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disbudding kids

                                    


Joined: Feb 19, 2011
Posts: 1
Anybody out there in the South Puget Sound who would consider teaching me how to disbud goat kids? 
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Not in your neck of the woods but I am curious as to what breed you have and why you are disbudding them? I keep nigerian dwarfs myself and have adopted a no disbudding policy. Course I do not show goats either so its not really an issue for me.
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
consider before disbursing that its painful and often unnecessary, also consider that horns make a great handle I'd rather deal with a surly goat with horns than without, but I'd rather the ones my kids play with don't
Chris Fitt


Joined: Jan 10, 2011
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
brice Moss wrote:
consider before disbursing that its painful and often unnecessary, also consider that horns make a great handle I'd rather deal with a surly goat with horns than without, but I'd rather the ones my kids play with don't


I was just talking to a goat farmer last weekend and he said the same thing about having a handle.  When he started out he did debud and then he had hard time getting a hold of them when needed.  And now he doesn't.
He is a pretty conventional farmer not into organics or permaculture.
Gary Stuart


Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
We bought two young Nigerian Dwarf bucks that were disbudded and two does that were not. They were the only stock in our area so we didn't have much choice. The place we bought the bucks from have disbudded for years, they talked confidently about it and we believed the did a good job. The disbudding looked fine when we bought them but over the months the buds have tried to grow and it became clear that the previous owners did a bad job this time, despite their apparent expertise. The horns now grow weakly and curl back towards the skull almost immediately. They are as brittle as shale and periodically break off leaving us cleaning up the bloody stubs.

We haven't had a single issue with the horned does and yes, the horns do make a handy handle

All that to say, we have decided against disbudding our just-born goat kids so I would advise you to really decide whether you need the goats disbudded or not.


http://pineandbirch.wordpress.com/

Our blog/site about day to day life as onsite caretakers of a ranch & retreat, and our journey to become more self-sufficient
Anna Carter


Joined: Feb 11, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Lacey, Wa
Have you tried asking your local goat breeders? They are probably your best bet.

I'm going to second the recommendation that you think long and hard before disbudding. I've had horned goats, and I've had disbudded goats. I've decided that I will not disbud another goat- even though I'd like to breed and sell stock. I'm going with a dairy breed, which means I won't be able to show, but I can still do the milk tests and appraisals- which do a better job of evaluating the animal anyway. 

Also, bucks are really, really hard to do a good job on. The testosterone makes their horns grow much more stubbornly than does- it's very hard to get it so they won't have scurs.

I'm a young and I'm not going to contort myself to fit in with our very ill society. I am a citizen of the world, not a mindless consumer. If you want to follow along with my journal, here's my blog: Life Happened Today
Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 340
Location: South West France
    
  15
I've kept a herd of Angora with a few milk goats for almost twenty years and I've never disbudded and nobody (including any of our 96 goats) has ever been injured by goat horns on our farm.

Goats need their horns to protect themselves from predators such as dogs and to scratch themselves properly to avoid flystrike.

Please consider why you you want to dehorn, like some other people in the thread I think that it's unnecessary. Goats horns are there for a purpose and I consider that it's inhumane to burn or cut them off. 




La Ferme de Sourrou : Nos projets avec PHOTOS
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
I'm surprised there isn't a seperate organization that shows horned goats. They all require disbudded goats but it seems like there is a large number of people who would like to show their horned goats. Untapped market perhaps?

I do not wish to pile on any but I will share my own experience. When I first got my goats I was told over and over that disbudding is the best option. It removes risk of injury, it doesn't really hurt the goat, its the only way to show, etc. The reality is that it REALLY hurts the goats. I've disbudded 2 goats and it was horrible. I had to do one of them a second time which is unforgivable. The poor kid I had to disbud twice ended up developing large skurs anyway, which is pretty common. After a lot of research I've come to the conclusion that disbudding is done for 2 reasons.

1. For shows, this is the number one reason I see disbudding being actually needed. If there was a show organization that did not require disbudding the practice would change quickly.

2. To keep goats from injuring each other. This is only an issue if you are over crowding your goats. Keeping to large a herd in to small an area is bad animal management. A better answer is to reduce your herd not take their horns.

This is all my own research an oppinion take it with a grain of salt
Gary Stuart


Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
Off-topic I know but Irene... I love your blog!

