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TOPIC: Do all jersey cows have horns...

Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:02 #24909

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Are all jersey calves born with horns or are some naturally polled? If a heifer calf has horns and you intend to have her as a house cow, is it best to have her de-horned, or is it personal preference?
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:07 #350510

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My dad used to have a Jersey stud farm up north ... all ours had horns ( or had been de-horned, or from memory i think they used to put some sort of paste on calves horn buds)
I remember having to help get yearlings in to yards to get them de-horned.
a lot of our milkers had horns, so i guess its just a personal thing if you rather de-horn your house cow
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:14 #350512

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Yep, all Jerseys have horns. The only exception is if it is a crossbreed, and the other half is a polled animal, as the poll gene is dominant.

I would suggest debudding as a calf, or if already grown then dehorn, but it is a personal preference.
Do something.

Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

'Ted Turner'
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:30 #350517

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Doesn't Althea breed polled Jerseys?
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:33 #350520

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Yup, she does :D
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 20:49 #350527

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Hmmm, seems as though you are right - a quick bit of research says Jerseys have had a polled strain developed (infact seems to be predominantly in NZ!) so there ya go...I learnt something new today :)
Do something.

Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

'Ted Turner'
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 21:45 #350539

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I think there is also a strain of polled guernsey which are quite like jersey, and then of course there is a red poll that is a milking cow. If you ever plan to tether your milker, then you can also get the horns cut with a stump left. Very handy for tethering or leading and much kinder than tethering from the neck.
Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 10 Oct 2010 23:00 #350550

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Highgirl, for the purposes of everyday living, yes, the Jersey comes horned. Polled can be found but they are not thick on the ground. Whether you choose to keep the horns is completely up to you. All the cows that I have reared have their horns and that's the way I like it and I don't have any problems with them. The cows are aware that they have horns, I'm aware that they have horns and we move accordingly so there have been no accidents. Nor are there any issues with the couple of cows that don't have horns being bullied by those that do.
Stikkibeek;340239 wrote: If you ever plan to tether your milker, then you can also get the horns cut with a stump left. Very handy for tethering or leading and much kinder than tethering from the neck.

Stikkibeek, tether by the horns is something I hate to see. The horn area is actually very sensitive. My cows will put their head down for me to scratch the dent in the middle of the boss where dust and dirt collects but as soon as I go to rub around the bottom of the horn they pull their head back out of reach. When I get really mean with a recalcirant cow, a shart tap on the horn with a stick gets immediate reaction - they pull their head back and do what they know they should be doing. Frankly, tether by horns or neck are not good options, halter training or hobbling are better.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 07:54 #350567

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If you're going to run your cow with your goats, I would strongly recommend getting her disbudded assuming you're starting with a calf). Even when they're just goofing around, pointy cows' horns can cause some serious damage, and heifers are capable of some serious hooning, and some never outgrow it, especially when they're on heat. Heavily pregnant does don't move as fast as they can, and young kids can easily get underfoot.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 09:01 #350576

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I try to stay clear of discussions about "To de-horn or not de-horn". Way too religious! [:0] We never de-horned anything and still survive! Including all animals. But we might be forced to de-horn our beef calves because the system asks us to do it. On the other side I feel like a greedy bastard for who money is more important than animal welfare (some might even argue the welfare bit!) because I believe you can still send horned animals to the works (or sales) but get less money for them, correct?

But then, cramming dozens of steers with horns into a cattle truck doesn't sound too appealing to me either! [xx(]

So much for staying clear.[;)]

Cheers

Peter

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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 09:37 #350587

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I can live with horned goats if they are tame although I have been accidentally poked by them occaisionally. Our ram was dehorned before we got him but the horns grew back into little blunt stumpys which are less of a danger to us and to the other animals. I do not like horned cattle as I have seen the damage they can do to one another. Our Jersey cow was dehorned as a calf and we will continue to use polled bulls.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 10:13 #350596

