Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#^%!*&#?! Horns

I did it to myself.  I said that we weren't going to keep horned goats.  But then came the Boers, Herman and Lily.  Though in my defense, it's basically impossible to get a hornless Boer goat and the only reason Pickles is hornless is that I got her as a two-day old and we disbudded her ourselves.

Then I found MamaGoat, the Mini-Saanen.  Who had horns.  Suckered into that, but she's a great milker for her size.  Then during late Summer last year, I had a friend of mine beg me to take her Nigerian mix doe and her doeling.  Both of which had horns.  I sold the doeling, but NewNew is still with us.

And when I traded Olivia for Penny, a pregnant "Boer" goat three months ago, she also had horns (and also turned out to be not so much 100% Boer but a Boer/Nubian mix).

So much for a hornless herd of goats.

I don't care what you think of horns on goats; you think what you gotta think and do what you gotta do.  I personally think they are very majestic looking and honestly believe that goats should have horns.....but I do not like them on our farm.  Rhiannon has had a few close calls with the horned members of our herd when feeding time comes around.  She now knows that she's not supposed to feed or clip the horned goats.  I don't let her play with them.  And I've been accidentally poked with a rogue horn here or there.  They don't do it on purpose, it's just that those things are just, like, there.

But we did have an "on purpose" horn incident yesterday evening.  Which had me up most of the night with nightmares.

Penny, the horned Boer/Nubian mix is on the bottom of the pecking order.  She gets picked on a lot.  Yesterday I came into the goat pen with some treats and on cue, everyone came running up to me to get a Cheeze It.  Nettie is herd queen so she's first in line and while her front end was occupied munching on cheese flavored snackies, Penny came up behind her and gored her in the udder.  Like gored her so hard Nettie's back end was picked up for a second.  I immediately screamed in my scary banshee like voice for everyone to get the heck out of the way (and of course they played deaf and kept at me because they thought I had more snacks).  I threw the Cheeze Its across the yard and went to look at Nettie's udder.  Which was gushing.  GUSHING blood.  Had I not been so intent on getting Nettie into the barn and away from everyone else I would have put a bullet in Penny's head right then and there (yes, I know, it's not her "fault", yadda, yadda, yadda, but I was beyond pissed).  I got Nettie up in the milk stand and surveyed the situation.  I've never seen such a constant gush of blood.  I put my hand over it to try and stop it, but it only drained right through my fingers and into an increasing sized pool on the barn floor.  I didn't want to leave, but I ran to the house, got a bunch of towels and the blood-stop powder and ran back.  Still bleeding.  Her udder was covered in bright red, her back leg was soaked, the barn was a mess.  It looked like a scene from a horror movie.

I got Nettie out of the milk stand and into the clean kidding pen and finally got the wound to clot a bit.  She eventually laid down and I didn't get her back up right away afraid that it would start bleeding again.

I have no idea how much blood a goat can lose before going into shock.  I'm surprised that I didn't go into shock.  But I bet she lost a pint of blood.  I stayed with her in the barn for a while.  She was still laying down but grunting more.  Although she's been grunting for a few days now since she's large from being pregnant and, of course, due to kid in a week.  Great.

I eventually got Nettie more comfortable (or at least that's what I'm telling myself) and was able to get some Probios & B12 down her maw (figured it wouldn't hurt) and a shot of oxytetracyclene (antibiotic to ward of infection from the wound).  She was still interested in grain so I gave her a few hand fulls.  Checked on her right before bed, once during the night and around 5:30 this morning.  She's still laying down, but has been moving around a little bit because there are three piles of goat turds in the pen.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the wound yet.  I think that I'll just make sure it doesn't open up again at least until I can get Paul to help me later today.  I may have to open it up to clean it out or if it's really bad, maybe stitch it together (or use super glue?  I've heard of that).

The last time she had a small tear in her udder, I just kept irrigating it with hydrogen peroxide and gave her an antibiotic shot.  Oh, didn't I tell you?  I found her with a smaller tear in her udder just a week and a half ago.  And at the time I couldn't figure out how she got it, but now I'm pretty sure it was Penny.

Penny is in a separate pen, awaiting a decision on my part.  NewNew (the other horned goat) has been in the local sale paper since last night.  MamaGoat I really want to keep so she will have her horns banded this weekend. And as for Herman and Lily?  I don't like the horns, but they are kind of a different shape.  Not pointy like Penny's or NewNews horns, they lay back so they really aren't a "poking or puncturing" kind'a horn.  And since they are much larger, I don't want to band them.  Besides, if I can find a newborn Boer buckling this spring I'll buy him, disbud him and get rid of Herman; we'll be needing new bloodlines anyhow.  So that will just leave Lily with horns.

It's starting to get light outside now so I'm going back out to check on Nettie again.  Fun times I'm telling ya, fun times.


  1. Oh my gosh Carolyn. I wouldn't have any idea what to do!

  2. Oh, dang and drat! I'm already thinking of when she kids and the little ones butting her udder as they do. Gak. You'll know more when you can have Paul help you later today. Stitching may be the best way to go (to keep it closed) depending on the severity of the wound.

    We always disbudded our kids and bought/swapped for goats with no horns. But I know that's not always possible. Besides the damage horns can do to humans and other animals, there are too many stories of goats dying by getting their heads stuck in places you would never guess they could/would.

    Keep us updated on how Nettie is doing. Fingers crossed.

  3. Oh crap! I hope Nettie's udder heals up well before she kids, keep us posted :/

  4. sounds like you did great in a real emergency situation. I'm sure I would have totally freaked out.
    I'm becoming more and more convinced that my dream of having a small herd of goats one day just might not happen.
    I hope Nettie gets better soon.

  5. I wouldn't want anything with horns on the farm either. Good luck with the wound. I have never stitched anything....I would probably be taking her to the vet.

    You sure want it sealed up pretty good if her udder will be swelling the nearer she gets to have a baby. Good luck with it.

  6. Get some Colloidal Silver, put some in a spray bottle and spray the udder. Should clear it up in no time. All of my goats have horns. I am going to try the tennis ball thing I've been reading about when I start milking again. Cut an x in the ball and slip it on the horn. Some use a drop or two of superglue if there is a problem with the ball coming off. Hope Nettie mends quickly!

  7. Those horns can be a pain!!!! I had a fainter that would pick up the babies with her horns. (Another reason I'm getting out of the goat business.) I'm glad you were there to stop the bleeding. That poor udder is gonna be sore!!!! Hope the baby can still eat from her. Good luck!

  8. Holey Crap, Carolyn! Poor Nettie! And talk about timing...mine were all supposed to be dehorned, but Apple grew tiny little devil-imp pointy horns and Sage's dehorning was poorly done. But, geez. I hope you can get her udder wound healed up quickly.

  9. Could you use some butterfly bandaids? To hold things together???

  10. Yikes! I would have totally freaked out! Penny is lucky you were preoccupied and I would have felt the same way about her. I do have one goat (my best milker) with horns but, luckily, she is the herd queen. I have already decided that I don't want anymore with horns though. I hope Nettie's udder is okay for the kids to nurse.