I have been reading it for a few months now after finding a link in another forum, but I didn't know you posted here until now.

So hi
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I DO disbud my goats.  Yes, it's a nasty job, but it's better than repeatedly having to cut stuck goats out of the fence, or, worse, finding one too late after it has gotten it's head caught in the fence and died there.  Horns are little or no protection against dogs, although I've had horned goats use their horns to gore sheep that they were pastured with (and they had plenty of room).  I've never had a horned goat try to use it's horns on me, but wouldn't want to have them around young children. 

We NEVER use horns as handles even when I do have a goat with horns, because there are nerves and major blood vessels inside the horns, and goats absolutely hate to have their horns even touched, let alone used as handles.  So that's another thing to consider, if you are concerned about the goats.  I keep collars on mine, and handle by the collars.  Mine are also bottle-raised, so I have never had any problem with catching them. 

Horns are a part of the goats' cooling system, so if it gets hot where you live, that is something else to consider.  I suspect that in the winter, dark-colored horns are also part of the goats heating system, as wild goats could lay out on a rock ledge in the sun, even on a cold day, and the horns would warm up, warming the blood that circulates through them.  But that is speculation on my part. 

If you plan to milk your goats, and you plan to leave the horns on them, you'll have to build specially-designed milking stands, or just tie the goat up next to a fence and sit on the ground to milk, perhaps.

I have, as you can see, mixed feelings about leaving horns on goats vs. disbudding.  If we lived on a large acreage with fences that goats couldn't get their heads stuck in (or even better, didn't need fences at all), I'd probably leave the horns on my goats.  We don't, so I disbud.

Kathleen
                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I DO disbud my goats.  Yes, it's a nasty job, but it's better than repeatedly having to cut stuck goats out of the fence, or, worse, finding one too late after it has gotten it's head caught in the fence and died there.  Horns are little or no protection against dogs, although I've had horned goats use their horns to gore sheep that they were pastured with (and they had plenty of room).  I've never had a horned goat try to use it's horns on me, but wouldn't want to have them around young children. 

We NEVER use horns as handles even when I do have a goat with horns, because there are nerves and major blood vessels inside the horns, and goats absolutely hate to have their horns even touched, let alone used as handles.  So that's another thing to consider, if you are concerned about the goats.  I keep collars on mine, and handle by the collars.  Mine are also bottle-raised, so I have never had any problem with catching them. 

Horns are a part of the goats' cooling system, so if it gets hot where you live, that is something else to consider.  I suspect that in the winter, dark-colored horns are also part of the goats heating system, as wild goats could lay out on a rock ledge in the sun, even on a cold day, and the horns would warm up, warming the blood that circulates through them.  But that is speculation on my part. 

If you plan to milk your goats, and you plan to leave the horns on them, you'll have to build specially-designed milking stands, or just tie the goat up next to a fence and sit on the ground to milk, perhaps.

I have, as you can see, mixed feelings about leaving horns on goats vs. disbudding.  If we lived on a large acreage with fences that goats couldn't get their heads stuck in (or even better, didn't need fences at all), I'd probably leave the horns on my goats.  We don't, so I disbud.

Kathleen


I have a pet goat, his name is Happy Goat.  I couldn't imagine how miserable he would be without horns.  He uses his horns for everything.  I imaging it would be like cutting off a few of your fingers... awe, you'll never miss them.  He also defends himself very well against dogs with his horns.  Yes, if the dog really wanted to kill him it would.  But I've seen him use his horns successfully to ward off plenty of stupid dogs that didn't know what they where getting themselves into but could probably have run him to death if they hadn't gotten a taste of the head butt and horn hook.  I've also got a 2 year old. I let her play with the Happy.  He's headbutted her but it would be the same as if he didn't have horns.  He never gives her the butt and hook. 

For those that don't know it's not the head butt that hurts when a goat butts you.. it's when they pull their head back from the butt and hook you with their horns on the way back up.  At least that's when it has for me.  Also, this is all experience with a 70lb goat not a 250lb goat.
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
We have a lot of goats and don't disbud.    Watching a goat scratch its back with its horns makes me wish I had them.  But four legs for mountain climbing would be nice too.


