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Old 10th October 2010, 07:02 PM   #1
highgirl
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Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 10th October 2010, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 10th October 2010, 07:14 PM   #3
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.
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Old 10th October 2010, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

Doesn't Althea breed polled Jerseys?
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Old 10th October 2010, 07:33 PM   #5
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

Yup, she does
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Old 10th October 2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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
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Old 10th October 2010, 08:45 PM   #7
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.
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Old 10th October 2010, 10:00 PM   #8
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.



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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.

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Old 11th October 2010, 06:54 AM   #9
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 11th October 2010, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

I try to stay clear of discussions about "To de-horn or not de-horn". Way too religious! 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!

So much for staying clear.

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Old 11th October 2010, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 11th October 2010, 09:13 AM   #12
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 11th October 2010, 09:19 AM   #13
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:02 AM   #14
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.
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Old 11th October 2010, 01:06 PM   #15
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 11th October 2010, 09:41 PM   #16
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronney View Post

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,
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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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Old 11th October 2010, 10:50 PM   #17
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.

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.

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Old 12th October 2010, 03:33 PM   #18
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.
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Old 13th October 2010, 01:08 PM   #19
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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Old 13th October 2010, 04:16 PM   #20
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

Quote:
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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.
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Old 13th October 2010, 04:28 PM   #21
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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.

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Old 13th October 2010, 05:48 PM   #22
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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!
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Old 13th October 2010, 10:20 PM   #23
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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
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Old 14th October 2010, 12:23 AM   #24
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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.

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Old 14th October 2010, 06:11 AM   #25
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Re: Do all jersey cows have horns...

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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