Horns Vs. No Horns-Opinions Please!!DECISIONS ADDED PAGE 4!!

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by HollowbeadRanch, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Horns

  2. No Horns

  1. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Well as most of you know I am planning on rebuilding my herd this Spring! I am VERY excited and am hoping to make some deposits on a few kids in February/March.

    Which brings me to my current delima... Whether to go with horns or no horns?? All of my previous herd were horned except for 3, but this time I will have some registered goats in the mix as well. Scurs really scare me! I have NEVER disbudded or wached someone disbud a goat before... and I have seen some real botch jobs before! So #1 I am scared to disbud kids myself AND I don't know which farms do a good job at disbudding and which ones don't (when looking at who to purchase from). We are going to have about 15 acres fenced for the goats to start off with, and about 4 separate pastures (Buck pen; Open Does pen; bred Does, Does with kids, and Doelings to young to be bred pen; extra pen for rotation or whatever we need it for). We have a total of 50 acres and will be fencing the rest of it in for goats as we go along. So being cramped or anything isn't an issue. IF we did go the horned route, I could always take the kids to the vet to get them disbudded if someone wanted a kid without horns... but I have never seen the goats they have disbudded so I don't know how good of a job they do. ANY opinions would be GREALY appreciated!!

    What I really need is your opinions on the matter and why you feel that way, PLEASE! I have also added a poll on here, so if you don't mind please vote as well. Thank you in advance for your advice! This decision has really been weighing on my mind!
  2. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I like horns. Reasons:

    1. the goat's natural cooling system
    2. handle bars for me
    3. I like the look of it
    4. its natural
    5. disbudding really freaks me out
    6. angoras and boers must have horns to show

    With all that said and done, I am going to take my dairy kids to the vet to get them disbudded, mainly just because I want to show and you cant show them with horns.

  3. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    We have Boers and they all have horns, quite dignified. BUT some goats horns grow all different ways..my girls horns have a gentle curve to them.
    If you are doing mini breeds I would disbud them, most people dont want horns on their goats for safety & fence reasons.
    Ask your vet if anyone can do it for you & teach you.
  4. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I like my horned goaties!

    I never offered disbuds til last spring when it was requested first and I WILL NOT EVER DO IT MYSELF!
    I took the 2 doelings to Chiefs breeder and he did it for a small fee, which gets passed along inthe price of the kid.
    Now, I will have any registered kid sold dis budded IF it will be a "show" goatie, and it is requested.

    Regardless though, having horned goats has not been an issue for me, I know how to "respect" the horns and do fencing accordingly, which BTW took a few years to learn..lol
    Aggressive girls get custom made bumper guards if they use their heads on others, my bucks are a different story, the ruttis the only issue I have wih them being aggressive with each other.

    Besides...having a polled doe help with the dis bud issue because I have the chance of not needin to make that decision.
    Keren posted a very good list of reasons as to why keep them horned.
  5. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    All of our goats are disbudded and I like it that way. . . . I've never had horned goats. I DO NOT disbud myself though. I pay $5 a kid to get it done by a breeder with 30+ years experience. :) She does a great job.

    Be careful about a vet disbudding your kids. We've had some terrible experiences with two different vets. One burned the brains of our doe, Fudgie. She got a TERRIBLE infection. We still think it affects her as she's a little "slow." Another vet disbudded a kid and he got an infection from it. I swear they used cattle irons on our little minis.

    Best advice is to get another breeder to do it for you (if you even decide to disbud) and maybe if you feel comfortable enough to do it someday, then you can have them show you how.
  6. DopeyOpie

    DopeyOpie New Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I prefer horns, pretty much for the same reasons Keren listed. It took me so long to find Opie a friend because all the wethers I found for sale were disbudded. Tavi was one of the two I found with horns.
  7. DopeyOpie

    DopeyOpie New Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    Oh that's terrible, poor baby :( :hug:
  8. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    keren is so right ..I totally agree... :thumbup: :greengrin:
  9. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I think it really depends on the breed and what you are up to. Brandy and I talked a bit earlier about this on chat and this is what I said and I have a few things to add.