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I should add that most of our goats are horned, though the ones we reg and show must be disbudded, so they are. They all get along well, and the only 2 deliberate injuries inflicted by goats upon my person have been by NON-horned goats, and it really hurt!!! The goats tend not to use their horns on the cattle (we have 3 calves who've just been introduced to the goat herd) and the cows we've had have had no horns, but the way the head goes down and swings when they're being stroppy or even when they're just playing, you can just see where pointy horn would be planted if they had them. I too prefer not to remove horns where I don't have to, and wish I didn't have to for showing goats (yes, I know, I don't have to show goats, but it's something I really enjoy, and have learned heaps by doing so), but most judges have such a prejudice against horns, that even the few horned goats I've shown in Unreg classes have really got me a telling off.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 10:19 #350598

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Our first experience with cattle was a bunch of 10 'fruit salad' yearling x bred beefies, some black and some red with assorted white or speckled faces-with and without horns.
The 6 heifers all produced calves,unassisted) much to our suprise, and about four grew horns. On finding our sons pet lamb dead one morning, with a neat round bloody hole in its side, we vowed never to get cattle with horns again!

That was 33 years ago and the following year our love affair with Murray Greys (polled!) began.

Peter I have heard that works will accept horned animals if they don't project beyond the ears. I pity all those Highland people (and their cattle)who have to get the horns removed before they go off to the works as some just do not accept horned animals. Depends where you live.
Sue
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 11:02 #350613

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We were going to leave ours with horns until one day a friendly head nudge with a horn caught me in the groin. Had them dehorned later. Now we feel every calf head, and if there are buds there they get the paste.
Eddie
Invercargill [8D]
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 14:06 #350664

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If the cows have to be moved, either walking or in a truck, or are in a confined space like the yards there is lots of risk that they will spike each other. It's a lot less painful to your pocket to get the dehorning done young than have to stitch up another cow or other animal (or human) .... if it lives.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 22:41 #350733

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Ronney;340252 wrote:

Stikkibeek, tether by the horns is something I hate to see. The horn area is actually very sensitive. My cows will put their head down for me to scratch the dent in the middle of the boss where dust and dirt collects but as soon as I go to rub around the bottom of the horn they pull their head back out of reach. When I get really mean with a recalcirant cow, a shart tap on the horn with a stick gets immediate reaction - they pull their head back and do what they know they should be doing. Frankly, tether by horns or neck are not good options, halter training or hobbling are better.

Cheers,
Ronnie
Not tethering by the horns Ronnie, tethering by the stumps. If cut this way, when they heal, they are strong and set once the beast is older, and you use a proper tethering strap, which normally has felt stitched to the inner side.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 11 Oct 2010 23:50 #350739

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Mmm, I'll take your word for it Stikki but I'll just continue to call mine and let them wander around after me, and open and shut gates to keep them where they should be. :)

As for the rest of it, I think perhaps things should be kept in perspective. Highgirl is talking about one housecow not a herd of 500 and nor will she be sending 250 horned cattle to the works on a truck on an annual basis. And one horned cow in the yards is unlikely to turn the world upside down. :p

In the days when I used a cross-bred horned bull, the works accepted whatever animals I sent to them no matter what their horn span was. If cattle are loaded into a truck in sufficient numbers (and these numbers should be so that they support one another and haven't the room to move around and fall over in transport) the heads are up and they are unlikely to be in a position to horn each other. I now use an Angus bull but not because they are polled. I find them easy to handle, they are easy calving and take out some of the cross-bred in calves from cross-bred cows. The fact that they are polled comes at the bottom of the list of attributes. I'm not saying that everybody should leave horns on, that is a personal choice, what I am saying is don't make mountains out of molehills. There are probably, proportionately, more injuries to humans and other stock from being kicked and stood on than there are from horns.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 12 Oct 2010 16:33 #350827

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We're breeding polled Dexter simply because I hate dehorning and the polling option is available. So why not. A lot of people ask for polled animals because life is just easier that way. The argy bargy between heifers and across the age gaps in our herd, are way less serious than if horns were involved. I have also seen horn damage on a couple of occasions, both in NZ and in the confined space of a Danish milking herd (they're kept indoors) and its a horrible mess. Yes it might never happen, but why risk it? Also, people have been killed by horned bulls, so it is an issue to consider carefully.

