Today it seems to us incomprehensible why a cow needs horns. Nature has foreseen everything: the male bull, as a protector and getter, he needs a powerful torso and strong processes on his head. But why then this adaptation is available to the female, if its main purpose is the birth of offspring. In this article, we will describe what functions this “decoration” performed before, why it is being removed today, and how it is done.
About all the functions of the horns
In ancient times, cow horns were designed to protect against predators or their own kind. The location of this tool provides for a strong and precise blow with the penetration of the sharp part of the tip into the body of the opponent.
On the body of a bull and a cow, horns are the most effective tools for fighting. Even hitting with a hoof is no match for a ram, as there is always the danger of an attack from behind and in front.
Komolim animals, which have no horns since birth, much easier to fall into the hands of a predator. Characteristic shoots are not only for physical resistance. Outwardly, they create an image of a strong animal and frighten potential enemies.
In addition, cows are herd animals, and for the hierarchy in the herd, horns are necessary to determine their place and maintain authority.
They even found use in the household.
In the household, a person found no less practical use for them: the animal turned out to be conveniently tied by the horns during milking and care. The fixed head soothes the cow, so the hostess is easier to milk, wash, comb or heal.
Some scientists believe that horns help a cow to attract a bull. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he perceives his partner with horns as a healthy individual, capable of producing offspring.
It is interesting that even in everyday life a person came up with a way to use horn covers: big horns were skillfully turned into musical instruments or decorations for the house.
In addition, cow horn material was used to make sewing needles, buttons, or crests. Girls always liked jewelry from them around the neck, arm or hair. Now archaeologists are finding many options for tools that ancient people made from these bone processes.
In appearance - an empty bone, but with blood vessels
The horns of the cow are part of the frontal system, it is far from just a bone process. In the first stages of development, the calf in the upper part of the skull shows their rudiments in the form of solid seals, which eventually grow into a horn, in a bull - 16 cm long, and in a cow - 14 cm.
What we see is called the horn capsule, the extreme part of which is the horn cover. It often breaks at the junction with the horn process - the body of the horn. It is formed from the process of the frontal bone and the mucous membrane covering it.
During the growth of the calf, the horny appendix develops in a sheath from those rudiments that initially stand out on its forehead. It is connected with the frontal sinus and is directly connected with the nasal passage. Therefore, when mechanical damage, such as fractures, blood enters the nasal cavity and provokes a threat to the life of the animal.
Bone processes externally differ in size, color and shape according to gender and breed. They are located on the skull of females and males, too, in different ways. In cows, they are located closer to each other and directed upwards, while in bulls they are at a greater distance, and the ends are directed in different directions.
Inconvenience that horns bring
If you conduct a survey among urban residents, hardly 50% correctly answer about the presence of cow horns.
We more often see hornless cows, since in the modern household they are removed in their infancy. Degraded calves make for the convenience of keeping the animal. Today, on the farms, the cow has no defense from anyone, so the main function, to repel the attack of a predator, is not needed at all. Horns cause inconvenience or even harm the owner during milking and care. The owner of the animal can perform the operation himself, but should be well aware of the procedure so as not to ruin the pet.
In large-scale industries, they take care of the safety of both the employees and the beneficiaries themselves. Herd animals build up a hierarchy and argue about their place among others, so it is impossible to avoid skirmishes even among domesticated species. Therefore, in the first years of life, it is important for calves to remove horns or stop their growth.
You can not only cut down
Veterinary medicine in 2017 knows several options for removing cow horns:
- chemical treatment;
- thermal method.
When cutting with a veterinary saw, the place where the horns were, is treated with antiseptics - this is how they stop the bleeding and ensure safe tissue healing.
If necessary, carry out the procedure without bloodshed, use clamps that squeeze the vessels. As a result, due to the lack of power, the horn itself is rejected.
The third method involves chemical treatment with caustic potassium or sodium of the rudiments of the bone processes in calves, as a result of which the tissues are not restored and the horn does not grow.
And finally, the most popular due to its simplicity, speed and security, is the thermal method. It consists of cauterization of the horn bud. This happens quickly, in 3-4 seconds, and does not pose a danger to the life of the animal.
One method often has to be resorted to in the event of a serious injury.
If the cow broke the horns, then she needs urgent veterinary assistance. As a rule, the owner does not know what to do with the horn in order to remove it correctly, so you should immediately contact a specialist.
Before removing the broken horn, the doctor makes anesthesia and, when the blood has stopped, file off the fracture site. Then imposes on the place of injury dressings with healing and disinfectants. They are regularly changed until the wound is completely healed.
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