Gary
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
I have found a goat stuck in a fence where something got at it. It was not a nice sight and just thinking about what that goat went through was enough for me to dehorn everything.

I've disbudded since then and as I do it myself try very hard to be quick and efficient. It hurts them.  A lot! (At the same time, I'm working on introducing the polled gene to my homestead goats. Because I have a mixed herd anyway, am trying to develop a homogeneous buck using my polled does with my best dairy bucks.

Brought the polled gene in through a polled Nigerian dwarf cross buck on one of my sable does. She had twins, one being a polled doeling and that doe just produced a set of twins, one polled doeling and one horned buck. So will keep crossing them until there is no need for dehorning anymore. Right now those kids are 3/4 sable and will be breeding the new doeling to a really nice sable buck am getting soon. There are some breeders horrified on what I'm doing locally, but they don't seem to be bothered by the pain caused by dehorning, I am though.
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
The polled gene is directly associated with the genetics which cause hermaphroditism.

I don't believe in disbudding but... I do it. I also have dwarf nigies. If I want to sell them for the price I believe they are worth, I have to disbud. Not many people out there will pay the big bucks for a horned goat. I do have some horned, some disbudded. I've never had any issues with my goats horns with one exception.. I had a buck (purchased as an adult), who loved to pinch my fingers against the fence with his horn scurs (the bits of horn that tend to grow back after disbudding on buck goats). I have, however, broken a finger in a collar on a goat-- a super tame, friendly goat. She apparently didn't realize that it was me who had a hold of her and panicked.

Horns CAN be dangerous and they do deserve respect. My goatie girls threaten my dogs as well as the coyotes with their horns. In nigies, those horns are at the right height to catch a child in the face, or most adults in the crotch. In an unexpected situation where a goat is frightened, those horns could cause injury without meaning to. I realize that I'm comparing apples to oranges here, but I think that everyone recalls a few months ago when a man in Washington state came up on the business end of a mountain goats horns. The man did not survive.

Having said all of that, horns deserve respect. I don't believe that we should disbud, I would love not to disbud, but I am need goat sales money and  horns decrase the monetary value of my goats.

As for fences... my goats haven't gotten stuck yet, horned or not. But for those people  whose goats do, it's super easy to fasten a stick across the horns with a piece of duck tape. Keeps the goats from putting their head through the fences in the first place.
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
I've done my homework on hermaphroditism Feral. It's why when given an opportunity to buy a nigi cross buck that was polled, jumped at it.

Amongst the alpine breeds there does exist that component of polled accompanying hermaphroditism.But, because once upon a time I had a very nice homozygous saanen polled buck and never had an issue with his many young, know that trait isn't set in stone for all polled goats.

I searched high and low for a buck like the one had years ago and couldn't come up with anything near his quality. He had it all. So, am recreating to the best I can with what is available to me that buck- not only polled and homozygous, but carrying the heavy milk production out of really good udders that let down readily on a large deep barrel framed body with strong feet and legs. A sweet disposition is also considered an important trait. Need to mention here also, that my goats are bred to make milk on forage, so that's another consideration.

There's more to it than that, but when you exposed to the extraordinary it's something you keep going back to.
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
Pat Maas wrote:
I've done my homework on hermaphroditism Feral. It's why when given an opportunity to buy a nigi cross buck that was polled, jumped at it.




Ahhh, very good then. There are many goat people who are clueless about it, have the great idea of having an entire herd of polled goats.... sometimes it takes them a while to realize there is a problem.

I only have one polled goat (doe) in my herd, and I'm grateful that she is not homozygous. At times I have considered the addition of polled buck, but it would sure make an impact on my future breeding plans.

Unfortunately for me, I got a nasty intro to goat genetics with the purchase of my first three nigie does (purchased bred). One of those does produced three kids who were all affected with myotonia! I no longer have that doe/offspring. I contacted the person I got them from who is known world wide for her nigies. She sympathized, but that was the end of it. She continued breeding the buck and later sold him as breeding stock. A mutual acquaintance told me that the breeder was disappointed at the high number of fainters he had produced. That's really scary as myotonia is supposed to be inherited in nigies as a simple recessive... which would mean that her does are carrying also. That was an expensive lesson and one I wish I would have missed out on.
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Sorry to hear you had that misadventure on your nigi's. When you buy and pay for "good" breeding stock, those kind of problems aren't supposed to be had. Strongly brings to question about the breeder, world known reputation or not.