Ask your vet for advice on various methods available. We get any horned calves dehorned, while the vet is on the property doing the pregnancy testing of our cows. Last year there was only one calf to be dehorned. Which was good.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Oct 2010 14:08 #350949

Yes. I am breeding purebred, registered polled jerseys. I am also changing my herd to A2A2. I think I am the only one in the world breeding Polled A2A2 Jersey cows. I have imported semen from Canada to use this year and I have semen stored from a polled bull I owned a few years ago. He was by the well known Danish bull, Fyn Lemvig. It's bliss not having horns and it is just one more nasty job you don't have to do. My commercial herd is in Stratford and I raise the bulls here at Middelmost.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Oct 2010 17:16 #350985

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Sue;340302 wrote:
Peter I have heard that works will accept horned animals if they don't project beyond the ears. I pity all those Highland people (and their cattle)who have to get the horns removed before they go off to the works as some just do not accept horned animals. Depends where you live.
Hi Sue, we breed Highland Cattle, and it's proofing to be a pain in the backside to sell them. there's works in Wanganui that take horned cattle, no more then 70cm span though. Unfortunately, there's also mounting hysteria amongst some people about the 'dangerousness' of horned cattle. utter nonsense, but it does make it hard even to sell the weaners.
we have decided to bring in a polled bull for our girls and go crossbred for a couple of years, then see how we go.
[;)] Blueberry
treading lightly on mother earth
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Oct 2010 17:28 #350990

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Blueberry;340727 wrote: Hi Sue, we breed Highland Cattle, and it's proofing to be a pain in the backside to sell them. there's works in Wanganui that take horned cattle, no more then 70cm span though. Unfortunately, there's also mounting hysteria amongst some people about the 'dangerousness' of horned cattle. utter nonsense, but it does make it hard even to sell the weaners.
we have decided to bring in a polled bull for our girls and go crossbred for a couple of years, then see how we go.
So sad! Just shows that "the system" is not set up to cater for nature. And then humans start to adjust nature to the system. [xx(]

Cheers

Peter

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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Oct 2010 18:48 #351007

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Hi Blueberry, there are a few Highland breeders on here! I know quite a few through the show circuit too, as well as a couple who are breeding Hummels-the polled variety! Yes, I had talked to a Wanganui breeder who gets ther Highlands killed there, without having to dehorn them first!

Peter, I'm not sure what you mean about humans adjusting nature to suit! Polledness is actually dominant to horns, so is very natural, just that some breeds have never bothered to add it to their attributes, it is not like it is artificial!

Also sorry, but I know of two Highland breeders who were seriously injured by their "harmless, docile cows with horns" so the danger of working in close proximity to horns is always there!
Sue
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Oct 2010 23:20 #351045

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Only time I have had a problem is with a gentle loving bull with short horns that just came up to me and rubbed his head on my back :) problem was one of his horns ran up my back and made me bleed and was very sore and brused, so the warning many years ago by an English vet came to mind if they have horns they can hurt you real bad and if they are quiet there is even more of a chance they will
Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 01:23 #351052

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Perhaps people who don't like horns, are frightened of them and are too dumb to keep their distance from them should just stay away from any cattle with horns - that will solve the problem for them. I don't have a problem with horns and it was Isla who made the suggestion that becaused I was used to working with horned cattle I subconsiously had developed a strategy where I made allowances for the horns when working with them. So I took note of what I did when milking keeping in mind that I work in close proximaty to them and my cowshed is not large. I decided she was probably right - I did make allowances but what was more interesting, so did they.

While polledness may be a dominant gene, it is far from being a dominant factor and most breeds available in this country come with horns and to that end I understand what Peter is saying. So, it doesn't have to be wrong to leave horns on your stock but if you do, be aware that they are there. Horns are as natural as polled, that's how your particular breed comes, what you do about it is up to you.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 07:11 #351056

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Those are some interesting observations, Ronney, and probably what I have unconsciously done over the years with my mostly horned goat herd, especially the bucks, some of whom have some pretty amazing horn spreads. And I have casually observed that the goats are mostly quite aware of where their horns are with regard to us humans.

Polledness in goats is pretty much a rarity compared to cattle, and it comes with the risk of genetic defect...
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 08:22 #351060

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Ronney, what you (and Isla) say about making allowance for the horns while you work with the animals is probably very true indeed. I know from personal experience!

