Dealing with horns...

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by Abra, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Abra

    Abra Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    Wasilla, Alaska
    I wanted to ask how you deal with the horns on your goats. We have some babies that are due in April, and hubby does not want to dehorn them. He prefers to keep the animals as natural as he can. That, and I showed him a video of someone dehorning a kid. He thought it was barbaric. I was open to the concept either way since I really don't have an opinion on it, so I left the decision up to him.
    I don't mind leaving the babies horned at all. And yet I wonder... Does it take away from their value if they have horns? Are the harder to sell horned? Are they more dangerous to each other?
    I have already learned a valuable lesson from 1 of my girls two times over. Once she lifted her head when I was filling her feed bucket and bent over too low. There isn't a doubt in my mind that if I didn't have my glasses on, I would have lost an eye. Instead I walked away with just a severely black eye. The second time was in the "groin", and also around the food (same doe). Delilah is NUTS when it comes to food!!! (both times were accidental, and she didn't mean to do it on purpose)
    The question I have is, how do I make these things safer, not only for myself but also for my family. Especially my children (they are still small. One is only 9 in the other one is 6).

    Someone told me to buy tennis balls, cut some holes in them and put them on the tips of horns. Have you ever heard of this? Does anyone else have any better ideas?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  2. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    The age old question.
    I have gotten black eyes from grabbing feed pan when she raised her head unexpectedly. Then again; if I didnt get my face in there & they DIDNT have horns I would have still have had a black eye.
    Having said that, disbudding is not barbaric if done properly & Im a proponent for leaving them on meat breeds.
    Tennis balls work on a goat who thinks she can use her horns.
    As for fence, if someone keeps sticking her head through she gets a long stick duct taped to her horns.

  3. ThreeHavens

    ThreeHavens 7 does - 2 bucks - 1 wether

    Oct 20, 2011
    New Jersey
    I've been bopped in the head by my disbudded girl and that hurt enough :laugh: I agree, if done properly, disbudding is not barbaric and over in a manner of seconds.

    I think the tennis ball idea is a good one. Some people use glue, some use duct tape. That will make any hit to someone's face a little less dangerous. You can also sort of "sand paper" the ends of her horns so that they're not as pointy.
  4. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I had a lapse in judgement one year and didn't disbud my wethers that I was planning to sell for meat...I figured how much damage could they possibly do in 4 months? Well, it turns out...A LOT! LOL! After a lot of bruises and ripped clothing we finally resorted to this:

    We drilled holes in golf balls and super glued them onto the horns so at least they would not be so pointy and get caught on everything. Never leaving horns on dairy kids again on this farm! :)
  5. geonjenn

    geonjenn Member

    Oct 3, 2012
    Northeast Texas
    When we got our first bottle babies, we had to decide quickly and decided to not dehorn them. Later, we had to find a new home for the adult doe we bought at the same time as the babies because she was using her horns against the rest of the does we acquired later (never against the two bottle babies, as she sort of took them as her own minus nursing). As the two bottle babies got older and their horns started growing in, I frenquently got poked in the stomach, and thighs - and their horns were still small. They did not use them aggressively against any of the other goats or us, but they still got me with them accidently. The two sets of twins that were born here, we took to someone to disbud them and I hated it, but it was over very quickly, with seemingly very little pain or discomfort to the babies. I think it was harder on us than them. So we made the (better informed) decision to not have horns and had someone help us band the two girls and our wether that we acquired with horns already full grown. So far, the wether and one of the girls each have one horn still left and the other girl turned her head while I was holding her and both horns came off. There was lots of blood when the horns have started coming off and the goats are obviously hurting. We will never ever ever ever (EVER) band horns again. Since we don't want horned goats, we will disbud from now on and not buy/accept goats with horns. That's not to say that I believe everyone should disbud their goats. That is a decision each has to make and there's nothing wrong with horns as long as you know how to deal with them. My point is to make an informed decision before it is made for you once they're too old to disbud (initially we did not make an informed decision). Also, I know that there are certainly people who have no problem with banding the horns later, but I hated it and don't ever want to do it again (EVER). :)
  6. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    We have meat goats and never dishorn them and I have 3 kids who are always around them, never been hurt. You just really have to learn to be careful around them IMO, If your doing something like pouring feed, you need to maintain a distance with the notion 'what if she jumps up' I always do this. What if, and so far I've been lucky.
    Now I've had plenty of bruises for accidental swipes, mostly on my legs.
    We do have a young doe who I call 'psycho goat' one minute she wants to be near you, the next she gets crazy and tries to dart past you to get out of the door. Psycho goat is the only one I have to worry about.

    You can tip the horns so they aren't too sharp, and sand them, just becareful not to cut too much and hit a vein.
    4-H wethers at our county fairs have to be tipped. My daughter showed a doe last year who was twice her size with horns, and never ever had an issue. Those two were best buddies, they just adored each other. I can't recall a time the doe ever accidentally hit her with a horn.

    But again, you just have to know how to move around them, and expect that they might move, you just have to keep a distance between them and the horns.
  7. Dani-1995

    Dani-1995 Active Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Greenville, NC
    Agree! The wethers I buy usually come dehorned but it doesn't matter to me either way. Horns or no horns it should be the rest of the goat that counts. I've had people tell me that horns are ugly and well, goats have horns. Yes they can be dangerous but if you know how to respect them then you will be just fine. I have a six year old brother and always goats with horns and got hit once when he was torturing the poor goat. IMO he asked for that one. It ended up with a.small bruise on his arm but he learned not to be rough.

    I prefer to look beyond horns.. after all you don't eat or milk the horns so why worry too much about them?
  8. mjgh06

    mjgh06 New Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Middle Georgia
    It may be just my goats or my area, but I've never had any troubles with horns and I actually have customers calling requesting horned goats. I have a soon to be 8yo DD and she is always around the goats. So far not one issue. All of our goats we have raised from babies and they know if they crowd me when I go to feed, they don't get fed. I leave the area and come back in 20mins. So they have learned that they stay their distance and wait until I fill the feeders and leave before they rush in.

    I tried disbudding with paste this year - first time. And I will do it again -if requested. Other than that my goats will be horned.
  9. Dani-1995

    Dani-1995 Active Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Greenville, NC
    How exactly does the paste work? Is there a certain age or stage it works best?

    I'm looking for options to remove small scurs on wethers. I can always cut them down but they just keep growing back.
  10. PiccoloGoat

    PiccoloGoat goat girl x0x0

    Sep 10, 2008
    The paste stops the growth but you use it when they are young kids before they start growing.
  11. Dani-1995

    Dani-1995 Active Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Greenville, NC
    Thanks! I've heard of it but never known anyone to use it. Oh well, ill just have to trim and file if I need too.
  12. NyGoatMom

    NyGoatMom Shady Acre Homestead Supporting Member

    I take Hoosiers approach~ I always assume they will be throwing their head back.