Monday, April 23, 2012

Her Crowning Glory

It has finally been deemed that Peaches does not have scurs. They are honest-to-goodness horns.

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Upon realizing that I now had a horned cow on my hands, I had two options:

1. I could put heavy rubber bands around her horns which would cause them to die, and fall off on their own (just like when banding male livestock), and then I would have a lovely dehorned cow.

Or 2. Leave the horns on.

Oh boy.

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Well, I just about drove myself crazy trying to decide what to do. I thought about it, I asked advice from fellow cow owners. I watched Peaches...

And then it dawned on me. Peaches really does look nice with her little baby horns, and I think she will look quite stunning if her crowning glory was left in place.

Folks, I am doing what I always said I would never do (I seem to be doing that a lot lately...). I am keeping a horned bovine. Yoikes!

But worry not, dear friends, for this is a carefully thought out plan of mine. Not only do I have to make sure that she doesn't injure any goats or humans, but I have to do something so that she doesn't wreak havoc with her beautiful horns.

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Thus enters my game plan:

Peaches' horns will grow however they wish for the next 2 years, and then they will undergo the lost art of "horn training", which will cause the horns to curve inwards in a lovely wreath, rather than the natural "hook" that most horns are. Below is a Jersey cow that has had her horns trained, and that is how I want Peaches' horns to look. :)

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Photo courtesy of Hope Refuge Farm
Secondly, she will have knobs attached to her horns. 

Yet another lost art, these knobs are made of brass and are often quite ornamental in looks. You file down the horn (some folks say to just lop an inch off the tip), and glue these knobs on which give the horn a blunt tip in which damage is harder to come by.

Peaches will most likely get her knobs before the training starts. I'm going to guess that she'll earn her "bling" by 18 months of age. I must admit I'm rather excited to pick out her pretty horn jewelry! ;)

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Photo Courtesy of Tranquil Farms
So friends, Peaches will keeping her crowning glory, and I am happy with my choice. :)

Does any one else here have horned cows? Do you like having crowned bovines, or prefer dehorned ones?

6 comments:

Linda said...

Awe, that is an awesome idea... but now my question is - can the 'training of the horns be done with goats as well - oh and the 'jewelry' also?

nancy said...

I think natural is best, and they look like a halo trained :)

Gumtree said...

I have horned girls,

The main problem is they get smart and will try and use them on you sometimes.....
One of my girls, horns are about level with my eyes and she is affectionate... bit tricky...

However I've worked in close quarters with the house milkers for approx 7 years and never coped any more damage from horns then I have from heels....

Be firm but gentle, right from now & you should be right :-)

You can always tip or dehorn later without any trouble if need be later on.

Cheers Shirrelle

Goat Song said...

Good advice, Shirrelle!

Nancy, a 'halo' is a perfect way to put it! I like that. :)

Linda, while I'm sure it's possible to train goat horns, I don't think it would be advisable since their horns grow differently than cows... Most goat horns are long, and they sweep back in scimitar style. But maybe I'm wrong... I might try researching that and see what you find! But I do think that putting the knobs on them is entirely doable. You can find the knobs through, 'New England Ox Supply', and 'Berry Brook Ox Supply'.

Anonymous said...

Hi Goat Song I found your blog from the goat spot board. I'm really enjoying reading all about your farm. I wanted to comment here because I also have a heifer named Weezy who is Angus and Jersey... she's very sweet but I had the same dilemma as you with the horns.

I did not like how she shook her head at my goats and I decided to band her horns. They were about 6 inches long. I banded them in December and they came off in February. I have banded a young doe in similar fashion and that left her head cleaner, however, whereas Weezy's "nubs" are flat but still visible on her head. Nonetheless she does not seem inclined to lead with her head nearly as much anymore with goats or people so it was effective and she does not look bad just as if two flat scurs are left.

I had also researched training them prior to deciding to band them so I'll be interested in hearing how it works for you. If you do decide to use the bands just be sure to wrap them with electrical tape 1st to get the bands down on the skin and use more than one, I used 3 on each side. And if the horns are bigger than about an inch and a half in diameter at the base I don't think the green cheerios will work.

Thanks for the great writing on your blog we have similar little farms... here in southern Illinois we have a dozen Nubians about 1/2 of which are registered, a couple of milk cows and a steer, 10 egg laying Campbell ducks, cornish rock broilers seasonally, a mixed flock of 2 dozen or so egg layers, usually a couple feeder pigs in the garden during the winter and in the freezer in the summer... and as many tomato plants as I can cram in anyplace that the goats cant reach!

Oh oh and also my wife and I are huge fans of the Wailin' Jennys, we learned about them on Garrison Keillor's radio show... such beautiful music!

Jaycee

Goat Song said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Jaycee! :)Your farm sounds great and I will definitely keep everyone here posted on Peaches' horns.