Last year at a Show I was asked to present the Supreme Champion ribbon to the Lifestyle breeds Champion, which happened to be a Highland cow with a magnificent set of upstanding horns.

I myself work closely with quite large animals, probably a lot closer than even some of you on here milking cows! The sheer efforts of washing grooming, clipping,(try standing almost on your head clipping a cow or bull's belly, brisket and udder with a whirring set of shears in your hand!) putting halters on and off whilst at a show, tying up, leading, putting in nose clips in females and clips into bulls nose rings, cleaning out ears, wiping eyes-the list goes on and on. ;-)

Even so, when I went to put the ribbon around the Highland cows neck she caught my arm with her horn as she moved her head, and I went into the action, knowing full well she had these pointy things very close to my face and arms-so I'm sure folks who work full time with cows with horns stay further away from them, than those of us with polled animals!
Sue
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 08:58 #351063

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Sue;340749 wrote: Hi Blueberry, there are a few Highland breeders on here! I know quite a few through the show circuit too, as well as a couple who are breeding Hummels-the polled variety! Yes, I had talked to a Wanganui breeder who gets ther Highlands killed there, without having to dehorn them first!

Peter, I'm not sure what you mean about humans adjusting nature to suit! Polledness is actually dominant to horns, so is very natural, just that some breeds have never bothered to add it to their attributes, it is not like it is artificial!

Also sorry, but I know of two Highland breeders who were seriously injured by their "harmless, docile cows with horns" so the danger of working in close proximity to horns is always there!
Sorry Sue, no need to defend polled animal breeding. It was my fault I should have been more specific. I was more referring to the - to my personal opinion!!!! - unnecessary and often painful de-horning practices. But to be honest, having goats for some time now I am more referring to goats than cattle. We just started with beef and we also do see the need?, necessity? arguments? for de-horning cattle if they need to be loaded on trucks and go through yards for sale etc. I do understand that. But I don't understand the need to de-horn every single house cow in the country only because of the horror stories people tell. And yes,everybody seems to know someone who's brother had a friend who almost got killed by horns.

But it is worse with Goats! Absolutely no need to de-horn goats! On top of this, it is even causing more problems than it helps. Goats fight with each others. That's a fact. They have a ranking order in the herd and like all animals with a pecking order they peck and get pecked. Most people think the horns are only a weapon to kill other goats. Goats rarely kill each other! Even the wild ones. But the horns have another most important function, they act as a "shock absorber". I have seen many de-horned goats with blood running down their faces from open stumps. Stumps which opened up years after they were de-horned. The force of two heads crashing against each others is quite big. Without horns this force goes right into the skull.

The other argument I personally have against de-horning is that the stumps often seem to start growing again. Again, my experience is mainly from Goats. And this causes all sort of issues because the stumps do not usually grow into nicely shaped horns but start curling and often grow towards the skull again. We had several occasions where the vet had to cut off horn stumps with a wiresaw. Not a pleasant task and it requires anesthesia.

But don't get me wrong, who am I to tell people what to do. This is purely my opinion I formed based on 7 years of having animals. We try to farm as natural as possible. Yes we do rubber ring tails. Not natural at all. But we learned it the hard way that it is necessary in some instances. On the other side I believe if you would try (!!!) to adjust your farming practices you might be able to do away with a lot of things we do.

To me farming is always an unnatural process. Same as having pets. Or breeding plants etc. I think people should be aware of this. But I also think that people can choose to farm as natural as possible. We humans make use of natural occurring characteristics we find in animals and plants. And if it works in a farming situation then it is beneficial to breed along this line. But even this practice can have its problems. Some characteristics might weaken an animal in the wild and they would basically die out. I would imagine that in a wild herd of buffalos the polled ones might not stand a chance to breed.

The problems I see is if humans breed characteristics into animals which are actually negative to these animals. Look at Angora goats. Not sure if this is still the case but if you want to get a ribbon at a show when we were farming Angoras you needed to have an animal with a fully covered face and fibre right down to the ground. So many breeders are selecting their animals and breed along these requirements. They then need to put fancy little hair clips in the facial fibre to keep it out of their eyes (eye infections!) so that the goat can actually see where their food is! "But they look soo cute with these hair clips!" And don't get me started with fibre right down to the ground which stays wet, clumps up with mud and the animal gets foot rot and scald.

