Monday, May 5, 2014

Horns of Shame

Herman, sporting the Horns of Shame.  I'm tempted to
hang some little dingle berries or ornaments from the ends.

Penny, showcasing the newest in Horns of Shame fashion.
When researching the horned vs. hornless aspect of goat ownership, I had originally decided on a hornless goat herd.  Our first two goats, Nettie and Chop Suey, were disbudded when we got them.  All subsequent kids born on this farm were disbudded by Paul and I.  After eating a few of the male offspring, I decided that I really, really liked the taste of goat meat so I figured that our next step would be to add some Boers to the mix.  But I've never seen a hornless Boer, so really the only way to get a hornless Boer goat was to buy a very young bottle baby and disbud it.  Enter Pickles.

She was a two day old Boer doeling who was pulled from her mother because she suddenly became ill and wasn't producing milk.  We brought Pickles home and disbudded her and she became the start of our meat goat herd.  But in order for us to get any meat (other than butchering Pickles herself, which I honestly now contemplate at least on a weekly basis) we had to have her bred to another Boer.

Thus I acquired an additional two Boer goats, Herman and Lily.  Who both have horns.  Which I said I would never do, but I just could not find anyone with Boer kids young enough to disbud.  My plan was to have both Pickles and Lily bred to Herman, keep the offspring (and disbud them) and then sell Lily and Herman.  But Lily's doeling is really turning out to be a little chunky-monkey and I think it may be worth it to keep Lily around, even with the horn issue.  Which isn't actually that bad with her as the way her horns are growing down and back, there's less likely of a chance for a horn accident like there was with Penny and Nettie.

Penny was acquired in hopes of doing the same thing; keep her just until she kidded, disbud the kid(s) and then sell her.  But before that happened, we had the "horn incident".  It totally ruined Nettie's udder and almost cost her her life.  Penny has pointy horns and ones that kind'a curve up at the end instead of downwards like Lily's.  Thus she's been fitted with the horns of shame - something I should have done when we first got her.  The hose doesn't stay on all of the time so I'm finding it in the goat yard and having to put it back on, but at least it's some sort of protection.

Herman's horns, on the other hand, are not posing a real threat to anyone except himself as he's penned up separate from the rest of the herd.  Why are his horns a threat to him?  Well, because I want to bash his stupid noggin in because I have to go out and get his head unstuck from the fence about fifteen hundred times a day.  Like, really Herman?  You haven't figured this out yet?  I'll push his head out and five minutes later he's hollering again because he's stuck.  Often I just leave him there for a while if he's not in a compromising position.  Maybe because I'm secretly hoping that a coyote will come chew his head off and then we can eat the bastard.  And it's not like there's anything on the other side of the fence.  He doesn't even get it stuck through the fence with the does, it's the other sides.  Where there is not a single stinking blade of grass or green thing to eat.  I swear to gawd he does it just to piss me off.

So finally yesterday I talked Paul into going into his pen and helping me duct tape a length of PVC pipe to his horns in order to prevent him from sticking his fat noggin through it.  Which he ended up doing somehow anyways as he was bawling about an hour and a half later.  Which made it even MORE difficult to release him.  But after getting my fingers smashed between horn & fence and lots and lots of swearing, I got his head out.  It's now been a full 24 hours since I've had to extricate him.  But now there's the constant click-clack-click-clack-click-clack of the PVC pipe hitting the fence as he runs the perimeter.

Which still beats having to go out there to free him a dozen times a day.

And is still infinitely less annoying than Pickles screaming.


  1. This is exactlu what we do with our horned works wonders to keep their heads out of the fence and hurting each need to ever disbud another little kid!! Glad to see others doing this as well...we have been doing this for the 14 years we have raised goats, never had an issue with horns in fences or goats hurting one another...

  2. My girl is probably worse than Pickles now :/ She is usually really quite but now that she's in milk she doesn't shut up! It's driving me nuts!!!! It's really bad in the mornings and from about 3pm-7pm. Nothing worse than a hollering goat. I think it's in her genes because baby girl likes to cry out now for no reason what so ever. I may have two annoyingly loud goats on my hands :/

  3. You could use some of that duct tape on Pickles. In the maw area. That is a clever use of PVC - he looks like Princess Leia undone...heehee.

  4. LOL! You do know what "dingle berries" are, right?

  5. I currently only have one doe with horns and she is my BEST milker so she stays. Luckily for her (or rather ME) she quit sticking her head through the fence when she was about two.

  6. Silly goats!!!! I have lights to go on the PVC Pipe.

  7. I've had the horn of shame on many of my goats. One of the reasons I sold them..... lol

  8. The Homestead Lady: The buck goat's horns we did is about to fall off already. How did you do yours?

    Kelly, Gawd help you if you have a screaming-mimi like Pickles...times TWO nonetheless.

    Susan, now why didn't I think of duct tape? May as well just call the ASPCA on me now because that's too good of an idea to pass up.

    Scott/Pam: I knew someone would catch that. I know what dingleberries are, but I couldn't think of the name of those little fuzzy balls that the Mexican kids would hang in their cars.

    Candy, my goats are just too dumb. I mean, wouldn't you figure it out eventually???

    Nancy, oh, if only I laughed as much as I swore.

    ME Masterson, hard not to write about stuff like this. I have almost unlimited fodder for blog posts just 100' away from my front door.

    Sandy, maybe some of those hillbilly lights that people put on their campers shaped like chili peppers or fish???

    SFG, did they STAY on the goats? That seems to be the problem I'm having now.