*The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act describes the legal ages for the following cattle husbandry practices:

Castration – less than six months of age

Dehorning – less than 12 months.

**Cattle must be suitably identified applicable to the production system and current regulations.

*All citizens in NSW must comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA). Castration can only be carried out after six months of age if performed by a veterinarian and the animal is appropriately anaesthetized.

**All cattle must be tagged in accordance with the NLIS

Approved activities Category
4. Ear marking/tagging of livestock 3
7. Hoof trimming: cattle & horses 3
12. Milking 3
19. Freeze branding of cattle and horses 4

22. Castration of calves

  • Elastrator (less than 2 weeks old)
  • Knife
  • Emasculator




30. Microchipping 3
31. Horn tipping 3
32. Dehorning cattle under 6 months of age 4
34. Disbudding calves 4
Image: As well as a NLIS tag, most cattle also have a management tag

Routine husbandry activities for cattle include:

  • Internal parasite control
  • External parasite control
  • Vaccination
  • Identification (branding, ear tagging, tattooing)
  • Castration
  • Pregnancy detection
  • Horn tipping and dehorning.

Freeze branding, castration, dehorning and disbudding all have the potential to cause pain and distress and school staff should consider the use of pain relief for the animals undergoing these procedures. The use of suitable pain relief should be discussed with a veterinarian who is familiar with cattle and advice can be accessed at Flyboss – Pain relief – frequently asked questions.

Image: Management tags and applicators

It is essential that a crush or calf cradle and the appropriate equipment are used for each of the activities, with the exception of milking a dairy cow that is familiar with the activity. A head bail is suitable for milking a dairy cow.

Routine husbandry activities demonstrates some of these activities.

Schools are encouraged to keep polled cattle. This will minimise the risk of injury to humans and other animals and remove the need for horn tipping or dehorning.

Disbudding of calves is best carried out on calves in the first two weeks of life. Calves must be checked for regrowth two or three weeks after disbudding.

Cattle must be tagged in accordance with the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). Further information can be obtained at NLIS Cattle.

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