Thursday, July 5, 2012

Burning Pickles

As much as I dreaded having to take care of a bottle-baby, this seemed like the only real opportunity to be able to have a hornless female Boer goat.  Boers normally keep their horns so by getting an orphan at only a few days after birth, we would be able to disbud her within the ideal time frame - before a week old.

We did the nasty deed early this morning before it got too hot.  As usual, the head-shaving was just as traumatic as the burning.   But there were no hard feelings afterwards and she was begging for a bottle just as soon as we got her out of the disbudding box.

So why do we partake in this cruel disfigurement of our goats?   Personally, I like the look of a goat with horns.  But it is for purely selfish reasons on our part. I do not want to untangle goat heads and horns from fencing or cattle panels - like fifteen times a day.   I do not want to have to deal with goat-horn inflicted damage to udders, other goats, or myself.  And I believe that de-horned goats have a better chance of selling.

I don't mean to say that those of you with horned goats are doing it wrong.   Actually, I really believe that you are doing it the best way; naturally.  But even though I go through the same "should we, shouldn't we" question in my mind come every kidding season, I still think we're doing the right thing.  

For our farm.


  1. I'm with you on the hornless issue. But recently my hubby said that should we ever get back into goats again, he would consider leaving the kids with horns because it's more natural and perhaps even contributes to their overall health. Uh-oh. Is this going to make for a knock-down-drag-out fight here someday?

  2. You gotta go with what you believe is best for your goats and if there are such "obstacles" around your farm, you gotta do what you do.

  3. You are really going to use this name to its fullest potential, aren't you? Both of mine were disbudded and are growing scurs. Which they (Sage) gets caught in the fence whenever she gets a chance.

  4. Mama Pea, I often wonder if we started with fencing that was "horn proof" before we got the goats if I would still keep them disbudded. I really do love the look of horns.

    RiverBendFarm, I know but sometimes I think that we should have started with horn-proof fence to begin with. Live & learn, right?

    Susan, Gonn'a use "Pickles" whenever I can - I LOVE saying PICKLES!! We've only had a scur with one of the male bucklings we disbudded (I think we've done over 20)and it was small enough to be able to wiggle back & forth until it could come off. I think the problem is that people are afraid to burn too much (not that I over burn or torture) but we just take our time and make sure we don't have to do it again.

    Oh, and you'd think that after getting your head stuck in a fence like fifty-million times that you would finally figure it's a good idea NOT to stick your head through it - nope, not goats!

  5. definitely the fencing thing is what would make me think twice about going natural...

  6. It is rather annoying to have to free the silly goats when they get their heads stuck and you are right, THEY NEVER LEARN!! We have "holes" in the cattle panels to prove it! LOL!!

  7. Thats the cool thing about farming in America. We have lots of choices. We don't dehorn our calves but we did dehorn our goats. They are so much more....goofy :)