Glad things are working out for you now.

For myself, oopsies like that  be it a doe or buck are relegated to the freezer. Have a couple does and doelings already slated for that this year as their mother's milking ability is in question. In two weeks I take a mother and daughter pair being dried off as they carry great weight, but have no udders literally. They and all their offspring are going in that direction by fall. Just tells me need to adjust what is being done on the breeding side of things.

Local small homestead people rely on me to provide consistent and reliable milking stock for them and their families. Nothing fancy, just does that can do a gallon a day on forage and maybe a bit of grain. I don't expect  other people to be as dedicated as I am to to milking off a forage only diet.
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
Excellent, that's how individual lines come about.

I'm always in somewhat of a dichotomy between what I want and between complying with goat politics and following the money trail as far as marketing. Maybe I'm targeting my marketing to the wrong group?

IMO--horns have nothing to do with milking and as long as they are not a detriment to the goat by curving wrong, should not be included in judging in any way.

A second opinion-- when judging dairy goats, thick or long hair is not considered to be a good trait, because the energy that could be put into milk is being put into growing hair.... as I live in an area where it is a bit on the cold side and as far as I'm concerned, the thicker and longer and more insulating the hair, the more insulative and the less I have to feed. I'd love to see some sort of studies on how this works in warmer areas, just with overall homeostasis in correlation with coat density/milk production/feed consumption.

My goats forage during very late spring/summer and starting into fall up until the day before hunting season, but the rest of the time, I feed the best alfalfa hay I can afford... am trying to find some alternatives.

I like the nigies for their personalities. The size is easy for me to handle (as long as I'm careful with my fingers <LOL>. I love the richness of the milk... which I hate to say, I rarely put to use. I dislike the smaller amount of milk produced due to physical size of the nigies.

My ideal goat would be:
full sized
can be bred anytime (not seasonal breeders)
have the inherited casein/protein that is found in nigie milk
HAIRY! (including thick undercoat which could be utilized as a goat product as well)
sweet tempered and calm
naturally parasite resistant
having a diverse heritage (not inbred, so as to preserve diversity and breed health at the MHC level)
easy milkers (nice teat size, udder orifaces, pliable udders, structurally correct udders with good capacity)
easy kidders (no C sections, or difficult deliveries)
prolific (twins or triplets)
great moms (no bottle feeding)
efficient feed utilization
long lived

for marketability and resale:
a variety of colors
a variety of eye colors (sigh... can't believe how many people buy goats because of eye
color!)

I have seriously given thought to trying to "biggie size" nigerians. There are so many serious goat people using nigie crosses such as mini-manchas, etc, that there are a lot of great genetics out there in a bit bigger package than the nigies, but I'm thinking I would prefer a FULL sized goat with nigie traits and hair (and no penalties for horns)!

If I could find others with similar interests, I would love to pursue this. There are ways set up through AGDA to do breed development. I don't know if it's worth the hassle....

But I know what I'd like, I know how to get there, just back to that dichotomy...

Feed utilization efficiency should be a priority with livestock....but...I thnk that one f
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Liked your list of what you want. Mine isn't much different.

You'd love my ladies with their heavy coats. That's the reason have some of them, too much hair for the local dairy. Am looking at ways to use their long hair. My own long time line also tends to be rather hairy also.  My "Valentina" you'd swear she has some angora in her! )

Orifice size, teat length and shape, udder attachments, width between teats etc all play a part. Although I really like my bigger does, am working on better orifices as milking a gallon plus a milking is a chore. My nubies and those crosses on the sables are a blessing- I call it milking butter as it is a pleasure milking that small group of ladies. It just flows..................

Like  you, I forage the goats as much as possible, but with the increasing prevalence of GMO alfalfa here, they get the best non GMO hay that I can afford. TDN isn't as good as the GMO alfalfa, but then also after using the GMO hay, the ladies started having problems with selenium deficiencies and a few other things. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it was GMO until too late. Paying for that now.

Our new home is well away from GMO problems and will be raising our own alfalfa. Will give me a chance to see if the TDN can be improved using natural farming methods and raw milk. Permaculture will play a part in helping the overgrazed landscape heal and in time the pasture will be what the goats and other livestock need.

