Going to be doing my first disbudding this weekend...Nervous

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by cyanne, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    Okay, so I know some people have strong opinions on this topic, and I don't want to start a debate on whether or not to disbud kids...

    We are planning to show, so our NDs will have to be disbudded. I looked into having it done by a vet and that whole idea was a bust. There are only 2 large animal vets in my area...one wanted $25 per kid to do it and it did not inspire confidence when she said it had been quite some time since they had done one and they'd have to "dig around' to see if they could find their iron and see if it still worked okay (yeah, and I'm supposed to pay YOU to do it when you aren't sure if you remember how or if your equipment is even in working order?).

    The second vet wanted $37 to do it...she said that price included the CD&T shot. Now, that threw me for a loop because I do vaccinate with the CD&T (30 days before kidding, 3 wks after, then 6wks after, then every 6 months), but everything I read said you are supposed to give them Tetanus ANTITOXIN before disbudding because it is the fast acting kind that lasts like 10 to 14 days so it's the one that is recommended anytime you do stuff like disbud or band bucklings. Makes me nervous when it sounds like she does not even really know the right meds to give.

    She also wanted to give some sort of sedation for the disbudding, and she is the vet that I called before who told me that the ONLY acceptable way to neuter bucklings was to wait 6 months and then have the testicles surgically removed while under general anesthesia. She swore that bucks that are banded only live a year or two due to lack of testosterone at an early age making the urethra too narrow. This pretty much goes against everything I've heard from EVERY breeder I've talked to on the subject and most of what I have read online so I don't really have a lot of confidence in her abilities or judgement as a goat vet. I mean, I know they can have issues and that is why we don't feed a lot of grain, but I don't think they just automatically drop dead after a year or so either.

    So, I decided I might as well learn how to do this myself if I planned on breeding and showing. I currently only have 1 kid of an age to be disbudded, and she is not one of my show girls, but I figured since they share a pasture I would rather not have some of my goats armed with horns while the others weren't, not to mention it is comforting to know that if I ever sell her she has a better chance at finding a good home since horned goats are difficult to sell as pets and usually end up as BBQ around here...plus, and I know this is an awful thought, I thought I'd rather do the first disbudding on one of the unregistered goats. That way if it does not come out perfectly I won't freak out because I've ruined one for showing.

    So, I have read and re-read everything I can find on HOW to do it, and I bought the Rhinehart X30 iron since that was the one I saw recommended the most...now I just have to do the deed. Not, not, not looking forward to it. I just have to keep reminding myself that, according to all of the websites and the lady at Pecan Hollow (I bought goats from her so now I call to pick her brain for info anytime I can get away with it) the experience is not that traumatic for them and they go right back to nursing and playing within minutes.

    So, wish me (and the doeling) luck...I guess or send supportive thoughts this way...hopefully I will be strong enough to do it quickly and cleanly with as little pain as possible for the little one. Oh, and hopefully I don't faint afterwards.
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    can you take her to a breeder to get it done? or go watch someone do it? thats the best option - if you have never seen it done you will be surprised at how hard you have to hold that iron and for how long. It isnt pain free for them and they can many times scream and cry for hours after. Not trying to scare you but I have had both - those who run around playing like nothing happened and those who cry and scream and knock off the burned area and it bleeds and bleeds.

    If you are going to spend money for something you better feel confident about it so I understand your desire to do it yourself. and I am sure you can do it --- but just checking to see if you had explored the option of a breeder instead. I will disbud for 8.00 if you bring the goat to me....a lady who did a buckling of mine charged 15.00 so it can be rather cheep from a breeder.

  3. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    It's really not hard at all to disbud. I had to do about 40 kids this spring for the first time and it was E-A-S-Y...the first one I did I was WAY nervous, but when I was done I was like...oh this is easy and I got more confident with each one I did. So you'll do fine. :thumb: I never watched anyone do it... I just read and read and educated myself and went for it. But if there was a breeder I could have gone to to watch that would have been awesome. If you can do that I would highly recommend it.

    As for the vet that said banding at a young age will shorten their life spand to 1 to 2 years...that is incorrect. I have had wethers live as long as does or bucks. She either misread/misunderstood something or is just trying to sound educated or something. I would not use her as a goat vet, personally.
  4. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I have horned goats, never had a problem selling horned kids. It was not until I had a request for a disbudded kid as well as having my first registered nigi's that I even considered doing the deed. I personally will not do it as long as a breeder friend is willing to do it for me.

    I know it's part of having registered goats so I deal with it :greengrin:

    There are alot of members here that do their own, I'm sure you will get lots of tips!

