Goat Horns And Disbudding
Goats normally have horns. Horns grow from horn buds, beginning in the very first week of life; except in polled goats, which are goats that naturally have no horns.
Being polled is a genetic trait, meaning that at least one of the kid's parents has to be polled for the kid to be polled.
Some people do prefer to leave the horns for various reasons, including that they feel that it is more natural for the goat and on goats that produce fibre, because it is believed that the horns are involved in body temperature dispersion.
This is all true, but horns can lead to serious problems. Horns have a tendency to get tangled in fencing or in any twine, such as baling twine that comes in the bales of hay that make up the goats' diet, and they can seriously injure themselves in their panic to get free.
It is also a fact that goats like to spar with each other. Goats equipped with horns can seriously injure each other and other animals, including humans.
Goats also like to butt and horns can hurt... a lot.
Never mix horned goats with polled goats because the horned goats have an unfair advantage.
Most goat owners disbud their goats, which is where the horn buds are removed using a hot iron. In many places this is done without anaesthetics. It is a better practice to use local anaesthetics, or even general anaesthesia.
It seems like a barbaric and cruel practice, but the kids recover quickly from the procedure. It is normally done within the first two weeks of life, depending on how fast the horns are growing.
For males that have horns that can grow very fast, it might even need to be done within the first week.
There are various types of disbudding irons on the market. When choosing a disbudding iron to buy, what is important is that the heat is evenly distributed.
If general anaesthesia is not used, a disbudding box will also be needed, which is made out of wood. You place the goat in the disbudding box with only its head remaining on the outside.
About half an hour before the procedure, the kids are given a painkiller. After the horn buds are burned, a shiny copper ring will remain on the head. If not done properly, scurs may occur, which are the partial re-growth of the horns. These can be surgically removed by a veterinarian, or left alone.
|4th March 2016|
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