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Equine

Calf Disbudding

We take immense pride in the efficient and quality manner that we disbud over 34,000 calves annually pain-free.

We offer calf disbudding under sedation and local anaesthetic from 2 weeks old; and through crates with local anaesthetic only, from 1 week old. To ensure the best results we prefer to disbud calves at <6 weeks of age; after this they are difficult to handle and the horn buds can be too big to cauterise easily.

Sedation

We sedate and disbud about 20,000 calves annually.

Calves need to be older then 2 weeks old to ensure it is safe to sedate them. They need to have had no milk, meal or grass for at least 4 hours before sedation to reduce the risk of regurgitation and bloating while they sleep. Due to the sedation slowing down gut movement, they also should not be given food for 4 hours after sedation.

A vet will come on farm to sedate and monitor the calves. Once sedated, local anaesthetic is used before the horns are removed, resulting in a better pain and stress free procedure than just local anaesthetic by itself.

The added value of using sedation is that our team can check for extra teats, and any ear tagging or DNA testing can be done once the team is finished while the calves sleep.

Local

We use local anaesthetic only on about 14,000 calves. This is harder work for our technician team as each calf has to be manhandled into the crate for the disbudding.

Our technician teams will inject the calves with local anaesthetic to block the nerves to the horns, so no pain is felt. Each calf is then put into a crate where the horns are burnt with a disbudding iron. There is no need for the removal of feed before and after disbudding with just local anaesthetic.

 

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