    One thing I do know is that the top of the head should be shaved or clipped very short so the hair doesn't smoke too much during the burn...and that those babies need to be cuddled once it's over :hug:

    I band bucklingsat 6-7 weeks....and each are still alive...my first ones were born 6 years ago.
  5. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    I think if you go to search above...type in disbudding, disbud, etc. there are some really good threads already about disbudding. :thumb:
  6. mnspinner

    mnspinner New Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    I agree it would be ideal if you could get the breeder to disbud your kid. A great learning experience and she can give you tips.
    If not, then be sure to heat up the iron properly. Cherry red is the sign and you can get a piece of wood and if it burns a clean circle the iron is ready.
    Shave the area around the bud so you can see and not burn hair. My technique is a bit different from most. I go a little at a time. I also take the edge of the iron and burn several crosses right over the bud.
    As a newbie my guess is you will probably not burn long enough. Just the fear, inexperience factor of not wanting to go too deep. Remember, this is a practiced skill and it can take several tries to do it well. Does much much easier than bucks.
    I have never given a disbudding tetanus, though never a bad idea to do so.
  7. Agreed, see it done or have someone who knows what they are doing hang with you the first time to watch and help where it is needed. Just my thoughts. Good Luck! :thumbup:
  8. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    cyann you have started out here having done your homework!
    I wouldnt use those vets either! They DO give anasthesia (sp) for dehorning but not disbudding.
    Your babies will probably do better than you after its done. All things for the first time or few can be scary.
    In addition if you can, do it outside.
  9. I did want to add the severity of putting any animal under, that small, you run a high chance of the animal not coming out. Now I know it's a little off topic but is something to make note for those reading thinking a vet is a better rough because of this particular reason. It can not always be a plus in other words.
  10. mnspinner

    mnspinner New Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Last year a friend lost two kids when they were disbudded at the vet's. Didn't come out of the sedation. No reason in my book to put kids under for a run of the mill disbudding.
  11. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    Okay, the deed is done and it was as awful as I expected and yet not as bad as I feared. I was trembling so bad that I thought I might drop the iron and I must have picked it up and set it back down about a hundred times before I was able to actually make myself touch the kid with it. I was so worried that I didn't have her restrained 'just right' and that as soon as I tried to put the iron on she would flip out, wiggle all over the place, and make me mess up.

    Thankfully that didn't happen...she didn't squirm any more than she did when I was shaving her head, though she did holler quite loud while the iron was on. As soon as I stopped each burn, though, she completely stopped hollering and just stood there like nothing happened so that, at least, was a relief.

    I didn't have a kid holding box, and I had planned to have the hubby help restrain, but he was such a butt about it, he hated the whole idea...oh, he didn't argue that it needed to be done, HE just didn't want to be involved in the actual doing. He complained so much, and I knew that his soft heart would break at the first squeak of discomfort so I decided to just go it alone.

    So, I just used my milkstand and it worked perfectly to hold the head in place so that I just needed one hand to hold her head down a little. The way I built it, you can close the head gate down to just about 2 inches or less since it is a 'V' shape with a big bolt on the bottom of the swing arm. It held her pretty securely so all I needed to do was use my left hand to hold her nose and keep her from tilting her head upward while I use my right hand to disbud.

    Now I just have to worry about whether I did it for long enough...I was using a brand new X-30 so I actually got a pretty good ring of copper after the first 3 or 4 seconds that I held it on there (man that sucker gets hot!). I did each side twice, then nudged the cap off the middle, so hopefully it is done right. Now, how long does it usually take to tell if it worked?

    I read various opinions on whether to put anything on the burns when I was done, and finally went with the decision to spray on some blue kote since that's what the Pecan Hollow lady said she uses and I read on one site that it has the added advantage of helping to cool off the burn site. I figured it couldn't hurt anyway. I gave her lots of petting and baby talk between each burn and lots of cuddling afterward (hopefully she doesn't hold this incident against me in the future). When I put her back with mom she ran right over to nurse like it was no biggy.

    Oh, and I did try to find a breeder to help me...the only problem is that all of the Nigi breeders I bought from are about 5 hours away...I ran a Craigslist ad starting the day she was born (2 wks ago) looking for a goat breeder in the area with experience to help me and got a total of ZERO responses. Sheesh.

    Oh and I agree about not wanting to use that vet...the only problem is that she is the ONLY goat vet in the area. There are only 2 large animal vets and the other one specializes in horses and cows. Bottom line is that I will use her if I have an absolute emergency (like a cesarean perhaps) but for the routine stuff I think I am better off learning to do it myself.
  12. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    I definitely agree on this one...I thought it was kind of weird when she said she always gives sedation for it. Then I read about cases where they die from the sedation and I decided there was no way I was going to have my kids disbudded that way. Anesthesia of any kind has risks and it shouldn't be done unless it's actually necessary.
  13. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    well congrats on doing it yourself, that took alot of courage.

    sounds like it went well. you'll know it worked when it horn scabs over, and falls off. :thumb:
  14. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Whew! Glad that it went well for you, and baby is no worse for wear. You'll be able to tell in a couple weeks wether you held it on long enough...the scabby caps will fall off and there'll be nice healthy skin under them, if it didn't work, you will see scurs develope...which can be reburned. Sounds like you did a great job, congrats :thumbup:
  15. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Ah good for you Cyanne, we're all proud of you! Since you got the copper rings I bet you'll have no problems at all!
    Your next ones will be easier for you. :thumb: Great job!!
  16. sealawyer

    sealawyer New Member

    May 31, 2009
    Dew, Texas
    One thing that Gwen does is give them a little childrens motrin, 1 cc per 25 pounds about 15 minutes before she does the deed and it settles them down and helps ease the pain afterward. They usually go nappy-bye for an hour or so afterward.
  17. I was nervous for you. I am so glad all went well. However, I get paranoid doing most things just because I fear I might hurt someone. LOL I am not sure I could do it to be honest. Well, I take that back. I am just glad I do not have to yet. LOL Good job, you did great!