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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have one horned goat that is just a few years old and I just took on two older goats (9 years) that are both hornless. My horned goat is giving them a hard time and I am wondering whether it is not advisable to mix them up as I have. Do I need to get my horned goats horns cut off or just let them work out their order on their own time? Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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Hi Billmcdavid,
We have had many horned and hornless goats, and though we have now taken off the horns from most of our horned goats and disbud all our kids, it depends on the attitude of all the goats and whether you have a problem with predators in your area - obviously for me, in Australia, the biggest predator I have to worry about is a fox.
We have three horned goats at the moment, two are little tiny does with attitude but all three are Boers, so their horns are tiny compared to a Dairy breed. We will probably be taking their horns off shortly, as already they are trying to stab the other goats in the belly, though their hrons are too short to do much damage yet. We also have a Boer buck with horns, and though (of course) they are a nuisance as we are very personal with our goats and are always up close leaning over, around, leading, pushing and doing everything else with the goats up close, they are also a lot smaller than a Dairy goats' horns and he is quite a sweet gentle buck. If he wasn't so gentle (that doesn't mean we don't have to punish him several times a day for ramming the others - he is just not aggressive and only pushes them around for his feed) I would take his horns off in a moment.

We have had quite a few does (more than seven) and another few bucks kids with horns, they all very shortly found that they could hook the other (disbudded and horned) goats under the bellies and throw them through the air, or stab them in the belly or udder to make them move. Even the gentlest matriarch could (and did) still lose her temper with a saucy little doe and pick her up by the udder with her horns. However, before this, we had kept horned and hornless goats together for a few years and only the occasional stab in the belly of a goat who wasn’t quick enough to move, or a knock in the eye socket for us when we leaned over them and they pulled a mouthful of hay up, made us annoyed. We had trained our two original horned does from kids, so they were normally not too bad, but with getting more disbudded goats who didn’t respect them, their ability to badly damage the others became more obvious. We had shown them once as well and horned goats are frowned upon, but we would probably have gotten around to taking their horns off when we heard of rings pretty soon as the horned goats were getting worse. If we had only had wethers and a large paddock or pen, we didn’t have little kids around them all the time and us always hanging around them, laying beside us etc, it would have been okay. It depends on your circumstances and all of their temperaments.
If your younger goat is giving the others a hard time from the start, he may well keep bossing them around and making life miserable for a long time. He will definitely make them know who is the boss, but depending on his temperament, he may enjoy harassing them just to show off his power over them. If you have a large paddock/yard and the older goats don’t seem upset, and you don’t mind the horns, you could be okay. Also, if the older goats are ‘fight to the death’ type goats (which it doesn’t sound like they are) then there is no option but to take the younger goat’s horns off before they injure each other. We got one disbudded doe who had never been beaten in her life. She fought our two horned goats and two of our disbudded goats (all four adults) almost all day every day for several months before giving in. Because she was so big and knowledgeable in fighting and the horned goats were young adults and not very experienced, they didn’t hurt each other more than a very bloody head for the disbudded goats, but it could have been a lot mare dangerous if the horned goats knew how to use their horns.
In the end, it comes down to how the goats are behaving and how they act towards each other. Are the older goats accepting of their position and the younger one is just chasing them for the fun of it? Are the older ones fighting seriously (a fight to the death type) or just indignant that the young goat is the boss and therefore they will settle down and give him the respect he wants? What you do with them in terms of handling (do you find the horns a nuisance or are you desperate to keep them because they look great?) and whether you have children about can mean the goat’s horns should come off anyway.
Despite what many people may think, I have not found taking their horns off to be as serious/bad as it sounds. I have successfully used the rings many times, and we didn’t have anyone to teach us in the slightest! If you want to take his horns off, search my posts or PM me and I am only too happy to help. I have posted enough info to write a book on ringing horns already on here. ;) :)
Cheers,
Cazz
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for this helpful reply. I guess I need to just watch over the course of the next few days and see how things shake out. I would love to be able to keep his horns if possible simply because I do live in Montana and we have plenty of predators here (though I have never had a problem). I will definitely look for your posts about bands because I know nothing of them. I presume it is a device used for removing horns. Thank you again.
 

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I remember a great post here by Cazz about using the rings to dehorn. Sounds like a good option. Check the archives. But- I have two horned goats I keep in with two dehorned goats, and they are just fine together. Horned guys are the bosses, of course, but they don't abuse their power and noone has gotten hurt. In fact the best friendship is between the boss of the horned goats and the bottom of the heirarchy hornless guy.
It was a bit rough when I first introduced them, of course, and I remember duct tape and pipe insulation over horns to keep serious injury from happening. It took 4 days of terrible looking attacks, and then they were best friends.
Someone will be the boss in your group of goats, might as well be the one with horns unless you have reason to believe that is not a good plan.
 

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Hi Billmcdavid,
Here is one:
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=725
This is where I mainly posted and this thread is what made me join this forum in the first place. ;)
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=585
The tools are just the elastrator and rings used for castrating goats, sheep and calves/docking lambs' tails. Use two on each side - though the posts will tell you all about that. :)

All the goats we have of the ones' who have photos posted have lost both horns.
3 years old is not too late - I do write about it in the above thread, but just a more recent note, I did two 5 year old does at the start of this year and their second horn came off a month after I put the rings off. They were very mean bossy britches of a friend who we minded on occasion, and their behaviour has changed dramatically. They are now very sweet. :cool: If you want any more info or more photos I can post or PM. (BTW, the first ones we did do grow scurs, these we ring off or they come off by themselves with little or no blood - later ones we did have little if any scur growth at all)
Cheers,
Cazz
 

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My little herd has both, horns and dehorned, I want them all horned as we have predators here, black bears, mtn lions, bobcats, foxes, and wolves. And the wolves are endangered. I will have a guard dog, anatolian, akbash or some such, but right now its me, and the horns.

I found that my little Boer/Kiko doe has horns like stillettoes, so I put hose coverings on for awhile, held on with hose clamps, that worked until she stopped pushing others out of the way, which is all that she was doing, but they were like switchblades. So, now all is peaceful.

I have a Boer/Alpine weather with a good set of horns although he is less then 8 mos old, he has head sparring matches with the dominant doeling but its just head waving and capering around.

Mtn lions have been seen here so when we are hiking I will be wearing my .45, or would carry a rifle, I amnot going to provide a goat buffet while we are out.

All of next years kids will be horned and will keep them.
 
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