Livestock :: Cattle :: Daily Operation Shedule, Dehorning, Disbudding, Castration Home


The various operations should be carried out in an orderly manner as per well prepared schedule.

Table: Schedule of Day-to-day Operations on Dairy Farms (About 100 cows)

Approximate time (hours)

S. No

Farm operations

03.00 - 03.30 1. Cleaning/brushing of milch animals
03.30 - 05.00 1. Feeding half of the daily concentrate ration just before milking.
2. Milking cows.
05.00 - 05.30 1. Delivery of raw milk (in cans) to the milk pick-up van of
dairy plants and receiving previous day's empty cans.
2. Washing and disinfection of milking barns.
05.30 - 08.00 1. Cleaning of milk cow sheds.
2. Feeding of dry/green fodder to milch stock.
3. Cleaning farm premises.
4. Isolation of sick animals.
5. Isolation of "in-heat" cows for artificial insemination

Note: Use milkers at the rate of one for every 12-14 cows, for all the above operations. Milkers go off duty by 8.00 a.m. and farm labour come on duty.

Approximate time (hours) S. No Farm operations
08.00 - 12.00 1. Cleaning calf, maternity, dry-stock, bullock and bull sheds.
2. Feeding half of the daily concentrate ration to calves, pregnant cows and bulls.
3. Exercising and grooming of bulls.
4. Treating sick animals.
5. Breeding cows that are "in-heat".
6. Harvesting, chaffing and feeding of green fodder to all the stock. Mangers in all sheds should be filled with green fodder.

Note: Animals should be taken for grazing (if practiced ) between 09.00 a.m.and 02.00 p.m. in winter, and between 06.00 a.m.and 10.00 a.m. and again between 05 .00 p.m. and 07.00 p.m. in summer.

Approximate time (hours) S. No Farm operations
12.00 - 01.00 1. Lunch-cum-rest period for labourers.
01.00 - 03.00 2. Miscellaneous jobs for dairy farm stock identification; periodical vaccination; preparation of concentrate mixture; repair of farm fences, fittings and repair of equipments; rope and halter making; weekly scrubbing and white-washing of drinking water tanks; manure disposal/ conservation; hay and silage making; periodical spraying of animal houses with suitable pesticides; periodical deworming of stock; clipping hair from sides and hind-quarters of cows; grooming; toe trimming; dehorning of calves; attending to sale and purchase of livestock and their transportation; fitting and training of cows for show.


  1. The dairy manager should plan the jobs well in advance in such a way that they are evenly distributed over the week. Some jobs may require longer time and the labour have to work extra time on such occasions.
  2. Milkers come on duty by 2.30 hours and remain upto 5.30pm hours whereas general farm labour go off duty by 5.00 hours.

02.30 - 03.00


Washing ,brushing of milch Cows by milkers.

Approximate time (hours)


Farm operations

03.00 - 04.30 l. Feeding the other half of daily concentrate ration to milk cows just before milking.
2. Milking.
3. Cleaning calf, maternity, dry-stock and bull sheds and feeding the other half of concentrate ration to calves, pregnant cows and bulls.
04.30 - 05.00 1. Delivery of milk (in cans) to milk pick-up vans of milk plants and collection of morning's empty cans.
2. Washing and disinfection of milking barns.
3. Feeding dry and green fodder to calves, dry-stock and bulls.
05.00-06.30 1. Cleaning of milch cow shed.
2. Feeding green / dry fodder to milch stock.
3. Cleaning farm premises.

(Source: AC&RI, Madurai, Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar ) 


Benefits of Disbudding and Dehorning

Dehorning cattle conveys advantages. Horns are the single major cause of carcass wastage due to bruising, and trim associated with bruising for carcasses from horned cattle is approximately twice that for carcasses from hornless cattle. Dehorned cattle require less feeding trough space; are easier and less dangerous to handle and transport; present a lower risk of interference from dominant animals at feeding time; pose a reduced risk of injury to udders, flanks, and eyes of other cattle; present a lower injury risk for handlers, horses, and dogs; exhibit fewer aggressive behaviors associated with individual dominance; and may incur fewer financial penalties on sale.


Disbudding involves destroying the horn-producing cells (corium) of the horn bud. Horn buds are removed without opening the frontal sinus. Chemical and hot-iron disbudding methods destroy the horn-producing cells, whereas physical methods of disbudding excise them. Several methods for disbudding cattle exist, but each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Hot-iron disbudding is commonly performed and is reliable, but is considered to be quite painful. Electrical and butane hot-iron disbudding devices are available. Excessive heat applied during hot-iron disbudding can damage underlying bone. Disbudding via cautery may create less distress than physical dehorning using a scoop because nociceptors are destroyed by heat and pain perception is consequently reduced. Caustic materials (e.g., sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide) applied to the horn bud can damage surrounding skin and/or the eyes if runoff occurs; as long as the active chemical is in contact with tissue, damage continues. Injection of calcium chloride under the horn bud results in necrosis of the horn bud, but its administration without prior sedation and/or local anesthesia is not recommended due to the level of discomfort induced by the procedure. Cryosurgical techniques are less reliable than hot-iron disbudding, require additional procedural time, and induce behavioral indicators of pain and distress. Horn buds can be physically removed, using knives, shears, or dehorning spoons, cups, or tubes. To remove the corium and prevent horn regrowth, a complete ring of hair surrounding the horn bud should also be removed.


