Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nip it in the Bud

Since I don't want horned goats, and since non-horned goats sell better than horned goats, I decided to disbud the kids. Disbudding is done by burning the horn buds when the goat kids are really young. It's best to do this before the horn buds break through the skin, which can be really early on buck kids. Brutus was born ready to disbud, but I wanted to wait a few days so I knew he was strong and healthy.

Yesterday David and I disbudded him. David is the holder and I am the burner. Here is the before picture.


I start out by shaving the hair around the buds because burning hair smells really bad, and the less hair there is to burn the better.


Swiss breed bucklings (like Oberhaslis) have large horn bases, so a figure-8 burn is commonly done to prevent scurs. If you look in the picture above, you can see the two horn buds, and the lines of the horn base extending toward the forehead.

Here is the after picture. There are the 2 normal burns around the horn buds, and there are the 2 extra burns that make up the figure-8. "They" say to burn until you get a copper ring. I do have some copper around the bud, but I felt like the iron had been on his head long enough. After I disbudded Brutus, I offered him a bottle and he drank, which comforted him. Baby animals always go nurse mom when they get stressed by something, and I feel like this mimics that and helps soothe them.


I haven't disbudded many kids. I did 4 last year and none of them ended up growing scurs. Hopefully I'll be that lucky with my 2 this year!

6 comments:

Michaele said...

Looks like you did a good job. It is such an unpleasant thing to do to babies. I dread it every year.

Becky said...

I know he must have felt better after a bottle. :) They tell Moms to nurse their human babies after they get their shots so it must be universal. :) I know it's not a pleasant thing to do but you did a great job.

Jennifer said...

One day when I get my goats guess I'm gonna have to learn to do this....... I'm alittle scared.

Deb said...

Oh I remember that process. You are so brave Katie! And it looks very professional! It's a must do just like tail docking with sheep. Good job hon and your animals are lucky to you do the right thing even if it's not pleasant. Love you, Momma

Kim said...

I keep telling myself, "If Katie can do it, I can too." This is in my near future since we just got goats. Hope I can do as good a job as you did.

katiegirl said...

Jennifer and Kim, I know you'll do a great job!!

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