Friday, September 10, 2010

Please Disbud Your Kid Goats

Goats are sweet and wonderful, but if you have goats, you have fences. And if you have fences you are likely to have horns in the fences, or feeders, or other goats.

We've had experiences with goats and horns. Not good ones. Although I don't have any graphic images in this post, I talk about some graphic incidents in an effort to help people understand why we disbud our kid goats. So, don't read any further if you don't want to read gross stuff.

Vet2Be's first goat, Mama, was a sweet mixed breed goat. We never drank her milk, but she seemed to have plenty. That was before we did the 'dairy goat' thing.

Mama is on the right. She is with her friend, Riley. Vet2Be's first goats! Both sweet, gentle!
Graphic Story One
One afternoon we went out to find a bloody mess. Mama had apparently got one horn stuck in the fence and ripped it out. The photo above shows her with both horns. The broken one never did grow back.

Graphic Story Two
Our doctor also has a few dairy goats. One day they got home from work and found one of their favorite does laying dead in a puddle of blood with blood sprayed around the pen. She had gotten her horn stuck in the fence and ripped it off. She was so shaken up that she ran around the pen and bled to death.

Now, visit Tonia's blog and read her story, too....
What prompted this post was Tonia's posts about her sweet goat. You can read them here and here. Her blog is called The Simple Life. If you are thinking about leaving horns on your goats, you should read her posts, too, and all the comments.

Disbudding Last Week
Last week we disbudded 3 little Nubians. They were about 10 days and 12 days old. Disbudding is never a fun job. Usually we disbud by the time they are 5 days old because it is less traumatic for the little ones than it is for the big ones. The two families had brought their 3 goat kids along with one of the family's 8 year old girls.

Please... don't bring your little children to watch this, it is heartbreaking for them! I would wait until children are 12 or so, at least so that they understand that this is a really hard job to do!

If you are uncomfortable about disbudding your kids, call someone who can do it. They will probably be happy to help (we don't even charge to help!) and they probably won't make you watch. We certainly don't make goat owners watch unless they want to.

It's an awful job, but if you have dairy goats, or any goats besides Angoras, consider disbudding. For the safety of your animals, your other animals, your family, and your visitors.


~Tonia said...

It is an awful thing to have something happen like we did with Dottie. As I mentioned before Horns no longer have any place here on our little farm. Its to dangerous and to many instances have happened for us..
I have had kids younger than 12 watch. I am the local county 4H goat project leader. But I tell them its stinks, they holler for a few minutes but then its done.
When I disbud I trim/clip all the hair aroudn the horn bud that minimizes a lot of the burning hair smell.
The very first time I burnt horns I didnt get it down right. Their horns grew of course and they grew really close to their heads. So they had to be dehorned which is much harder on the goat. I learned to turn deaf ears for the few seconds it takes. I also try and get it down before they are 2 weeks old Especially bucks!

TJ said...

You are right, if they have goats, and are in 4H then it would be a good idea to have them come watch. The little girl that came cried and cried at each little goat that was disbudded.

Even though I've tried to get both families to send their kids to 4H, they haven't done it. If you have a good 4H leader (we have a fantastic one) then the kids learn so much about their pet goat and how to properly care for them!

Still sorry for your loss, thank you so much for posting about it and letting me link to your blog. I hope it will save a life somewhere.