Dehorning is removal of the horns after they have formed from the horn bud. Physical methods of dehorning (gouge dehorning) include the use of embryotomy wire, guillotine shears, or dehorning knives, saws, spoons, cups, or tubes. The Barnes-type scoop dehorner is commonly used for physical dehorning.
The presence of the corneal diverticulum’s of the frontal sinus causes surgical dehorning of adult cattle to be more invasive. Dehorning of adult cattle is associated with increased risks of sinusitis, bleeding, prolonged wound healing, and infection.



Points to remember

Disbudding of calves and kids means removing the very early developing horn base to prevent horn growth. It’s a procedure carried out routinely for management reasons.

It is good practice to disbud all calves unless they are of a naturally polled type. Horns can cause a lot of damage to other cattle, and to stock handlers, particularly when they are yarded or penned or transported.

  • Horned cattle should be penned separately for transport.
  • There are advantages in disbudding goat kids too. Goats with horns can use them to good effect on other goats, and horns get hooked up in fences.
  • Horn buds begin to appear around the time of birth or within a week or so of birth.
  • Disbudding should be carried out while the buds are still very small, well before they become too large for a disbudding iron to fit over.
  • Feel around the poll of young calves daily from a few days of age to check the horn buds, and disbud as soon as they form small hard caps.
  • For most calves the best age for disbudding is from 3 to 6 weeks of age.
  • Goat horns often appear earlier than calf horns and they grow faster, so check kids daily from birth.

Hot iron

  • The most humane method is use of a custom-made circular hot iron to cauterize the tissue around the base of the horn.
  • The procedure should take only a few seconds, but it’s painful, skill is required and applying a hot iron to the head requires firm restraint of the animal.
  • Don’t be too forceful, especially with goat kids. Because of their smaller size and thinner skull they are more prone to injury from excess force or deep burns.

Don’t use caustic paste

  • There are caustic chemicals on the market for disbudding.
  • These are applied to the horn bud to cause chemical burns to permanently damage the horn-producing area.
  • The caustic chemicals are easily rubbed onto sensitive skin (like the youngster’s mother’s udder or other calves!), and in wet conditions they can be washed down the face, causing painful burns.
  • The risks generally don’t justify use of caustic pastes for disbudding.

Disbudding using a scoop

  • Another method of disbudding calves is by amputation using a metal scoop.
  • The disbudding scoop is a special instrument designed to gouge out the small horn bud and its base.
  • There is bleeding, more chance of infection than with cautery disbudding and it is a painful procedure.


Get a vet to do it!

  • For the animal’s sake, disbudding is best carried out by a veterinarian using a gas or electric cautery iron with appropriate pain control (a strong sedative, pain killer and/or anesthetic).
  • The few dollars extra per calf or kid is a small price to pay for a painless and relatively stress-free procedure with a quick recovery and no complications such as infections.
  • Employing a vet also means that castration, tagging and any minor surgical procedures like removal of extra teats can be carried out painlessly at the same time.

Disbud early

  • It is much more humane to disbud calves than to dehorn older cattle. The greater size and strength of older animals make them much more difficult to restrain for dehorning, there is more bleeding and a greater risk of infection.

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  • Monthly once periodical Deworming is essential. Check the cowdung often, so that we can detect the worm infection if present.Likewise periodical deworming is reduce the Worm infection at calves and induce the growth & puberty.So that we can get high yield of weight and Milk.
  • Frequent cheking of weight should be there to know about the growth.Then proper exercise have to provide to make the animal Healthy.


  • It is very common for young male sheep, goats and calves to be castrated, because castrated animals are usually easier to manage from the age of puberty, i.e. from about 6 months of age.
  • Don’t castrate if you don’t have to do. For example, there is no need to castrate lambs that are destined to be killed before they are 6 months old. But of course you should make sure that they are kept separate from females from about 4 months of age  just in case.
  • It goes without saying - castration is very painful unless it’s done skillfully.
  • The most humane option is to have the procedure carried out by a veterinarian using sedatives, pain killers and/or anesthetics; although many farmers consider that the costs of this make it impractical.
  • Most castration of ruminants is carried out by the farmer owners, and it is best for the animal that the least stressful procedures be used and carried out while the animal is very young.
  • For castration of lambs, kids and calves, the most humane method is application of a custom-made rubber ring to the neck of the scrotum with the appropriate applicator, preferable while the animal is 7 to 10 days of age and definitely before it is 6 weeks old.
  • Surgical castration, ie cutting the scrotum and pulling the testicles out, is another option.
  • Surgical castration is a painful operation unless it’s carried out by a veterinarian using pain control.
  • Keep surgical instruments clean and disinfect them between animals.
  • Surgical castration is more traumatic than use of rings and there is more risk of complications like infections, so it is generally not a good method for lifestyle farmers to use.
  • The risk of infections like tetanus is reduced if the mother of the animal has been fully vaccinated against clostridial diseases.
  • The older the animal, the more potential there is for the operation to be painful and stressful.
  • It is illegal for anyone except a veterinarian to castrate animals of any species other than sheep, goats and cattle

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