Forgot to mention color. Who says milkers have to all the same color! ) LOL
The diversity of color in my herd has people stopping and looking. I can't wait until putting this years' new crop of babies out - they are very colorful! )

Am looking at a way to keep babies with mommas at least part time. Can't do it now, but next year will have the stalls to keep babies with mommas at least part time. Know some people are keeping the kids with their dams the 1st two months and then weaning the kids and milking the moms. 



Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Some very clever people here. I hope you goat breeders keep us up to date. I'd like to see how things go. My own herd is nigerian dwarfs, only a few years old and consists of 6 girls from two unrelated lines and a Buck related to none of them. I am however considering culling a few of my girls. My buck has his horns but despite his love of banging his head on the fence he has never gotten stuck, maybe the problem lies it the type of fence? My girls are a mix of horned and dehorned.

Nigies are my favorites for their small size. I don't drink enough milk to need a full size goats daily production, my doe Cutie put out a quart a day her first year and that was more than I needed most of the time anyway. I have been considering looking into adding the genetics of some other breeds to my herd but its such a new herd that major changes are low priority and my main goal is sustainability at the moment. I've got a hedge planting project this year that I am hoping will, once established, go a long way to producing a large portion of their feed.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
The type of fence is a big factor.  I've had problems with woven wire fencing and with cattle panels (right now I'm using cattle panels exclusively).  If I could afford to use no-climb horse fencing for the whole place, that would solve the problem right there.  However, I, too, would have difficulty selling my surplus kids if they were horned.  Usually surplus kids go in the freezer, but it's nice to be able to sell a good doe kid or two if I don't need them.

Kathleen
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
Oops wow, we really did get off topic.

Islandfarmer--I don't know of anyone in your neck of the woods who could teach you but you could post on craigslist (doesn't mean you'll get someone who knows how), contact your local extension office and ask for recommendations, check around and see if you have someone with a dairy goat herd who is currently kidding and doing their own disbudding.

There are some excellent disbudding articles on line as well as some videos on youtube.

I like to disbud my kids young... preferably around 3 days old.
I have a Portosol brand disbudding iron which is powered by butane and that means that it is cordless. I use a disbudding box to confine the kids and I have found that the more snug the fit in the box (not tight so they can't breathe), the calmer they remain. My box is a bit large for my kids, but I "snug it up" by adding towels or towel rolls in strategic places. When my box was made, the opening ended up being too large for my little kids. I use a piece of the tubular insulation made for pipes or a piece of one of those water "noodle" toys from the dollar store.  I hate disbudding so badly, but by having the kids confined in the box, then I can focus my attentions on making sure that my technique is good, that everything is ok (iron hot enough, proper placement, etc) without worrying about a squirming kid.

There is an excellent online article at Fiasco Farm (they have terrific goat reference information) http://fiascofarm.com/goats/disbudding.htm

From personal experience: I hated the thought of disbudding, took my first kids to a vet and most ended up with horn scurs. I decided to do learn to do it myself... then couldn't get up the nerve, so have a few horned goats. Finally decided that I might as well do it, but wimped out (don't wimp out! It's a disservice to your goats) and didn't apply the iron long enough. I have some does with scurs and bucks with nearly normal appearing horns. That's so unfair to the goats, to put them through that and not do a good job for them. I think it's one of those things that you need to do right if you are going to do it. I did a reburn once... won't do that again. The reason I won't reburn is that by the time you have a scur showing the goat is a few weeks old. The goat I reburned (also had the same experience with tattooing of older goats),was tame prior to the reburn, but has never liked to be around people since. With dogs (puppies) there is a developmental time frame (birth to 7 weeks old in most cases) where they do not retain fear associations. In my own personal experience, it is the same in goats, although I don't know the ages where they start retaining those fear associations. What I do know is that the reburn boy and the doe who I tattooed as an adult were both super friendly.. doe thought she was a lap dog. After their traumatic experiences, they are both perfectly content to not have any contact with me. Recently the disbudding I have done has been clean, without any future horn growth. Guess practice makes perfect, but I hate to practice on a living critter!