    Cons of horns:
    - My first 4 goats came to me disbudded. The next 3 I brought in - 1 had horns. Within an hour she was stuck in the fence and being beat to shambles by the others.
    - Banding later for what ever reason hurts alot more and alot longer then disbudding as a kid
    - Surgical dehorning - NO WAY could you pay me to ever do that - whole in the head, sinus's open, anesthesia ....
    - Caught my sanaan/boer (when she was horned) scooping up little kids and chucking them through the air backwards when they would try to come get food. One had a mouth full of grain when she did it and he inhaled it. If I would not have been there - I could have lost him.
    - can't show (depending on breed)
    - most people with small children definately do not want horned goats for danger reasons
    - I personally cant sell a goat period that is horned - no one will purchase them

    Pros of horns:
    - yes, natural
    - natures cooling system
    - on some goats - look neat

    just my 2 cents

    Everything born here is disbudded immediately unless full payment is made before it is time!!!
  10. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    i started out with disbudded only (for 4-H), and then realized...i have a whole bunch of weird looking boers...because they dont have horns! so, when i sell my % this spring, i'm only going to raise horned goats. (i dont mind what 4-H says, my goats arent dangerous (they dont go around spearing people for fun, they arent bloodthirsty) and market kids dont have very big horns by market time.)

    But for minis....i'd say it depends if your showing, right? you cant show dairy with horns (i might be mistaken)
  11. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    Ditto it keren.

    I prefer horns for all those reasons. My Luna who is registered doesn't have horns (disbudded) and her poor little head looks so bare. However, she gets along fine with the others.

    I have no problem with disbudded goats, I just prefer natural. :)
  12. Laurel_Haven

    Laurel_Haven New Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    Brandi and I have been discussing this issue, and I actually told her to place this topic to get everyones opinions and reasons behind them… I thought it would be interesting to see what everyone else thought and why. This is what I pretty much told her in our emails… Now remember this is my opinion only. Everyone has a different perspective on things, and what works for one is not always a good thing for another.

    While I can surely understand why people with “meat breeds” have horned goats and it is totally acceptable, it is the opposite for “dairy breeds”. Dairy goats with horns are registerable but they can not be shown in ADGA with horns. Dairy goats are not to have horns plain and simple. It is mainly a safety issue for people and the goats, because dairy goats are used for milking. That is their main purpose. They are handled much more on a daily basis than a meat goat breed would be.
    Because of this…dairy goats with horns are harder to sell, and are valued $$$ less for the simple fact that dairy goats are not allowed to have horns by the registries standards.
    Now if you do not plan on breeding for show and or milk qualities then I see nothing wrong with having horned goats in your herd. But what I do not like to see is mixed herds of horned and hornless goats. I do not think it is fair to the goats without the horns to have to live and compete with the ones that do. They are at a big disadvantage. Now this is only my honest opinion. And only because I started out with both and had first hand experience with both types. But I quickly sold the horned goats due to a major injury to a hornless junior. From that day on I was a big believer in disbudding, mainly for safety purposes. I was not going to allow the horned goats to injure another defenseless hornless goat or my children.
    Now I am sure there are many that have both “horned and hornless” living merrily together… for me that was not the case.
    So yes, I am a big believer in disbudding… since they are a domesticated dairy animal and handled regularly for milking.
    While scurs can happen and some breeders do botch the job badly... the key is to do it early. Most do it too late and the horn base becomes wider than the burner being used. When this happens not all living horn cells are burned and the result is scurring. If it is done properly and early enough you will have a good disbudding that won't scur. To be honest, I would rather see horns than bad scurring. That is why I wish more people if they choose to disbud would learn how to do the job more efficiently. As scurring can be dangerous to the goat should it grow back into the skull. So I can understand your dislike of scurs Brandi. Why not ask the breeder you want to buy from what their percentage is of successful disbuddings vs. scurring. (How often do they get scurs on their kids) or tell them right out you want kids that have been disbudded properly as you do not want any type of scurring. While there is no guarantee it may help improve the odds of getting scurs on the kids you buy.
  13. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    All my Boers are horned. To me personally they look strange without them. I have heard that they are very difficult to disbud successfully.
    I have one Nubian who was disbudded. Now, who is the Herd Queen? She will get her head between skirmishes like a referee. She bosses others around by either nipping ears or sticking her hard head in their business if she doesnt approve.
    It is true, as LaurelHaven has said, that dairy is always disbudded.
  14. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I have a total of three hornless (two disbudded, one polled) amongst about 50 horned goats. My boss doe is the old British Alpine doe, who is disbudded. When she got here, she rolled the old boss Angora doe down the hill, did the same with the big boer wether who was next in line, now all she has to do is look at the other goats and they run. She also nips pretty well too.

