I try it on my fingers on ocaission and it stings a bit but not unduly. On the soft bit of your arm, it can cause a burn and itch for a few days, but a calf skin is tougher than my arm, and on balance it causes less stress than getting them in the crush, With a calf, you can see it has returned to normal by the time you go out to check later. If we thought it was cruel, we wouldn't use it.
A dehorner takes a few seconds, that must burn for days, try some on your finger and let me know
We use this paste in a syringe now.
We used to use hornex but wouldn't buy it now. The consitency is lumpy, it's difficult to apply, it tends to go hard and useless in the tub, it's more expensive and the results weren't as good. That's not to say it doesn't work though. We're now getting 100% results with the exbud paste.
If you follow these 3 steps you wont go far wrong;
1) Use scissors to trim the hair over the bud. Do not use clippers or cut the surrounding hair otherwise the paste will spread and burn the surrounding skin and cause the calf unneccesary itching and irritation.
2) Apply plenty of paste. A good dollop so it covers the entire bud when squashed against it.
3) Wrap 2" gaffa tape around afterwards to hold it in place while it's working (just as important as the paste itself)
+1 its great when used correctly i remove the calf from mum for around an hour so it does its jobI use hornex all the time on the suckler calves and it is great. Be careful not to get it on your hand, put a dab on each horn site when you do the tags/rings and cover it with a piece of gaffer tape to keep it dry and stop mum catching a dose for a few hours. I reckon it is much less stressful than using an iron, and just as effective after a few tries. Ideal for a one man band.