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To Disbud or Not

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Stacykins, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    I am having a really hard time trying to make a decision on goats I don't even have yet! I am going to get a pair of dwarf Nigerian doelings (if all goes well) from a breeder next spring, already put down the deposit. Anyway, I am angsting over whether I should disbud them or not.

    Pros about horns:
    Natural cooling system
    Can be used for defense
    Disbudding is painful
    Scurs from improper disbudding

    Cons about horns:
    Dangerous to handler/herdmates
    Can get caught in fences - death of goat if not caught quick enough
    Most shows have "no horn policy"
    Broken horn = massive blood loss

    I am honestly leaning towards disbudding. But if the breeder doesn't do it before I pick the kids up, I don't think I'd be able to do it myself the first time. I'd need someone to show me how firsthand. I don't want to mess up and hurt the babies! I don't know of anyone else in my area who keeps goats, so not sure where to start to find a local goat mentor who could help.

  2. elevan

    elevan Songster Premium Member

    If you're not a member of the sister site yet, I would suggest you check it out www.backyardherds.com there are a lot of goat folks there.

    I personally prefer horns but my herd is a 50/50 mix of horned and disbudded. I have never had a goat get caught in the fence. My "meanest" goat is disbudded and she could do a lot more damage without horns than any with horns imo. With or without horns harm can come to any handler who isn't properly paying attention. Horns very rarely break if the goat is getting proper nutrients. And you're right most shows have a no horn policy for NDs.

    It's a personal choice on your part. If you wanna show, you'll have to disbud. All other reasons to go one way or the other come down to what you believe.
  3. mom2jedi

    mom2jedi Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Even though I don't own goats (yet) when we started looking into them a bit ago I had decided to make sure any we got were disbudded. I know it's a bit scary but with four children, two of which are under 10, it just made more sense to not have horns. I believe it's done really early so you may have to talk to your breeder to make sure you know if she'll do it before you get your kids or not.

    I agree that doing it the first time on your own without an experienced handler with you is not a good idea. As for finding someone local that has goats to show you how it's done, maybe try posting on craigslist? I search there every now and then and have found there is a farm only a couple miles away that not only will disbud but has husbandry classes on everything from gardening to raising livestock to butchering.
  4. elevan

    elevan Songster Premium Member

    Disbudding is generally done within days of birth and usually less than 1 week old.
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I had my goats dis-budded. Thats the only way i'd ever have a goat. They get it done as very young babies and survive it just fine!
    Just make SURE the person doin git REALLY knows what they are doing... or the horn can grow back..and its a nightmare to go through horn re-moval surgery..a nightmare!
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    All my goats have had horns and I really prefer them with their natural hood ornaments! It's never been a big deal or an issue at all. I've never had a goat get caught in a fence or cause injury to another goat, or me, with the horns. I think the horns actually offer some protection when they are head butting each other. The horns take the brunt of it instead of them just bashing away on each other's heads while they play.

    I do agree that if small children were going to be involved I'd want de-horned goats. They are just at the wrong height and it's to easy to get a horn in the face by accident.

    Ask your breeder what they normally do. If they disbud their own and you want yours done then they will do it when they are just a few days old most likely.
  7. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Songster

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I have 2 goats with horns and 3 w/o. I love the way they look with horns, and they've never butted any human----adult or child (neither did the 2 ND wethers I had who also had horns). I've never had then get thier horns caught in anything----and my bucks pen is fenced with cattle panels. I am just getting ready to start breeding for the first time, and my biggest dilemma is also about dis-budding the babies. I plan to sell pretty much all babies, and I know they'll be easier to sell w/o horns, I just wish it wasn't so. Good luck with your decision.

  8. lishah2000

    lishah2000 Songster

    Mine have their horns. The wether is full grown and his are pretty big, but he seems to have good control of them. Hasn't been an issue at all. I loved to watch him play head butting with the girls when they were smaller. He would rear up and really come down, but would stop before hitting them, then let them butt him. The girls are still young, but they are probably 3 inches long now. No issues with them either. I check on them a lot, but haven't had any of them get stuck on anything.

    I'm happy they have them if they ever need to protect themselves.
  9. FreckleFace

    FreckleFace In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2011
    When I first started doing research on getting goats a few months ago, I read all the warnings that new goat owners must never have goats with horns. It seemed an easy decision - of course we would get goats without horns. But the two little ND girls that we fell in love with have horns and were too old for disbudding. I was really nervous about it and almost passed on getting them. I'm so glad I didn't, though!

    Our two goats are about 8 months old and have never once used their horns in an aggressive manner on us or on each other. They do some normal head-butting stuff with each other when they're playing or if I bring out a special treat, like a piece of bread. But they never really seem intent on hurting each other.

    We also have lots of kids over and the goats have never been a problem. Of course, we're responsible and never let kids in the pen unattended. I think the goats are more likely to hurt someone accidentally by jumping up on them for attention or food than with their horns. They're just so sweet. And I love the way the horns look - it just seems much more natural that way. And I can't tell you how much the goats love being scratched all around the base of their horns - they just melt into you!

    Everyone's situation is different, though. This is just what works best for us. Best of luck with your decision! [​IMG]
  10. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    Quote:As for goats getting their horns caught in the fence it depends on what kind of fences you have and how nosy the goat is. I have field fence and livestock panel. I have had goats get caught in the fences and die in our summer heat. I have also pulled other people's goats' heads out of fences. Animals on pasture that I just happened to see as I drove by. As for the pain of disbudding, it hurts for maybe ten seconds. Some people like horns. So do I. On other peoples' goats. Not mine. They do make nice handles though. And they look nice. A friend had a beautiful Alpine buck with a huge rack. He was magnificent. When he died she had the head mounted.

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