Calf Disbudding

Ultra-Scan specialises in calf disbudding, saving you time, energy and manpower at one of the busiest times of the year.

Disbudding has become a standard procedure on most dairy farms. Our efficient, hygienic service system minimises the stress on calves, with the use of local anaesthesia for disbudding company policy.

Calves are disbudded using LPG gas burners when they are between four days and 10 weeks of age. Calves are restrained in our purpose-built calf crates. The head of the iron is designed to fit over the horn bud and burn the horn cell base, with the heat preventing bleeding.

“We use Ultra-Scan because the calves do not get knocked out. It is a quick, efficient service with far less stress on the calves.”

- Wilbert & Raewyn Smolders


“We have used Ultra-Scan here in Taranaki, but they're a nationwide franchise company. It is the first year we have used them for disbudding and I was hugely impressed. They brought their own little crush, all we needed to do was get the calves in the corner of the yard. All was done with anaesthetic and the hot iron used fitted the horn buds properly. The calves remained calm and never missed a beat."

- Leanne Blakelock, Summitt Holdings Ltd


Benefits of Disbudding with Ultra-Scan

  • Hygienic System with calves disbudded above any source of potential infection from the ground.
  • Local anaesthesia used to lower the stress on the animals.
  • The wound is treated with antibiotic spray to avoid infection.
  • All equipment is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between farms.
  • Ultra-Scan bring all the required equipment including double-headed crates and gas burners.
  • Ultra-Scan operate two-person teams, avoiding the need for the farm to supply any labour.
  • Multiple visits, we can come as often as you need.
  • IHC Charity Calves are disbudded free of charge, we support your community and chosen charity.

Tips for Successful Healing

  • Disbudding should be performed on a dry but not excessively hot day as rain and flies can introduce infection to the wound
  • The use of Tetravet spray works well in reducing the risk of infection (we can apply if provided)
  • Keep calves in a clean environment (dry bedding, use of housing sanitisers) as the cauterised burn site is a sterile wound; calves can contract an infection from the environment
  • Maintain the same rearing routine at all times
  • Note: Every calf is individual and some take longer to heal than others.



  • Remove the scab and clean the wound immediately with antiseptic solution (i.e. Dettol; contains chloroxylenol)
  • Then treat with topical antibiotic spray (Tetravet)
  • If an infection (including swollen, painful area around the wound) occurs in a number of calves and / or if the animals appear depressed with loss of appetite, contact your veterinarian for advice

Post Disbudding Considerations

  • Keep your calves dry for at least 24 hours
  • Regularly check the burn area during feed times
  • Irritation will occur due to the discomfort experienced after the local anaesthesia wears off, so check the pens and enclosures for sharp objects, protruding wire, nails, tin edges, etc.
  • If prolonged bleeding occurs, apply pressure for five minutes or phone your Ultra-Scan technician to re-cauterise the wound
  • Allergic reaction can occur to the local anaesthesia, so if any unexpected conditions occur contact your Ultra-Scan technician and your vet