Little Shadow is over a week old -- time to dehorn her! We shooed Raven outside the barn and put a rope around Shadow's neck, then held her as still as we could.
After feeling where her horn buds were...
...Don started shaving over the buds.
The buds don't have to be shaved perfectly, just enough so we can smear the dehorning paste on the buds without it getting all caught up on her fur.
Next step, Vaseline and dehorning paste. The only Vaseline we could find off-hand was left over from when we marked our steer with fluorescent Vaseline so we could find where he was escaping. What the heck, it's still useful! And so easy to see!
I made a circle around the horn bud with the Vaseline.
The purpose of the Vaseline is to corral the paste where it's supposed to stay. As the paste warms with the calf's body temperature, it can get runny. Above all, you don't want dehorning paste going where it isn't supposed to go! The Vaseline keeps it in one spot.
Next step is putting the paste on. (Notice how I'm using the Popsicle stick from my broccoli starts.) The idea is to put on a THIN nickle-sized smear of paste -- NO MORE than that. Dehorning paste is NOT one of those things where "if a little is good, more is better."
One bud done, now doing the other.
All done with that step...
Now comes the hard part: wrapping the calf's head with duct tape.
The idea of the duct tape is to keep the calf from getting any paste on mama, either the mother's tongue or her udder. Calves hate this step and will struggle like mad.
This is tricky because we can't cover the calf's eyes or ears, of course; and meanwhile she's struggling and trying to get loose. What fun!
Not a happy calf!
After this we could let the calf out into the corral with her mama. The duct tape must stay on for about twelve hours.
"What have you done to my baby?"
Since we dehorned in the evening, this morning it was time to take the tape off.
Fortunately it's a much simpler procedure. Snip snip, pull the tape off, we're done!
Looks raw and painful, but I assure you the calf was gamboling about even when the duct tape was on. This is a picture-perfect case.
We outfitted Shadow with a tiny halter and a long trail of paracord (so we could catch her more easily) then let her and Raven with the rest of the herd -- first time everyone got to see the newcomer!
Poor little Shadow -- everyone wanted to see her!
Fortunately after about five minutes of chaos, things calmed down and peace reined again. Little Shadow is now part of our herd.