Over two dozen years ago an article was written about casting broken horns. The fact every break is different we will visit this issue again with a new patient. Regardless of the detail in the original how-to article people still call wanting to review the process after, or days after a break. Here is the old article.
This pretty heifer had an unusual up-turn to her right horn. She was off to herself and appeared sad and lethargic. Our men walked her to the corral and sure enough her right horn was loose and would easily move up and down. A good thing was that it was not broken hide nor was it bleeding. That meant there was a good chance of little or no infection. It was not a horn broken, but the skull was broken at the base of the horn -- far more painful, but much easier to heal a broken bone than a broken horn.
This heifer's poll was clipped. I am not sure this was necessary. The process of placing the horn back in the right shape, placing the cloth padding, wrapping the re-bar begins as the casting material is not yet solid.
In a few minutes the casting is firm/dry. The broken horn is set in the exact same direction to match the unbroken horn. To keep it clean I would prefer to enclose the whole top of the head in a figure 8 to keep out unwanted material. One more roll would have been good.
A week later the casting is a little dirty, but she has regained her appetite and joins the herd obviously without any pain. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to know if the casting process has provided a renewed healed horn. If it doesn't heal well it will have a strong smell a few days after the procedure. At that point removal of the infected horn is the only thing left to do.
Three months later the cast has been removed. Hair has grown back and both horns appear almost the exact correct direction. Notice the rings just out from the base? The cast refused to allow the horns to grow while held with the casting material. In years to come these little rings will wear down a bit, but only you who have read this will know.
Take away: Every ranch with valuable horned cattle should have a half dozen rolls of casting materials, a bar and be ready. If you travel to shows or sales take the materials with you and be ready. You don't have to be a veterinarian to do this -- but you must be prepared. Time is of the essence. DD