Sorry we got so off topic. Good luck to you!
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
has anyone had luck using those caustic pastes for disbudding? I've seen a great deal of mixed reviews but if it works and is done right it seems like the gentlest least traumatic way of doing it.
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Papa Bear,
      Goats have a tendency to rub that caustic paste off on everything including other goats. It sounds great, but unless you can keep them from rubbing it off I don't recommend it.
                              


Joined: Dec 27, 2010
Posts: 30
Location: Many-snow-ta
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I DO disbud my goats.  Yes, it's a nasty job, but it's better than repeatedly having to cut stuck goats out of the fence, or, worse, finding one too late after it has gotten it's head caught in the fence and died there.  Horns are little or no protection against dogs, although I've had horned goats use their horns to gore sheep that they were pastured with (and they had plenty of room).  I've never had a horned goat try to use it's horns on me, but wouldn't want to have them around young children. 

We NEVER use horns as handles even when I do have a goat with horns, because there are nerves and major blood vessels inside the horns, and goats absolutely hate to have their horns even touched, let alone used as handles.  So that's another thing to consider, if you are concerned about the goats.  I keep collars on mine, and handle by the collars.  Mine are also bottle-raised, so I have never had any problem with catching them. 

Horns are a part of the goats' cooling system, so if it gets hot where you live, that is something else to consider.  I suspect that in the winter, dark-colored horns are also part of the goats heating system, as wild goats could lay out on a rock ledge in the sun, even on a cold day, and the horns would warm up, warming the blood that circulates through them.  But that is speculation on my part. 

If you plan to milk your goats, and you plan to leave the horns on them, you'll have to build specially-designed milking stands, or just tie the goat up next to a fence and sit on the ground to milk, perhaps.

I have, as you can see, mixed feelings about leaving horns on goats vs. disbudding.  If we lived on a large acreage with fences that goats couldn't get their heads stuck in (or even better, didn't need fences at all), I'd probably leave the horns on my goats.  We don't, so I disbud.

Kathleen


x2

I have a fairly decent sized pasture and a small herd of goats. Some goats are going to beat up on others no matter how much space you have.

After getting horns in the crotch, face (all accidental from a well-meaning goat), and having to cut her out of fences several dozen times, I finally got rid of her horns using castration bands.

We disbud all of our goats since then. If you do it right, it causes minimal pain and they're back to their regular antics within minutes. Even if it is painful, I'd rather put them through that bit of pain than find them strangled in a fence after being stuck for hours in the heat.

Fortunately most Cashmere registries allow the animals to keep their horns and still be shown. I'd never disbud a fiber goat, but I have dairy goats so they don't overheat as easily.


Zone 4 in Central Many-snow-ta
Alice Kaspar


Joined: Jan 19, 2011
Posts: 70
I disbud my baby goats.  They scream from being restrained for the minute in the box.  After I'm through with the process, they bound away and see their dams, and they are fine.

As mentioned above, they don't get hung up in fences, feeders, etc.  They don't gore the udders on my milkers.

Life is good.
            


Joined: Jun 21, 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
Island farmer, here is a link to a site that has lots of info on goats.  This link goes directly to the disbudding page.

http://goat-link.com/content/view/108/105/

Mariah Wallener


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 144
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
I'm a total newbie so take this as ignorant as it may sound but...

...instead of debudding why not just use fencing that they can't get stuck in?


Permie Newbie. ruralaspirations.wordpress.com
                              


Joined: Dec 27, 2010
Posts: 30
Location: Many-snow-ta
I can only speak for myself, but the only fencing I've found that can contain goats (and even then it sometimes doesn't) is cattle paneling, which they can ultimately get stuck in. As much as I would like to spend my days herding goats around the country side it isn't very feasible, and probably not legal in most cases.
Goat kids can get their legs stuck in electrical netting and die, and even then some adult animals could care less about getting shocked, so I forgo that route.
Anna Carter


Joined: Feb 11, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Lacey, Wa
I've got smaller field fencing- two inches by 4, which I have to half because my Nigerian kids could walk through anything bigger. I've never had any trouble with horns getting stuck.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
those of you who don't disbud: are the horns sharp?  does filing the tips down a bit cause trouble?  would it be helpful for any reason?

all our goats came to us with the job already done.  planning to breed next winter, though, and this thread has been illuminating so far.


