South Waikato veterinary Services

Calf Disbudding


As both Friesian and Jersey cattle are not born polled and will grow horns, dehorning them is necessary to prevent injury to both other cattle and staff as well as for ease of transport. We offer a fast, reliable and efficient service to dehorn your calves.


Dehorning is best performed when the animals are calves - when they are at least 2 weeks old and no more than 8 weeks old (ideally under 6 weeks). We provide this service to ensure the horn buds are removed at the correct time, and with a minimum level of discomfort to the calf. Once calves get older and the horn growth has progressed, disbudding becomes less reliable and other methods need to be employed such as horn scoops or using embryotomy wire for older animals. There are welfare laws surrounding the removal of horns in older animals which require a vet visit as the animal must have pain relief provided at the time of dehorning.


We will visit your farm and perform dehorning on your calves in groups, ideally 50-100 calves in a single visit if possible (rather than 3 visits of 30 calves each time). All your calves will be sedated, and then given a local anaesthetic nerve block to provide pain relief once they wake up. The disbudding is performed with gas cautery guns and we apply iodine to the area afterwards. Our methods allow us to do approximately 60 calves per hour.

Advantages of our visit

At the same time as disbudding, we are able to perform a number of other routine procedures on the calves with ease. Calves can be dosed with an injectable drench (we use Dectomax) to treat them for parasites. We also like to begin the calves vaccination regime at this stage and can give Ultravac 5-in-1 (or Ultravac 7-in-1) and Salmonella. Included in the price of dehorning is extra teat removal. Your vet will check each calf for the presence of extra teats, and remove these if found. This is a simple procedure at this age and prevents mastitis in extra teats forming at a later date. You are also welcome to take advantage and use this time to check and tag your calves - a very simple thing to do when they are sleeping!

What do you need to provide for us?

 Please do not give any milk to your calves in the morning if we are visiting before midday to dehorn. If we are dehorning your calves after 1pm, you can give them a morning milk feed between 6 and 8am. If where we are performing the dehorning is not under cover, we need to visit on a clear day. If its raining, or going to rain in the next 24 hours, calves either need to be under cover or rebooked on another day.


The South Waikato Veterinary Services team is committed to providing top quality and extensive professional services to the Tokoroa, Putaruru, Whakamaru, Mangakino, Tirohanga and Atiamuri areas.

Get In Touch

Contact us at one of our 3 locations

2 Satco Drive, Tokoroa

75 Tirau St, Putaruru

108 State Highway 30, Whakamaru

Quick Contact

© SWVS. South Waikato veterinary Services