Tuesday, November 20, 2018

When and How to Disbud Dairy Calves

This short summary may be useful for training staff for disbudding dairy calves. It is short and available in printable format at this location: https://afs.ca.uky.edu/content/dairy-when-and-how-disbud-dairy-calves or click HERE.

Key points:
Disbud Dairy Cows graphic 1
Disbudding calves younger than 6 weeks old

Providing pain relief: anaesthetics and NSAIDs]

Take home messages:
  • Removing horn buds from a calf is much easier and less painful than removing the horn after it attaches to the skull.
  • Aim to disbud calves before 2 days of age with paste, or calves 1 to 6 weeks old with a hot-iron disbudder.
  • Always use sedatives, local anaesthetics, and NSAIDs when disbudding to improve animal welfare level.
  • Develop a sedation and a pain management protocol or a calf care SOP with your local veterinarian.
  • Consider using polled genetics.

Reference: DGrinter, Lori and Others, "When and how to disbud dairy calves." Kentucky Dairy Notes November, 2018.

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