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Top 5 Rated Comparison Table
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Reviews of the Best Calf Dehorners
This dehorner was designed by farmers and veterinary surgeons, so you can be certain that it is safe and humane to use. This dehorner works anywhere and any time, as there’s no cord to worry about having to find an outlet for - just charge it and refill it with lighter fluid and you’re good to go!
It’s best to use this dehorner on small groups of four or five calves that are between three and eight weeks of age. It’s a safe, sanitary way to dehorn these young calves and will help to control bleeding as well, which also helps to minimize the risks or chances of infection.
- Perfect for dehorning calves between three and eight weeks old
- Kills horn growth and helps to control bleeding via cauterization
- Minimizes the chances of infection
- Can be used anywhere and refills with standard butane lighter fluid
Next on our list is an electric dehorner from Rhinehart. The X-30 is a great electric dehorner for smaller calves and kids - the goat kind, obviously! It plugs into a 110-volt AC outlet using a 3three-wire grounded cord, so you don’t have to worry about it shorting out.
This dehorner features a solid copper tip, and while you can get different sizes, you will have to order the whole dehorner, as the tips are fixed and cannot be changed out or used interchangeably.
- Has automatic heat control that maintains heat at about 1000 degrees
- Easy to use
- Leaves no open wound and no or minimal blood loss
- Great for small calves and goat kids
- Powered by a 110-volt AC through a three-wire grounded cord
The Ideal Instruments Electric Dehorner for Cattle is a fantastic tool that will get you your desired results with ease and simplicity. While you may still want to have two people around during operation, that’s more to ensure that your calf doesn’t thrash around and cause itself or you any accidental injury.
This dehorner will work with either an AC or DC connection at 110 volts, so there are some connection options available. The inner diameter of this dehorner is an inch and is great for cattle that are under a year old.
- Operates on 110-volts, either AC or DC
- Great for dehorning calves, young cattle, and goats
- Has a one-inch inner diameter
- Easy to use and painless for your calf or young goat
- Made in the USA
- Maybe not as good in terms of quality as the other picks
This dehorner uses a unique pistol style to keep your hands from feeling any of the excessive heat that it generates, but if you have a tendency to let your fingers wander you may want to use gloves with this unit anyway.
The Vet-Farm Electric Dehorner can be used on calves and goats without having to worry about any blood loss. It comes with two interchangeable copper tips in different sizes so that you can dehorn all of your calves.
- Dehorns young calves and goats without any blood loss
- Unique pistol L-shape keeps the handle of this dehorner cool
- Comes with two interchangeable copper tips in 1-inch and ¾-inch sizes
- Gets to an optimal temperature within three to five minutes of being plugged in
- May heat up too much for a new user’s comfort level, so it’s best to keep that in mind
This is another great dehorner from Rhinehart and appears to be the ½-inch substitute for the X-30 listed above. It’s sure to dehorn your calves and goats without leaving any open wound or causing any unnecessary blood loss, making your job that much easier.
It maintains a temperature between 900 and 950 degrees and after each use, it has a fast recovery time that means you’ll be able to move onto the next horn or next calf.
- Leaves no open wound and prevents blood loss during dehorning
- Maintains a steady, effective temperature between 900 and 950 degrees
- Recovers between different applications within seconds, meaning you’ll be able to work easily and quickly
- Works great on several goat and calf breeds
- Perforated housing keeps the handle cool for use
A Dehorner for Calves Buying Considerations
When dehorning your calves or goats, it’s important to pick the right tool for the job, as choosing the wrong one can be dangerous or even fatal to the young animals. You should consider both the dehorner type as well as the age of the calf being dehorned.
There are many ways that you can dehorn your calves and cattle, and some are easier than others while some are more effective depending on your capabilities and how much labor you’re willing to put into the practice.
Gas dehorners typically use propane and ignition to dehorn your calves and cattle. These can be convenient in how quickly and efficiently they work, but you will have to keep a supply of or purchase and refill the propane canisters used for these types of dehorners.
Electric Dehorners and Dehorning Irons
These are mostly the dehorners that we reviewed in this article. Dehorning irons, or electric dehorners, do not result in open, raw wounds when used. Instead, the hot iron is placed over the horn bud and surrounding tissue. You’ll then have to twist it a few times. What this technique and tools do is ensure that the blood supply to the horn will be seared off and that the bud area will die and drop off naturally.
Dehorning knives feature a curved blade that is relatively easy to use. The procedure, when done properly, is very quick and shows promising results with no regrowth. The knife must be kept impeccably sharp, because cutting through a horn with a dull knife is not only troublesome for you, but can also injure the calf or cause it discomfort.
Guillotine dehorners, surgical wire, horn saws, and tippers are all used on adult cattle that have larger horn growths. These should only be used for tipping purposes, not to completely dehorn the animal in question. You should also remain aware of your local and state laws regarding dehorning and tipping cattle that are older than one year, as it is illegal in some places.
Cup or Scoop
Scoop dehorners need to be positioned vertically down over the horn and pushing the handles out. This closes the scoop and scoops out the horn. To use these dehorners, you need to ensure that the head of the animal is firmly and totally secured. Make sure that the scoop dehorner is the right size for use on your cattle because on that is too large can leave a hole in your cow’s head.
The cup dehorners are for larger cattle that are too big for the dehorning knife, iron, or scoop. It works similarly to the scoop dehorner and is usable on calves up to a year of age. You’ll need to take a complete ring of skin from around the horn base with this dehorner.
Age of the Calf
When you go to dehorn a calf, one of the most important things to consider besides the health of the calf is the age. The age of the calf and the size of its horns will help you to determine what dehorning tool is best used on it.
Additionally, the younger the calf is, the better and less painful it will be for the animal, and the job will be much easier for you as well. This is in part because the smaller and younger the animal, the easier it is to restrain and control.
It’s not recommended to dehorn any cattle over a year old, or any younger than two weeks. Particularly in older cattle, dehorning is a stressful, painful task that is time-consuming and may increase the likelihood of sustaining injuries or developing infections in the wound.
The Final Word
Dehorning is an important practice when you’re keeping cattle and even goats, whose horns can hurt themselves, their herd mates, and you if you aren’t careful. That’s why having the best calf dehorner is important. We hope our reviews and purchase considerations were helpful to you for all of your dehorning needs.