A Question...

wolf

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I've had sheep for several years, and my current ram was born last Spring. His mother is polled for several generations and his father was horned. Since his birth I was watching for horns. For months I've thought he might be polled. Yesterday as I brushed past his head with his feed bucket, I noticed very small ones lost in the roughy fur of his crown. He's a big guy, now - almost a year old - and they're the size of the end of my thumb. What was I finding? Is there a NAME for this? I thought horned or polled would show - or not - and any cross would be polled by carrying a gene for horns that would show up in a 3rd generation... not be permanent "buttons" on a 1st-cross sheep's head! He hasn't had horn-buds burnt as an infant, so they're not scurs growing back... so what is this called?
 

purplequeenvt

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Are they actual horn-like material or just bumps under the skin?

Since he’s almost a year old, they are not going to be “real” horns. If you can see them, then I’d consider them to be scurs. They might not be very secure and could break off.
 

wolf

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They're horns, like if they were sprouting from a 2-3 mos old. I always thought "scurs" where remnant keratin growths from scars left after dis-budding. This is natural. Good root, good keratin, just really short.
 

purplequeenvt

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They're horns, like if they were sprouting from a 2-3 mos old. I always thought "scurs" where remnant keratin growths from scars left after dis-budding. This is natural. Good root, good keratin, just really short.
I highly doubt that they’ll grow much more. Unless he’s got some weird delayed horn growth gene, it should have been obvious early on if he was going to be horned. Can you see the horns or just feel them?

What breed is he?

Scurs can be regrowth from disbudding or small, abnormal horns. They can also be horn-like growths that are poorly attached and break off easily.



The ram on the left is my scurred “half-polled” Shetland. His horns are firmly attached to his skull, but that is about as much size as they’ll ever get.
 

Ridgetop

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One of my White Dorper rams from completely polled lines had "scurs". Not true horns, but large horny growths. They are just large lumps of keratin bulging out of his skull. They were 6" long, and 3-4' wide. Smoothly rounded along the top. Last year he knocked one completely off leaving a bloody area. Now he just has the other one.

This year for the first time a couple of our ram lambs developed scurs at 3-4 months old. They were not sired by him! Their parents are all from polled stock. Just strange, but since we eat or sell all ram lambs for meat, not important.

Always something interesting in the world of livestock!
 
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