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Goat Crazy!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seriously, I understand all the arguments for disbudding goats. We show for ADGA and 4-H, so we can't even opt out if we want to. And I really DO like owning goats without horns.

Still. I hate, Hate, HATE disbudding them.

HATE!

LOATHE!

DESPISE!

As many of you know, we had 8 kids born as 2 sets of quads. One set were polled and the second set - all boys - were horned. Since they were quads, they were small little buggars. So we waited until day 7 to disbud (I usually aim for day 4). Even then, I wasn't sure if our runt, Amos was physically large enough to burn. He's growing well and is quite frisky and sweet and happy. But he's tiny!

However, his buds were not particularly tiny. So yesterday we went for it.

Let me add that this is my 9th year disbudding goats - so I am not a novice. In all that time we've never had a mishap with a doeling and we've only ever had one boy react weirdly. Eyes rolled pant, excessive panting, etc. He was a LaMancha. We gave him banamine and iced his head and he was fine after a few minutes.

But yesterday totally sucked. We did Amos first. My daughter held him and we did the first bud. Instead of fighting and squealing, he just went limp. Eyes rolled back. Tongue sideways out of his mouth. I swear he stopped breathing altogether for a minute or so. It. Was HORRIBLE!. We iced his head, gave him banamine (Did you ever try to give 1/2cc shot?) and pampered the heck out of him. Both my daughters and I were crying!

But we had more to do. So we let Amos rest. Isaiah sailed along perfectly and cheerfully sucked down his bottle. But Joshua reacted too. Not as strongly, but still pretty bad. More banamine. More ice. More snuggles.

Daniel's disbudding seemed to go ok, but shortly afterward his head started swelling above his eye. So MORE banamine.

By this time Amos had recovered and nursed, so with much trepidation we finished his other side. Thankfully, that side went perfectly normally.

Then while we were debating wether or not to try a figure 8, My iron burned right through its own cord. Pzzzzzzsssssssst! Great... That's ok, we decided their heads were too stinking small to even try a figure 8.

Today, Isaiah looks fabulous. But all three of the other boys have been scratching at their heads. They are all white and I just plastered them all with blue kote.

Yes, Groovy has tie-dyed babies.

All this is to ask: Do YOU do figure 8's on Nigerians bucklings? And if so, HOW? Because those heads are little!!!!
 

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How awful! I know how scary it is! I had animes buckling disbudded yesterday. Wasn't quite that scary but still had me worried for a couple seconds! He wouldn't hold his head up and stopped moving. I freaked out and the gal who was disbudding him freaked out. After a couple of seconds he was perfectly fine though. Definitely a scary moment! I don't do figure 8s on my nigies. Normally the tip of the iron is large enough that it covers the whole area. I've never had problems but I could just be lucky.
 

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Sounds scary! I am thankful we raise Boer and keep horns - even market/commercial 4-H projects can have horns (just have to tip them so they are blunt/not sharp).
I went to a Goat field day event last weekend, and saw a couple of kids getting disbudded - something I'd never seen in person and it just seemed horrible - the vet who did it was a pro, she is also a very highly regarded vet in our state, as well as successful breeder. I told her I don't think I could ever do that, I'd have to hire her to do it for me! It does look simple enough if things went right, but the smell, then just the risks and odd things - like what happened to you. It would just terrify me. Who knows maybe one day I'd try it, but for now... banding and tattooing/tagging are enough for me.
 

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I'm so with you on this one! It's one of the reasons I am disappointed when we get doelings. I leave horns on our bucklings, but we disbud the does and I HATE it with a passion. It seems terribly cruel to do something so painful that also seems so unnecessary. The only reason I do it is because no one keeps horned dairy does and I don't want our girls going to the meat market because of horns. I would have no problem keeping horned dairy does myself, but at the age of disbudding I don't yet know which ones we'll keep and which we'll sell (and I suppose even the "keepers" may get sold eventually) so as much as I hate it, I disbud my poor girls.
 

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That is crazy! I have never had that happen before. I wonder if it’s because they are just so small and the heat gets to them so badly. That is scary. I’ve probably done a few 100 over the years and sure they scream a bit when it’s being done but then go on like nothing ever happened.
 

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Goat Crazy!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is crazy! I have never had that happen before. I wonder if it's because they are just so small and the heat gets to them so badly. That is scary. I've probably done a few 100 over the years and sure they scream a bit when it's being done but then go on like nothing ever happened.
I know. I thought I had done something wrong. But I did Isaiah with no issues at all. I'm going to take Karen's advice and premedicate with banamine from now on!
 

