Horns or no horns?

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by micole66, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. micole66

    micole66 Member

    36
    Jun 7, 2014
    I have two mini goats. But these two goats are all horned. I can disbud them in adult age? Or is better disbud only for goat kids?
    And the horns are dangerous for me, for other people and animals?
    Why some people tell me that disbud a goat is a bad choice??
     
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator

    That is a personal preference. You can only disbud goat kids. You would have to band or surgically remove adult horns.
     

  3. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    You can surgically remove the horns but to me the risk and pain is so not worth it.
    Ksalvagno is correct it is simply a personal choice. You will come across people that are very anti horns and others who are very anti disbudding. Me, I'm in the middle and totally respect both views. My herd is about 50/50 on horns and I can tell you no goat has been seriously harmed. I have had to cull some in the past because they can get a little rough but no broken bones or anything like that just simply not liking what they were doing. As for a danger to me? No not really. I might get a bruise here or there but it's usually com kids and when I hold their head between my legs to give them shots or worming. I think the worst I ever got what I was trying to lift a goat onto the fitting stand and when I lifted she threw her head back and got me in the ear but honestly it was my fault not hers.
     
  4. Dayna

    Dayna Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Keaau Hawaii
    I have both horned and polled goats. I choose to not disbud, but to breed for polled genetics.

    I have found horns to only be a pain when it comes to fences. I get sick of them getting their heads stuck. Otherwise, it doesn't make a difference to me.
     
  5. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  6. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Active Member

    You tend to hear only the horror stories about having horned goats, but I have found that most of the people around me have goats with horns. And I always say to whoever I'm with: "See their goats have horns and they're not dead."

    It really is a personal decision though, base on what you think will be best for your situation. Are your goats around children? Is your fence a type that they could get stuck? Those are the kind of questions you should be asking yourself. Personally I think that goats have horns for a reason and if I never have any problems I'll let them keep their horns. And they're so darn pretty in my opinion.

    There are plenty of people out there that will tell you that goats should not have horns and plenty of people that will tell you that they should. It just comes down to what works for you.

    Here are some links to help in your decision:
    http://www.kalispellkindersandmore.com/blog/horns-or-not-on-your-goat
    https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/goats-horns-or-no-horns
     
  7. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    I would also think it's a bit of personal experience. You do have to be careful around horned goats - AND I would never let small children in the pens. Accidents do happen, even with the sweetest goats, swinging their heads around to see somethng or move. Something to consider.
     
  8. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    I have to admit that was one of my cons with horns. I have no clue how they can get their heads threw and it seems there's no room to come back out.....usually ending in my fingers getting smashed but once I put hot fence up that cured it!
     
    Dayna likes this.
  9. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Member

    37
    Jul 11, 2017
    It's all personal preference. A lot of people cite personal protection as a reason for keeping horns but most animals going after a goat either hunt in packs or are so big it wouldn't matter. Most goats would be more likely to flee anyway. Whatever the case, horns are not sufficient for places with active predators.

    Horns are good for keeping goats cool in the summer, I would think they'd be especially important for lamanchas because they don't have big ears to cool them. If you live in a colder climate, however, look out - I know someone whos goat died of hypothermia because intead of coming in when it snowed to snuggle, he stayed out in the snow with wet horns and got too cold. They really lose a lot of heat from those suckers.

    Getting their heads stuck in fences shouldn't be an issue unless you have fences that the goats can stick their heads through. It can be pretty hard to find goats from reputable breeders in my area who leave the horns so mine are disbudded but they're currently running with 4 guest goats: 2 horned, 2 disbudded. There have been far more issues with the herd queen and the pygmy with a Napoleon complex than with either of the horned goats, though "issues" is a strong word... maybe "creative herd discussions". It's to the point that I'd consider owning and keeping a horned goat with my little guys indefinitely, provided he was a kid when I got him or EXTREMELY respectful with his horns. In general, though, people have had mixed experiences with mixing horns and no horns herds. The bigger horned goat im looking after is a real sweetheart but I'm still sure to protect my face when I lean down to pick something up near him just in case he turns to look at me and stabs me or something.

    Personally, I have nothing against the horns themselves, but I might have a problem with the goat wielding them. I think they're gorgeous, especially the kind that curve out. If I had a horned goat, he'd probably be wearing flower crowns all the time. I'm still planning to disbud any babies my dairy goats have because they're easier to sell and manage. I'd like to try clove oil disbudding but if that fails I'll have to act quickly with an iron. Disbudding improperly can cause scurs, though, which I cannot stand. I'd rather have a goat with 4 horns than one with scurs.