    I milked a boer doe with horns for a long time, every day. The horns didnt interfere with regular handling.

    But I do understand your viewpoint.
  15. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I go with hornless.. for the very reasons Allison listed.
  16. lesserweevil

    lesserweevil New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    Well... I guess I have had experience with horned and hornless and bla bla bla even though I only have 4 goats so I'll give you my opinions too =]


    In my opinion, you should either have horned - or hornless. NOT a mixture. I had all disbudded goats until I got Demi - who had horns. I probably COULD have disbudded her, but her horn buds were almost an inch long and I was nervous...

    anyway she got very ornery with those horns. She used to put them under the other goats bellies and then jerk her head up, she'd do the same to me under my chin, etc. - and there are tons of wee kids (human) around here, so it wasnt the safest.

    I got her surgically dehorned when she was about 7 months old - it worked, but, I would NEVER EVER subject any of my goats to that again. Basically I would say, if you buy a horned goat, keep it horned... or disbud at birth.

    My vet disbuds the kids for me and I must say, he does a great job, I havent had a single problem with scurs. (or brain damage)

    Then again, I did have a horned buckling called Samwell and he was always sweet with his horns, and I could lead him around like that - but as i say. not the same with every goat...

    so either do... or dont... and dont mix, IMHO
  17. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    I think the important thing is to discipline them - yes when they have horns, they know they have horns and they know how to use them. They need to be taught that using horns on humans is NOT acceptable behaviour. Fiona, the saanen doeling I bought that is actually my brothers, is bad with her horns, using them on people, but I have been able to correct that behaviour.
  18. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    WOW... Thank you all for the quick responses!!! I am still really torn on the situation... Let me explain a little more about what I am planning to start out with for my herd.

    I will be putting together a herd of Nigerian Dwarfs only (sorry... I forgot to meantion what breed). I do not plan on showing... (atleast not for the first year or so) all of the shows are usually pretty far from here, and I don't always have someone to go with me. With my last herd I had all horned goats except for 3 that came to me grown and had already been disbudded when they were kids. I do want to try and milk some of my Does this go around, but plan on building a good milking stand that should keep their head where they can't turn and horn me (maybe :shrug: ). I have never sold registered kids before. So I don't really know what the market for them around here is, or how easily I will sell them (but I do plan on giving it a try!). I was in the minis (pygmys and nigerians) for a little over a year, and didn't have any problems selling horned kids (keep in mind they were NOT registered). Most of my kids always had deposits on them within 24-48 hours of being born (there is a really big demand for minis around here, AND for quality mini breeders.... I won't even begin to tell you some of the horror stories I have seen for supposedly "good mini breeders" :sigh: ). So needless to say, I have never had a problem selling my kids (KNOCK ON WOOD! :doh: ).

    My views on the horns vs. no horns situation was always the same as Keren and Liz, but now that I am adding registered Nigerians to the mix I thought it would be best to look at my options and come up with a decision before purchasing. The other delima is having a mixed herd of horned and hornless... I plan on ALSO having breeding age unregistered Nigerians in my herd (because this is what I am used to, and would like to start back out with a few). The problem with this is that most all unregistered Nigerians have their horns. I will not have horns surgically removed or try banding them... I just don't like it. I don't fault anyone else for doing it, but for me it just isn't an option. To go the complete opposite of that problem is that I would like to find some breeding age registered Nigerian Does (maybe even some bred ones) also, AND most grown registered Nigerians do not have horns. So in other words I have just got problems all the way around!!! What do you think and what would you do in my situation???

