• Calf disbudding and castration

      Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; O’Riordan, Edward G; Marquette, Gabriela (Veterinary Ireland Journal, 2019-05)
      The degree of tissue damage associated with disbudding is determined by the stage of development of the horn bud, eg. in younger calves, the burning of the vessels surrounding the horn bud is su icient, whereas the whole bud needs to be removed (by levering it out from the side) when the horn is further developed. Setting definitive ages for disbudding or dehorning is di icult since horn bud development occurs later in beef breeds than in the dairy breeds. Castration of bull calves induces a stress response (increase in the stress hormone, cortisol), which is influenced by the age of the calf. Castration-induced pain may be greater among younger calves compared with older calves because their nervous system and coping mechanisms (stress response) are not fully developed.