    Dehorning an adult goat is quite a bit more involved than disbudding a kid and, from what I've read, it's pretty hit and miss. Some people are thrilled by the results and some swear they'll never do it again. My apologies for the long collection of run-on sentences.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    MellonFriend likes this.
  10. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    973
    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I'd rather have a goat with 4 horns than one with scurs.

    HAHAHA! Quote of the day right there! I'm totally with you on that one!

    To the topic: I run horned and non-horned goats together and we don't have any issues. The main thing is to decide whether or not to keep horns while the goats are newborn! If you wait until the horns are big, it's too late to change your mind. It's not fair to the goat to remove the horns once they're well grown in just because you couldn't decide and kept putting it off.
     
  11. Dayna

    Dayna Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Keaau Hawaii
    Speaking of flower crowns, I paint/sharpee marker my pretty white horned goats. lol Usually with pink stripes. No good reason other than I think it looks cute.
     
  12. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    Also know that if you plan to show, dairy breeds must be disbudded. Many meat breeds actually get more points in a show with nice horns.
     
  13. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Active Member

    What?! Do you have any pictures of this?:p
     
  14. Dayna

    Dayna Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Keaau Hawaii
    Here is my curvy horned girl:

    [​IMG]

    And pretty stripy horns:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. GaGoats2017

    GaGoats2017 Active Member

    133
    Sep 5, 2017
    My opinion of having horned goats...

    Pros to having horns:
    1. Some look better with them
    2. Easy to grab horns if they don't have a collar
    3. Easier not to worry about disbudding

    Cons to having horns:
    1. Every now and then they will get their heads stuck in a fence. But they can usually figure it out, or their horns get too big and they grow out of it.
    2. When trying to worm them with no help, and too lazy to get the stand out, I will hold them between my knees so they will stay still. And they will give you some pretty colorful bruises from their horns.
    3. When I have a feed bucket and they are running around me, their horns will often catch me in the legs and it doesn't feel that great.
    4. Some look better without horns

    All the goats I have ever owned have had horns. But if I had the option to choose, I think I would prefer polled. It just scares me to try to disbud kids on my own, so I just don't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  16. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    973
    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Never a good idea! If the goat ever pulls back and snags you in the crotch you'll be even sorrier! It's always worth taking a little extra time for safety. Take a moment to drag out the stanchion, or halter the goat and snub him to a post, or at least put one arm behind the horns and restrain him that way, but please don't put his horned head between your legs! You're probably ok doing it with a kid, but it's still better to use the stanchion.

    Carry a riding crop or a squirt gun and enforce your personal space. Goats should never bump you with their horns even by accident or when excited. It's easy to take hornless goats for granted since they are generally too small and defenseless to hurt adults, but horned goats must be taught good manners to be safe.
     
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  17. GaGoats2017

    GaGoats2017 Active Member

    133
    Sep 5, 2017
    Damfino I'm okay with a little bruises now and then, it doesn't bother me much hahaha. That's just how I have always done it, mostly with market kids though around 30-90 lbs (those short baby horns are the worst).

    And I am the only one that has any interaction with them. For extra precaution, I keep my Border Collies close. So if they get on my nerves too much, my working girls are happy to put them back in their place lol.

    Just making points for the OP to think about. Most of my issues with horns are very minor. One thing I didn't mention, they will fight each other sometimes at the end of pregnancy. So I separate them from each other once they are heavy bred, to prevent harm to the unborn kids.

    I have never had any major problems at all with horned goats.
     
  18. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    I have dairy goats, so no horns here. Unfortunately, I have scurs on some of the Bucks. They have to be cut back periodically.

    As much trouble as my goats get into, for me, horns would be a nightmare!
     
  19. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I have to disagree here. Horns keep goats warmer in winter, under normal situations. But, if any goat with or without horns, remains out in very cold temps, will get hypothermia. They do not loose heat from horns only. Hypothermia will happen to the whole body, not just the horns.
     
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  20. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2014
    SouthCentralKY, USA
    Pam, I'm with you there. I'm not pushing anyone to keep horned goats if it does not suit them. But that one comment brought me up short.

    There was no evidence given that the horns caused the goat to refuse to snuggle, or that a hornless goat would have snuggled. And no explanation of why wet horns were to blame for the hypothermia, rather than the entire wet body. And I've never seen a goat with wet horns but a dry/warm body. Has ANYONE seen wet horns/dry body? Our horns are the first to dry, followed by the head, then neck, then sides/flanks, and finally the back. The belly usually stays dry. Legs/hooves stay wet because they are in the wet grass and/or mud.

    I'm not demanding anyone keep horns, but this offered no logical reasons to dehorn, or breed polled.

    For transparency, I have a mixed herd, have in the past decided to not disbud, and am now reconsidering it. I have no agenda here.
     
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