But I digress. And I wrote too many words for someone who didn't want to get into this discussion. ;)

Cheers

Peter

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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 13:49 #351119

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Ronney I've been around horned cattle most of my life farming and am very careful but it only take one mistake we dont de horn ours unless they start to use on other stock
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Oct 2010 15:44 #351138

Polled jerseys sound quite nice, our old girl here can open some of the gate latches with her horns!
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 17 Oct 2010 10:23 #351508

Polled or dehorned here all the way- I have three little children and while they are all very good about keeping their distance it would only take one time for something devastating to happen.

When Austin was 2yo, we were in the paddock and Jezabelle a first time calver and her new calf were there too, the calf came up to Austin and sniffed him, Jez took exception to this and rushed over and bunted him. He flew about 2m and I was very lucky he was just surprised/shocked/winded and that we were in the boggy part of the paddock and his landing was soft.

If she had horns he could be dead. My kids are way more precious than a leaving the calves with horns.
Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 18 Oct 2010 13:48 #351763

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Wow...that's scary! Yes I tend to be very wary about where my 2yr old is in relation to where the cows are because one stomp in the wrong place and it would be all over. To much of a risk...it's funny though (well not funny I s'pose) but my older 13yr old son is even more paranoid about Phoebe being round the cows than me, he really panics if I'm not holding her hand - brotherly love and protection, what more could you ask for [;)]

I have two highland yearlings and their horns are developing nicely, but now OH is starting to question the viability of keeping them due to this :( I love them but I must admit a highland horn in the wrong place doesn't sound good [:0]
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 19 Oct 2010 08:55 #351908

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Whack the horns off them now, HG, before it's too late.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 19 Oct 2010 09:17 #351916

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Thanks to Althea of Middlemost's breeding plan, our newest baby (son of Little Miss Gentle, a Jersey) appears to be polled - yay. His mum most definitely is polled
1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees

www.martinboroughmanner.co.nz
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 19 Oct 2010 23:45 #352047

wonderful I can highly recommend Althea's moo's she is one top lady and knows her stuff with her girls
Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 20 Oct 2010 16:39 #352176

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My jersey bulls have all had horns but i usually burn them off before they are weaned. this saves trouble when bulls are being transported and when they bunt each other. calves are better dehorned before weaned than cut off at a later date.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 20 Oct 2010 23:30 #352251

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Jen - Featherston;341308 wrote: When Austin was 2yo, we were in the paddock and Jezabelle a first time calver and her new calf were there too, the calf came up to Austin and sniffed him, Jez took exception to this and rushed over and bunted him. He flew about 2m and I was very lucky he was just surprised/shocked/winded and that we were in the boggy part of the paddock and his landing was soft.

Nobody else is going to point out the obvious with this so I will. Jen, with all due respect, this has nothing to do with whether your cow was polled or horned but one hell of a lot with good stockmanship. Your cow could very easily have killed or badly injured your son irrespetive of whether it had horns or not. One never takes children or dogs into a paddock where there is a newly calved cow. The only person who should enter that paddock is the one who does the stock handling and even they should be wary.

Newly calved cows hate little things and my normally laid back cows have gone the duck, goose, dogs, pet sheep and even the Pukes, immediately after calving and these are all things that make up their everyday life.

Please people, keep your children away from newly calved cows no matter how sublime she may be for the rest of the time.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 21 Oct 2010 12:57 #352293

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Ronney so very true at calving time on dairy farm all we had was tractor and tray to pick up calves and I along with others have stood at front of it while cows have go around tray.
Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 22 Oct 2010 14:38 #352455

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Very, very true. When my latest calf was just born, I was in the paddock, very close to the action which was all ok with the cows, but then my dog decided to come on it. The heifer that had calved on Sunday saw Claire and gave her a chase off, but didn't just stop at the normal "get out of my space" kind of chase and for a moment I really feared for Claires' life. I was busy screaming at Claire to get out and the heifer was trying to ram her out and poor Claire couldn't move fast enough...hence she wouldn't come out of my bedroom for a long while after that! Nice though that the heifer was very protective over the new calf as well as her own :) and that they trust me, but still stand and watch closely at what I'm doing.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 22 Oct 2010 23:06 #352531

Ronney;342130 wrote: Nobody else is going to point out the obvious with this so I will. Jen, with all due respect, this has nothing to do with whether your cow was polled or horned but one hell of a lot with good stockmanship. Your cow could very easily have killed or badly injured your son irrespetive of whether it had horns or not. One never takes children or dogs into a paddock where there is a newly calved cow. The only person who should enter that paddock is the one who does the stock handling and even they should be wary.

