Can Female Cows Have Horns?

tausend und eins, fotografie/CC-BY 2.0

Both cows and bulls of many cattle breeds have horns, including Ayrshires, Jerseys and Herefords. The shapes and lengths of cows’ horns vary by breed.

Cows use their horns to control their body temperatures and defend themselves against predators. Dehorning, or disbudding, is the practice of removing the horns of young calves. Horned cattle can injure themselves, each other and their handlers, especially in the close quarters of a dairy. They also require special feeding equipment, and their horns can become entangled in vegetation, leaving them trapped. Some animal welfare organizations view dehorning as cruel because it is painful when done without anesthetics or analgesics.