    I guess I have two different situations to decide on... First- Do I want my breeding stock to have horns or be disbudded (because them having horns wouldn't really affect the sale of disbudded kids right? Only the resale of the breeding stock themselves, if I decide to sale some of them down the road, assuming that I decide to keep them with horns), AND would it be ok to have disbudded and hornless in the same pasture? Second- Do I disbud all kids or only if requested by the buyer?

    And on that subject (disbudding kids), who do I get to disbud them??? There are NO breeders close enough to me for me to pay them to disbud the kids for me. I think that there is a farm close to here (I have purchased a kid from her once in the past) that takes her's to one of the local vets here to get them disbudded.... I guess I could ask her if he is bad about leaving scurs or not :shrug: This vet is supposed to be a good goat vet, but the couple of times I used him when I had Boers I think I knew more about them than he did... (really long story) So I just don't know how well I trust him.

    These decisions have REALLY been weighing on my mind (incase you couldn't already tell....), and I really don't know what to do :sigh: Any other thoughts on what I have added here would be greatly appreciated, and once again thank you all for the quick replies and opinions :grouphug: I just can't seem to make up my mind... Hubby thinks that they should have their horns. He had a big goat herd when he was growing up (and when we were dating), and they always had horns. His Great-Grandfather who is 87 years old now was the one who had he goats with him and he was/is pretty old-timey and set in his ways about the way they should be, and of course he passed that stubborness down to his great-grandson (my Husband). So I already know where he stands on the matter, but he supports me in whatever I decide and he knows that the goats are really "my thing" now (he is a real sweetheart in that way :love: ).

    Anyways... I am getting off subject here, and I have started to ramble. Sorry for the extremely long post! Please keep the thoughts and opinions coming! I am soaking up everything and trying my best to come to some sort of decision :sigh: :doh: HELP!!! :help:

    Oh and yes.. thank you Allison and Tina for talking with the distressed, undecisive, crazy woman (me!) :ROFL: !!! It would be so much easier if the decision would just hit me!!! (someone hit me, PLEASE!!!! :doh: :help: :ROFL: ) ok... it is TOO early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet!
  19. dragonfly farms

    dragonfly farms New Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Pfafftown, NC
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    We have only horned goats. I agree that
    The process of dehorning is also something that bothers me quiet a bit. I do not think it is something for a young baby to go thru. (I am also not a fan of tail docing and ear cropping) I just dont think that they are necessary and therefore should not be done unless there is an real problem. We decided that if horns made the difference in someone wanting a goat from us and not, we would rather keep them here.
  20. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Re: Horns Vs. No Horns- Opinions Please!!

    Well, I think you mentioned having a really nice set-up with different pastures, pens, etc. Soooo, maybe if you could have the horned mature animals separated from the disbudded ones??

    I don't like mixing horned with hornless. Big disadvantage on the hornless, as Tina mentioned.

    If you plan on selling quality, registered Nigerian Dwarf goats, then your sales will be much better if you disbud (I would think). In our area, I have never had someone ask me to leave a goat horned. If they did ask, I would probably refuse. Too many goats I have seen get their heads stuck in fencing, hay feeders, etc. Just too risky, for us anyways.

    I agree that the disbudding process is VERY disturbing to me. Why I refuse to do it again! If you can ask about that vet. The experience we had was just with two vets. The appt. we had made for Fudgie to be disbudded was actually scheduled with a "good goat vet" (a lot of you may know her, Dr. Lauren Acton, she's a BIG time awesome dairy goat breeder). Anywho, Dr. Acton was called to a farm visit and another vet disbudded Fudgie, and did a terrible job. If Dr. Acton would have done it, I'm sure Fudgie would have been just fine. So, just research the vets in your area. It's a shame you don't have a breeder who could do it. :sigh: