Do Male Cows Have Horns: Need, Why, How, Types, and Exhaustive Facts


Male cows, also known as bulls, are aggressive animals and are used on farms for breeding purposes. Let’s find out if male cows have horns. 

Male cows have horns, just like female ones. However, their horns are often removed at a young age to reduce their aggressiveness. With horns, male cows fight for space and put each other and people at the farm at risk. Therefore, dehorning is a popular process and makes cows less aggressive. 

There is a lot of speculation regarding male cows and whether they have horns. Let’s answer some commonly asked questions. 

Image Credits: “Male & female Highland Cattle” by rejflinger is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Are male cows born with horns?

There is a lot of speculation regarding whether male cows are born with horns. Let’s find out the truth. 

Male cows, just like their female counterparts, are born with horns. These horns may be removed when they are very young since they can pose a threat to the safety of other cows and can harm the farmers too. The horns are either removed when the calves are still young or when it grows to a certain height. 

Dehorning is a complicated and painful process. It is highly recommended that only an expert should carry out the procedure since it is an intricate one. 

Can cows have horns or just bulls?

Image Credits: “Cow with horns” by muffinn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Female cows and male ones have different physical characteristics. But can they both have horns? Let’s find out. 

Cows have horns, just like bulls. These horns are present from birth and are removed through the dehorning or disbudding procedure. Since female cows are kept in dairies, it becomes all the more important to remove their horns as it can pose a threat to the farming staff and other cows on the farm. 

Horns are typical in both cows and bulls. They are usually curved and large, which adds to the animal’s overall appearance. 

What are cows with horns called?

Cow with horns looks aggressive, powerful, and grand. But do they have a specific name? Let’s find out. 

Cows with horns do not have a specific name but are informally referred to as horned cattle. They are also identified as per their breed. For example, Hungarian Steppe Cattle, African Watusi Cattle, and Texas Longhorn are the most popular horned cattle breeds. These horns are made of keratin instead of ivory.

Keep in mind that cows with horns need to be carefully dehorned (if at all) with the help of a professional. No novice should attempt to dehorn a cow as it can be detrimental to their health. 

Why don’t all cows have horns?

While every once in a while, you might spot a cow with horns, let’s find out why all cows do not have horns. 

There are some cows that have their horns removed as calves to protect their fellow cows. This is an extensive process carried out by farmers and needs to be done with utmost care. Moreover, some cows have their horns removed through years of breeding, and this is why many cows appear hornless at birth.

As per research, around 80% of dairy cows have their horns removed annually. However, dehorning is a painful process, and animal activists disapprove of it. 

How many horns does a cow have?

Image Credits: “Portugal – Algarve – Mexilhoeira Grande – brown cow with horns” by muffinn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A variety of animals like reindeer, antelopes, rhinoceros, and so on have horns. Let’s find out how many horns a cow has. 

A cow has two horns, like most animals. These horns are made of keratin and other protein, unlike elephant tusks which are fashioned out of ivory. These horns are hollow from within but do have some sensitive nerve endings, which makes the process of horn removal painful for the animal. 

All in all, the two horns of cows significantly add to their overall appearance and continue to grow throughout their lifetime if not removed. 

What is the purpose of cow horns?

Cow horns serve several purposes, and it is pretty interesting to know what purpose it serves. Let’s find out more about it.

Cows who live in the wild need their horns to protect themselves against other wild animals. They can easily hit their predators with their horns and defend themselves. Moreover, female cows that travel with calves need their horns to protect their young ones from attacks. Horns in cows are also used to protect territories. 

Cows often get aggressive when they are in danger. Even when they are dehorned, they will always try to defend themselves and their territories. 

Do cows need horns?

Horns have different benefits for different animals. Let’s understand whether it is a necessity for cows. 

Cows do not need horns but can become quite nervous without them. This is because cows with horns use their horns to settle fights within the herd and help them establish their place in the hierarchy. However, the horns are removed for valid reasons as cows tend to fight among each other, and this can lead to injuries. 

Cows with horns need enough space to move around, and this leads to a stable being occupied by a lesser number of cows, which makes it more expensive for farmers. 

Can a male cow not have horns?

We know that female cows, including dairy cows, have horns. But is it possible for a male cow not to have horns? Let’s find out. 

Male cows cannot have horns in two instances. One, the horns are removed when they are young. Two, they are naturally born hornless because of years of breeding. Other than that, both male and female breeds in cattle are born with horns that continue to grow throughout the cow’s lifetime.