Newly calved cows hate little things and my normally laid back cows have gone the duck, goose, dogs, pet sheep and even the Pukes, immediately after calving and these are all things that make up their everyday life.

Please people, keep your children away from newly calved cows no matter how sublime she may be for the rest of the time.

Cheers,
Ronnie
ABSOLUTELY - being a city girl, and only having cows(Little Miss Bossy Boots and Little Miss Sweet Pea) that were awesome with me and Paul and Charlie we really did take for granted that not all cows are this easy going, and it did terrify me. The children don't go into the paddocks at all with newly caved cows now, and when the do at other times of the year they stay with me and are constantly being told to look where the stock are. I still maintain that we were very lucky (regardless) but even more so that she did not have horns!
Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Feb 2011 14:13 #366344

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Hi,
natually polled is unusual in Jersey Cows. In the USA, .16% of registrations of jersey cattle each are polled. This is the largest percentage in any US dairy breed. Althea bought her polled Lemvig son from me as a calf. We have been breeding polled Jerseys since 1926, when my grandfather bought a polled jersey heifer calf from his neighbour.

This last year we had a polled bull tested by the Merial Igentiy TM poled/horned test & found he was homozygous polled. He is also A2A2. The exciting thing for us is that the test works on our NZ bred lines, but was develpoed using the US bred polled Jerseys (our cattle have same genetic source as the US polled Jerseys). The test is breed specific for Jerseys, the polled gene has a different chromosome location than for Holstein/Friesians or beef breeds.

Polled is dominant to horned, so a homozygous polled cow or bull will leave all it's calves polled regardless of what the geneotype of its mate is.

Scurs is a different gene than polled, scurs move in the horn socket & can be knocked or broken off. Scurs can only grow on polled cattle. The Scur gene is a sex-linked gene, so on a bull it only needs one copy to appear scured but on a cow it needs 2 copies of the gene to express its presence.

We are commercial dairy farmers, we believe that all dairy cattle should be naturally polled. All house cows & cattle on small blocks should be polled or dehorned.

Polled cattle are the humane choice & the future is polled!

best wishes & good luck to everyone breeding polled cattle of any breed.

Bruce Cameron
Ardachie Polled Jerseys
The humane choice
The future is polled!
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Feb 2011 21:45 #366393

  • Sue
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Welcome to the forum Bruce-I'm sure your input will be useful to all us cattle folks-especially those of us with naturally polled ones ;-)
Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Feb 2011 23:16 #366401

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ardachie;357593 wrote: Scurs is a different gene than polled, scurs move in the horn socket & can be knocked or broken off. Scurs can only grow on polled cattle. The Scur gene is a sex-linked gene, so on a bull it only needs one copy to appear scured but on a cow it needs 2 copies of the gene to express its presence.
Welcome Bruce. :)

I've been interested in scurs for some time, as a breeder of pedigree Angus cattle I was concerned to discover scurs in some early cross-bred calves sired by a pedigree bull. The sex-linked nature of the gene explained them and life went on.

Recently though I discovered scurs on a heifer whose sire was a registered pedigree Angus bull, smooth polled as he is supposed to be. Theoretically, if he carried scurs, he should show them. Theoretically she shouldn't have them because her sire wouldn't be a carrier.

But the latest thinking I have read is that scurs appear only when the polled animal is a heterozygote (one horned, one polled gene, for those who aren't so familiar with the topic). It is quite possible that a homozygous polled bull could carry a scur gene without having scurs. In fact if a heifer must have two copies, I would say a smooth polled homozygous polled bull can most certainly carry a scur gene, or my heifer wouldn't have them. She is very likely heterozygous horned/polled.

I look forward to the development of the genetic tests for these traits in Angus cattle, so we can discover if our observations have correctly predicted the genetics.