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Anna Carter


Joined: Feb 11, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Lacey, Wa
tel jetson wrote:
those of you who don't disbud: are the horns sharp?  does filing the tips down a bit cause trouble?  would it be helpful for any reason?

all our goats came to us with the job already done.  planning to breed next winter, though, and this thread has been illuminating so far.


Well, what's your definition of sharp? They are pointy, but not sharp like teeth or claws or anything. I just did a quick search on filling, so evidently some people do it. I've never had cause to consider it.
Melba Corbett


Joined: Apr 23, 2011
Posts: 160
Location: North Carolina
L8Bloomer wrote:
I'm a total newbie so take this as ignorant as it may sound but...

...instead of debudding why not just use fencing that they can't get stuck in?


Because that kind of fencing costs about 3 to 4 times as much.  A goat can run through an electric fence if you don't use multiple strands, like maybe 4 or 5 and have it very tight, so even that is not always an option.  I think most people use field fencing for goats because it is more affordable, but even it is expensive now.  That is the one they are getting hung up in. 

Yes, I've had a goat killed because it got hung up with its horns in a field fence and a predator came along and found easy pickings.   I also got gored by a goat with horns about 36 years ago when I was very pregnant.  The goat knocked me down on the ground and would not stop and I still don't know how I managed to get away.  I had trouble getting up and finally was able to grab the goat by its horns and pull myself out of harms way.  That was an animal that belonged to someone else.  I've never had a goat I raised hurt me, and all our goats now are docile and sweet.  But now I disbud all my goats. 

I certainly see both sides of the debate.  I'd prefer not to disbud.  I find it very distasteful to do it to an animal, but I've seen them nearly kill each other with horns just because they didn't like one of the other goats or they took a bite of something they wanted themselves. 

We always make sure the iron is very hot and it is quickly over.  Keep a piece of wooden board handy to try the disbudding iron on to see if you get a dark burn around the entire perimeter of the iron when you press it on the board.  If so it is hot enough, but reheat it again a little just to make sure.   The kids bleat horribly but it is all over in about 10 seconds or less per horn bud.   I put aloe on the burn to immediately soothe it.  A lot of the bleating is from fear because they are restrained, but yes, I'm sure it really hurts them too.  The younger the kid, the less developed the nervous system is and the easier on the animal, but they have to be old enough you can feel the horn bud.  Sooner and it will not work.  Three days old is usually just about right, but sometimes bucks can't wait that long as their horns erupt sooner than the does (usually).  Sometimes a doe can go nearly two weeks, but if a sharp point is starting to be felt on the head, it is too late to disbud.  They act like nothing has happened as soon as they are released from the disbudding box.   You have to wiggle the iron around the horn bud to make a clean copper ring, or you will probably get horn scurs.  We've found that the really hot iron works best and it is over quicker with less pain to the animal.

On the other side of the equation, they have at least a little protection from predators if they have horns.. 


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Joined: May 04, 2011
Posts: 19
Location: 5a, cool humid, 34"rf,
I have been raising goats for about 12 yrs now and heres what I know.

1. Horns make great handles. I havent had one fall off in my hand yet.

2. goats with horns get their head stuck in fence openings that are directly proportional to their head and horn width. At my place with grass fed animals, this occurs from 4-7 months of age for standard woven wire and 1-2 yrs old in cattle panels. Solution= tape or twine a stick onto the horns  of the offender across ways of their head (front) about 4 times the width of their head.
3. horn spurs can kill a goat if left unattended to grow into their skull, just as deadly as lettiing them keep getting stuck in a fence. Damage is already done. solution= use a rubber mallet and bash the spur off. spray with iodine spray and tell the goat sorry for giving it a headache.
4. Do yourself a favor and quit feeding grain, this makes their hooves and horns grow faster. I spot trim hooves when i see them. that means i trim about 1 in 20 goats hooves once a year. I have nubian, kiko, boer, spanish, and savanah blood in my herd. Kiko and savanah blood help with the hoof care.
5. most types of  fences will keep goats in. ive seen two hot wires and a ground in the middle keep adults in. You just have to keep them well fed. Most grain fed animals arent well fed, theyre just fat, and seek their original true nutrition, browse. Yes, if you have a hole they will find it . this is their curious nature.
Sorry about being brutally honest but these things hold true on my pasture.


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subject: disbudding kids
 
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