The absence or presence of horns defines a cow’s position in its social hierarchy. A cow with horns will occupy more space and be deemed superior. 

Why don’t dairy cows have horns?

Dairy cows make up the major chunk of the cow population globally. Let’s figure out why they don’t have horns. 

Dairy cows don’t have horns because they are removed by farmers during the dehorning process. Like most cows, dairy cows are also born with horns, but you seldom see a picture of them with their horns. This is because dairy cows live on farms and can pose a threat to the staff and other cows if their horns aren’t removed.

Unfortunately, dairy cows do not regrow the horns once they are removed, so they become hornless soon after birth. 

Do Holstein cows have horns?

Holsteins are a popular dairy breed that produces the largest milk supply. Let’s find out if they have horns. 

Holsteins have horns, just like any other dairy cow. Anyone who has been on a dairy farm will vouch for the fact that most Holsteins are hornless. This is because they live on farms with other cows and can get quite aggressive if they have horns. Therefore, the horns are removed to make it safer for all animals on the farm. 

Dehorning makes it easier for farmers to handle the cows while milking them. Very few Holsteins are naturally polled and born without horns. 

Do Longhorn cows have horns?

Image Credits: “ANIMALS / LONGHORN STEER” by DiAichner3 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Texas Longhorns are a majestic and popular cow breed. Let’s find out if they have horns. 

Longhorns, both male and female, have horns. These horns may extend anywhere between 4 to 5 feet for females and slightly more for males. In fact, steers have horns that extend up to 7 feet. The horns of bulls are straight, whereas female Longhorn cows have horns that are thicker and slightly curved. 

Texas Longhorns are a vital cow breed but are critically endangered today. As such, several steps have been taken by Government bodies and animal activists to ensure their conservation. 

Do black and white cows have horns?

Black and white cows are often referred to as Holsteins. Let’s figure out if they have horns. 

Most black and white cows are born with horns unless they are naturally polled. Animals that are polled carry the poll gene and are born hornless. However, only a small percentage of black and white cows are polled. The larger percentage has horns that are removed when they are very young. 

Horns are an important part of a cow’s anatomy. It gives them a sense of security and allows them to establish their position in the hierarchy. 

Do Brahman cows have horns?

Brahman cows are an important American breed. Let’s find out if they have horns. 

Brahman cows have horns. In fact, they are a popular horned cattle breed, and most cows have horns. There are some Brahman cows that are polled and, therefore, are born hornless. An interesting fact about this breed is that they can withstand heat easily in comparison to European cattle. They also have more sweat glands.

Brahman cows have a glossy coat and have a large hump on their back. Usually, they are light to medium grey or red in color. 

Do Angus cows have horns?

Angus cows, also known as Black Angus, are enormous animals that originate from Scotland. Let’s explore whether these animals have horns. 

Black Angus cows do not have horns. This isn’t because their horns are removed as calves by farmers but because they are polled. As such, they are bred with polled animals and produce hornless offspring. Polled is a dominant gene that is passed from one generation to another, and any cow with the poll gene will be hornless. 

Farmers prefer Black Angus cows since they are naturally hornless, and they do not have to dehorn them. They make things highly convenient for farmers, which makes them a top choice. 

What are the benefits of dehorning?

Dehorning may look like a cruel procedure, but it carries its share of benefits. Let’s find out more about it. 

Dehorning has several benefits. Some of them are:

  • Dehorning makes bulls less aggressive. 
  • Dehorning makes the bulls easier to handle. 
  • Bulls without horns are not a danger to each other and others on the farm. 
  • If horns are removed, the bulls occupy less space in the stables. 
  • The chances of bruising and injury are minimal on the farm if horns are removed. 
  • Bulls and cows that have been dehorned are easier to auction off. 
  • Dehorning ensures the well-being of the cows since their horns are unlikely to get entangled in fences. 

All in all, dehorning is a practical process but is still discouraged due to the pain it causes to the animals. 

Conclusion

Most male cows, like their female counterparts, are born with horns. If a horned cow is bred with a polled breed, then the offspring is going to be hornless. The gorgeous and massive horns of cows add to their overall appearance. 

Although the curved horns have several benefits, it is impractical for a farm setting which is why most farmers choose to remove them through the processes of dehorning or disbudding. 

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