How many cases of scurs do you see in your polled cattle?
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 13 Feb 2011 23:53 #366405

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ardachie;357593 wrote: We are commercial dairy farmers, we believe that all dairy cattle should be naturally polled. All house cows & cattle on small blocks should be polled or dehorned.

Polled cattle are the humane choice & the future is polled!

Hi Bruce and welcome to the site :)

However, I suspect we're not going to get off to a good start. How can all dairy cattle be "naturally" polled when they come naturally horned? The only way you are going to achieve this is by playing around with their genetics - something that would not happen in nature.

As for all house cows and cattle on small block being polled or dehorned, I come into the small block category. All my cows bar two have their horns. Of the two that don't, one was bought in already dehorned, the other lost hers in transit as a yearling and as they grew back in they were obviously going to cause problems (to her, not me) and I had them taken off. I use a polled bull (Angus) as a terminal sire, not because I want polled calves but because the Angus is a good cross over the Jersey. The fact that they are polled is a bonus, not a prerequisate.(sp?)

Humane? Well, I don't see where that comes into the equation when a smallholder is dealing with one house cow. I have 9 of them and have yet to see torn and bloody hides.

Keeping polled or horned cattle is a personal choice, not a mandate handed down by those who think that polled is the way of the future. Perhaps if people learnt a little more stock sense, horns wouldn't be such a problem in the stand-alone housecow.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Feb 2011 07:22 #366408

  • Ruth
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Ronney;357659 wrote: ...Perhaps if people learnt a little more stock sense, horns wouldn't be such a problem in the stand-alone housecow...
But, as you and I have often discussed, therein lies one of the problems with many small block newcomers. They may have no experience and we all know how attractive people find tiny Jersey calves with their beautiful eyes (and eyelashes [;)]). Or they buy them simply because they're cheaper than other stock. The number of horned Jersey bulls wandering small blocks must be quite frightening, simply because nothing has been done about any of their extra growths and appendages.

A polled cow, if she waves her head and catches you either by accident or on purpose, will do far less damage than a horned one if she catches you with a sharp point.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Feb 2011 11:10 #366425

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Quite right Ruth. In my view it is the people with little or no experience and no stock sense who are most likely to have one or two cattle and put themselves and others at risk. Even a friendly cow can give a person a big bunt just out of playfulness sometimes.
As for buying Jersey cows because they are cheaper than other dairy breeds I couldn't say one way or the other on that one. We bought our Jersey cow because of the smaller animal size and the high butter fat test in the Jersey milk as compared to other dairy breeds. Growing up with a Jersey herd makes me biased of course.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Feb 2011 11:37 #366427

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There is a timely report in this weeks Farmers Weekly free newspaper, headed Horned cattle causing headaches-and bruising

It states that horned cattle are making a comeback to saleyards, costing farmers and the meat industry in bruised beef and damaged hides.

It suggests that the increase is influenced by the dairy breeds and proliferation of lifestyle blocks around cities. Suggesting that vendors of large numbers either dehorn or use poll cattle breeds whereas the lifestyle block vendors avoid slaughter surcharges or vet costs of dehorning larger animals by sending them to the saleyards. These horned animals may be bought at discount rates by traders, kept for a month and dehorned and then sent for slaughter.

Mixed pens of polled and horned animals can bring the overall return down due to the downgrading of bruised hind quarters, which can be downgraded from a third to half of their real worth.

On the subject of polled sires used in the dairy industry it mentions that Polled AI sires tend to have a lower breeding worth index (dairy performance) partly because there are not enough of them to exert selection pressure and partly because the issue of debudding horned calves on large farms is dealt with cheaply and easily.

So it boils down to the statement, "more horned cattle going through the saleyards is blamed on cattle of dairy origin and the smaller farmers who cannot or will not dehorn."
Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Feb 2011 11:44 #366428

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My price reference was to those calves sold for "beef" rearing, and generally anything with Jersey in it will be cheaper because of the likely mature size and muscling of the animal.