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I agree about the hating, despising, loathing disbudding. Last year I disbudded 51 of 52 doe kids and 25 of the boys. The rest went with horns. I'm up to 22 kids disbudded this year. I hate doing it.
I think it's a psychological thing. My heart races and I swear it's gonna stop. Burning baby heads just is awful. (They all turn out well, it's harder on me than them).
 

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Oh no i am so sorry! We had the vet disbud... and i will pay him every year to do it. Granted we dont have that many but those pittiful cries even sedated were horrible. :(. I cannot remember if ours were a week or two when he did it. I think closer to two really. But he didnt do the figure eight on the buckling and he does not seem to have any scurs. He did burn three times i think. It was a pretty wide ring on all three kids.
 

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Poor babies. I think the horns are an important part of the goat, but I understand why disbudding is done, like what @Damfino said. I wish disbudding wasn't a thing and horns were just considered fine, but that's not reality sadly.
 

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So I'm curious I researched briefly on the pro's and cons of disbudding, but probably not as in depth as I could have. For those of you that really hate it but choose to disbud anyways can I ask why?

Seriously no judging here I'm genuinely curious on the rational.
 

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So I'm curious I researched briefly on the pro's and cons of disbudding, but probably not as in depth as I could have. For those of you that really hate it but choose to disbud anyways can I ask why?

Seriously no judging here I'm genuinely curious on the rational.
Most dairy breeds you need to disbud or they can not be shown or because it is so common to do with dairy goats you can't find a buyer to buy them if they have horns. I personally will never own another dairy goat with horns after I had to get rid of my lamanchas. Their horns grew more up and at a V so they were hooking my other goats legs and the goats could not get their legs out. With boers at the base it is more of a U so even if they hook someone they can get away.
I can't say I hate it, it is defiantly not something that I wake up early in the morning excited to do but I have to disbud my Boer wethers or they can not be sold and shown at the fair. We can't get away with just blunt tips as mentioned above, here they need to be fully disbudded.
 

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Most dairy breeds you need to disbud or they can not be shown or because it is so common to do with dairy goats you can't find a buyer to buy them if they have horns. I personally will never own another dairy goat with horns after I had to get rid of my lamanchas. Their horns grew more up and at a V so they were hooking my other goats legs and the goats could not get their legs out. With boers at the base it is more of a U so even if they hook someone they can get away.
I can't say I hate it, it is defiantly not something that I wake up early in the morning excited to do but I have to disbud my Boer wethers or they can not be sold and shown at the fair. We can't get away with just blunt tips as mentioned above, here they need to be fully disbudded.
I guess my question is why is it such a common practice in America? The answer seems to be because everyone else expects it to be done that way.

Many other parts of the world it's more common to raise goats with horns? What is it about our farming practices that we've fallen into the expectation of disbudding?
 

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I’m on the meat side of things so can only answer on what I have seen discussed. One I have heard that on dairies that horns are not ideal for the head gates for when they are being milked. Another issue is on dairies the goats are more in smaller areas, not saying they are so much so that it is not healthy or is cruel but they are not out wild and free so there is more chance of injuries caused by horns.
In a way yes I guess you are correct that it’s done because it is expected to be done. But so many people do not want to deal with horns that it will eventually come down to being able to sell a disbudded kid that can be shown or put into production or having no one buying it and it having to be butchered.
I’m honestly not pro or con disbudding. But I can respect both sides of it. I have had heads stuck in fences and feeders. For me it’s not a big deal I’m here, I hear them hollering and I go out and save them. But not everyone is home all the time like I am so I get why they won’t touch a horned goat. Everyone does what they think is best for their goats and what they have going on. But also like I said I have never had a issue disbudding. My boys cry more over being banded then the kids that I disbud do. I mean not the whole process, but after. I don’t fool myself they do make a big deal out of it when I’m actually doing it so I know there is a degree of discomfort but they also scream bloody murder when I am simply clipping the hair on their head too
 

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I am sorry you had some trouble. Disbudding day was always my least favorite.
At first we used a disbudding box. It did a great job of immobilizing the kid but they would often faint or even seize (twitch and jerk). So we switched to me holding the kid across my lap while my hubby did the burn. We never had any serious problems after that.
We disbudded purely for safety reasons. We had too many close calls with getting hooked, kids would get their horns stuck between slats and goats would hurt each other.
 

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Goat Crazy!
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am sorry you had some trouble. Disbudding day was always my least favorite.
At first we used a disbudding box. It did a great job of immobilizing the kid but they would often faint or even seize (twitch and jerk). So we switched to me holding the kid across my lap while my hubby did the burn. We never had any serious problems after that.
We disbudded purely for safety reasons. We had too many close calls with getting hooked, kids would get their horns stuck between slats and goats would hurt each other.
We always wrap them in a towel and hold them to disbud. My youngest daughter and my hubby are great at holding!
 
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