Saturday, April 12, 2014

Not for the Squeamish....

Ok, you've been forewarned!
The pictures you are about to see are not pretty.
So go to another blog for this time if you're squeamish.

Ok, you were warned.

This post is about disbudding.

It's a super controversial subject among goat farmers, animal rights activist etc., etc..

I know some people don't mind goats with horns and they say that if the goat isn't nasty that it's not an issue, but guess my opinion horns are an issue.

I have my son to think about and the other kids that come to visit to think about also.

Their safety is my number one priority.

Also our main buyers are 4H-ers and the goats need to be disbudded.

Several years ago, I mean 15+ years ago. I had a goat with horns.
The most docile wether you've ever seen.
One day I had to give him his mani-pedi.
Everything was going well when I turned my head and he turned his head at the same time. Then I usually wore contact lenses. I never wore glasses. But for some reason I wore my glasses that day. Thank goodness I wore my glasses! Because the tip of the horn hit me smack dab in the middle of my eye! It was all innocent. But if I had been wearing my contacts I would have lost my eye.

I swore never again to have a horned goat.

So here goes. This is how you disbud a goat kid.

I thought of doing a video and putting it on U-tube but then I thought that might not be a good idea.
Disbudding should be taught hands-on.
Not on U-Tube. 
It's dangerous and should only be taught by someone with years of experience.
The lady that taught Dave had 25 years of experience.

He didn't learn it on U-Tube.

I'm just putting the pictures on here so people can see what disbudding is all about.

First you take the kid and place it in a disbudding box. Never, ever try and do this with someone holding the kid. EVER!

We shave the kids head. I call it the mohawk. The reason we do this is because it saves on time that the iron has to be on the kid. The iron burns the buds right away instead of having to pass through the fur first. Honestly, the kids scream more about being confined in the box and having their hair cut than they do having their buds burned.

The iron is hot! Make sure it's hot. We have lots of iron marks all over the barn, to make sure the iron is hot enough. It heats to 1500 degrees

The iron is placed on the bud for 5-8 seconds, then taken off to let the head cool off.
We do this 2-3 times. Also we scrape the middle of the bud to make sure the iron gets to that point.
This way we get no scurs.

The most important thing is to make sure you get a copper ring. That kills the bud.

We usually don't get scurs after. The only time is when it's a male and he doesn't get banded right away. My theory is that the testosterone must kick in and cause the scurs.

But that's just my theory.

After it's all done, they don't seem any worse for wear.

But like I've said before, don't try this without having been shown by someone that's done it many times before.

Have a Blessed Day.


  1. We disbud EVERY kid born on our farm. I started out with a hornless dairy herd, then went and got into Boers and ended up with three with horns. One of them just last month gored my best Saanen doe's udder and almost killed her from loss of blood (if I wasn't there when it happened I have absolutely no doubt she would have bled to death). Her udder is now totally ruined. The two horned Boers now wear rubber hose "U" around their horns and are in the sale paper, the third, the buck, is in his own pen but after this Fall's bredding, he's out of here. I was able to get a bottle baby Boer buckling so we disbudded him straight away. I have people say that Boers aren't supposed to have their horns removed, but you know what? They don't live here. We do what we have to in order to keep it as safe as possible.

    1. I've never heard of a Boer not being disbudded. A friend of ours just raises Boers and disbuds the entire lot of them. Weird. We're usually the ones to disbud them also.

  2. It looks good! You gotta do what you gotta do when you live on a farm! Good job for sharing this procedure!

    1. Thanks. My hubby was kinda leery at first about sharing, but I told him. That's our way of life. It's not for looks it's for safety reasons. Human safety and goat safety. At the moment our two girls are dueling it out. If they had horns I'd be afraid for them and the cattle and dog around them.

  3. I agree, it's just safer to have them de-horned.

  4. Lisa, my uncle de horned all the cattle he acquired, even the ones that already grown horns. It was just to unpredictable to be around cattle no matter how docile they seemed. I think you were wise not to put the process on a Youtube post. There are a lot of animal rights protesters out there that would not like what goes on at the homestead. City folks complain and get folks fined for what would be a normal action on the homestead. Our culture has moved too far away from the food source in my opinion. Most people from the city have no idea where food comes from past the grocery store.

    Have a great de budding day.

    1. The main reason I didn't put it on Youtube is because you shouldn't learn this procedure from the internet. What the animal rights people think, have no bearing on what we do here. They don't have to live with a bunch of ornery, temperamental, hormonal Alpine goats! lol

  5. I agree with your theory on testosterone.

    - Chantal C.


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