Next door to us lives a frightening looking creature, a Jersey cross bull with ever-growing horns. It tramps up and down our whole boundary with that neighbour, making grazing management quite tricky. I don't want to leave my lovely young heifers near him, just in case he has a go at the fence, and when I needed to have the mating mob in that paddock, I double electric-taped the fenceline for peace of mind. There is no reason for that property to have a bull, other than that nobody did anything to stop him being one. In my view he poses a very real danger of injury to somebody sometime. I hope he never tries the fences - to provide the best deterrent we can, we've hot-wired along the tops of the fences and gates - because if he ends up on this side, I won't risk personal safety by herding him, it'll be a stick with a trigger I apply.

I suspect this animal and his paddock-mates were very likely chosen on price, because they have nothing else to recommend them in this context.
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 14 Feb 2011 16:21 #366459

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Hi everyone,
looks like this topic is reactivated!

Most dairy breeds do have naturally polled animals, only in very small numbers. The dairy breed with the largest percentage of polled dairy cattle is the Norwegian Red composite breed, which will be predominately polled in the next 20 or so years. There are polled Holstein/Freisians, originating mainly bred from the Burkett Falls Herd from the USA. In NZ the Charlton family in Dannevirke & the Costa family in the Kaimais have polled Holstein/Freisians. Polled is a natural occuring gene, just it's frequency is very small so breeding polled animals in the main dairy breeds will take time & dedication & most importantly homozygous polled bulls and AI companies & breed societies to take a 25 year plan to make it happen (this I think is unlikely).

Look up the web site, www.polleddairycows.com to see some of the breeding work being done with polled dairy cattle.

On the issue of scurs, we would have perhaps 5% scurs on our cows, I probably need to do a count, but more like 20% on the polled bulls(although we only keep a few polled bulls each year so it isn't a very good sampling pool!)

The slogans "The humane choice & the future's polled!" are my vision statements about where I personally believe the breeding of dairy cattle should go & why. Obviously I am in the minority, I managed to sell 70 straws of polled semen, from a couple of our bulls semen marketed by CRVAmbreed this last year, so we have a long way to go to change the world! I imagined that the organic dairy farmers might be interested in polled cattle, but only Jamie at Biofarm in Palmy N has shown much interest in polled dairy cattle.

If you could ask a calf "would you prefer to be dehorned at conception or at weaning" it would always say "at conception."

I had no idea that the Farmers Weekly would have an article on horned dairy origin cattle or that the cover page header would have a Jersey with a great rack of horns! Sheer coincidence!

cheers

Bruce
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 15 Feb 2011 12:17 #366588

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Hi Bruce, great to hear you have a homozygous polled A2 bull [8D] - if semen from him had been available this season I'd have bought a couple of straws :D . I nearly chose semen from Kracka Poley but in the end went with a different sire, - had Kracka been homozygous polled that would have tipped the balance in his favour instead on my decision [;)]. If I don't get the heifer calf I've ordered come spring, then I'll be looking out for your new bull for next season if you'll be collecting semen from him?
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 15 Feb 2011 13:04 #366593

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Hi Jo-Otago,
Ardachie Luca PP has been collected & is available from Tararua Breeding Centre in Woodville. He is eligable for the USA also. He is unproven, but has a very useful Igenity TM Genomic profile, very good health, longevity & somatic cell scores on their genomic profile.

Please email us & we will work out how we could get him to you in the future should you need a couple of straws.

cheers
Bruce Cameron
Ardachie Polled Jerseys
The humane choice
The future's polled!
NZ
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 15 Feb 2011 13:30 #366597

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Sounds brilliant, many thanks Bruce :) . I use LIC but they should be able to get straws for me via the Tararua breeding centre then (don't tell me it was already available for this season just been! [}:)]). I'll definitely hunt it out later this year if I don't get a heifer from my girls this time around though...
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Do all jersey cows have horns... 15 Feb 2011 13:59 #366605

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Our family had a line of polled Friesian cows in our dairy herd when I growing up. They all came from one cow which we bought in as a heifer. They were mainly white, with a scattering of black spots over them. They were good producers. Dad was quite fond of them as the original cow had a nice quiet temperament and her daughters weren't bad either.

Being able to produce the A2 type milk is a bonus for your Jersey herd Bruce. That and the polling gene will make them very suitable for small block holders. (The ones that don't go for a Dexter house cow, that is. ;) :) Our Dexters are predominantly polled as well. I like the low maintenance side of polled animals.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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