Dehorning and tatooing

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Kimi, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. Kimi

    Kimi Active Member

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    Ohio
    Is dehorning really, really necessary? I just can't hardly stand the thought of having to burn the babies. :waa: Besides I think they're horns are beautiful.
    What about the dehorning paste, is this not as good as burning? I have used it before on calves and it worked well.

    Also what's the best kind of tatooing equipment to buy? I read that Boers have to have a letter and numbers. Is that for all registered goats?

    Thanks!
     
  2. GoldenWood Farm

    GoldenWood Farm Legally blonde! Supporter

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    I prefer to burn horns...it hurts just for a few seconds and it tends to be numb.

    I figure its better to have a little bit of pain young than get their horns caught and worse ripped out when older :no: .

    I think their horns are pretty but I can't stand having them on my goats...I will never ever have a horned goat. 1) because they can seriously injure me or another goat without meaning to 2) Don't ruin the fences or feeders 3) Can't rip them out 4) No worrying about what if's

    I just all in all think its safer for them to not have horns.

    As far as the paste goes I am not sure on how well it works...I have never used it.

    I will say that it was very hard at first for me to have my goats disbudded..but when I thought about them maybe getting a horn ripped out or getting stuck or hurting me I decided a little pain is better than that.

    But thats my opion...I know people who keep their goats horns....but for me its to much of a saftey issue for them and me.

    MotherClucker(sorry don't know about the tatoo stuff...I am still learning about that :bash: .)
     

  3. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    My personal opinion is that de-horning (dis-budding) is cruel especially if you don't even know whether or not you should. We have raised goats for 16 years and have never REPEAT never had a problem with horns.

    Right now we have 88 goats consisting of Angoras.. Boers and Pygmys all living in the same barn and same pasture. Once in a great while we'll get bumped and end up with a bruise but I've gotten more bruises from doors and walls and simply tripping over my own feet than from the goats.

    Now don't get me wrong.. I do believe that some goats need to be disbudded... dairy goats for instance and that is because of extremely close working quarters and extremely large horns.

    If you're not sure about dis-budding and have no specific reason please don't do it. Unless you're going to be milking ....but for Boers and other breeds let them live undisturbed.

    As far as horns tearing up fences a simple strand of electric offset from the fence works wonders.

    Just my opinion. If you're curious check out our website www.mainegoats.com and see our beautiful horned goats!
     
  4. rhjacobi

    rhjacobi Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Tennessee
    Hi Kimi,

    We raise Boer goats and Boer percentages. We do not dehorn, but Boer horns curve around the side of their head rather than stick out sideways or to the front. If they are of that nature, Boers will butt or hook onto you rather than try to gore you with a horn. There are some breeds out there that I probably would seriosly consider dehorning if we had any.

    As far as I know, Boer goats that have been dehorned can participate in sanctioned shows, but I would verify this if this is a possibility for you.

    The only draw backs that I have noticed with Boers with horns are as follows:
    An "affectionate" buck will sometimes snag your clothes when he rubs on you. They can use their horns to assist in opening gate latches. There is a period of time during their growth that they can sometimes get hung up in a standard field fence - when their heads and horns get to be big enough this goes away. We are also beginning to fence everything with field fence where the openings are a uniform 4 inches and this has eliminated getting head/horns getting caught. I have had very unruly bucks try to hook onto my leg with a horn, but they are not shaped to be any good for goring you.

    On the plus side for leaving their horns: It is part of their normal defense. I find the horns to be a wonderful handle for assistance when having to do something they don't want to do. The horns actually seem to make head gate type devices safer for the goats because you don't have to close it so hard where they may twist their larynx sideways into too tight of a hold.. I don't feel endangered by the Boer shaped horns (I may have less apprehension because of several years with cattle). After a couple of serious meetings of the mind with some unruly bucks that were about twice my weight (not an exaggeration), I firmly believe that those wonderful horn handles are the only reason that I still can walk with out assistance.

    I am not familiar with other breed associations, but Boers do have to be tatooed in each ear. One ear is for your personal herd indentifier and the other ear is for the individual animal indentifier. You would need both letters and numbers. Unless you get two sets of numbers, it gets difficult doing double numbers such as 33 or 66, so just skip those numbers - don't put a double number in your herd identifier unless you plan to buy extra numbers. I think that we got ours from Hoeggers Supply. I have found these folks to always be very helpful if you ask questions while you are deciding. I think that our set is about 1/4 inch size numbers and letters. They are little needles positioned in the form of the letter or number and they fit a holder that can clamp the needles onto the ear for a quick tatooing job. You ink the ear and squeeze.

    I hope that this helps.

    Bob
    Lynchburg, TN.
     
  5. Kimi

    Kimi Active Member

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    Thank you for the replies, they were very helpful. I believe I will go with not dehorning for the most part and if I have problems, I'll reconsider at that time. I will likely will dehorn 4H wethers for the children's safety.

    I went to your websites as well and you all have such nice stock! I plan on making many visits to many farms this summer so that when I'm ready to buy, I should have a pretty good grasp on what I want.
    I'm going to a Boer show May 7th in Zanesville (Ohio). Will anyone from this forum be going?

    Since I'm pretty new to goats, I hope you all won't mind many questions as I go along.

    Thanks again! ;)
     
  6. rhjacobi

    rhjacobi Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Tennessee
    Hi Kimi,

    We would like very much to help you avoid some of the not so great things that we have experienced. So, please don't stop asking questions!

    Bob
    Lynchburg, TN.

     
  7. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are approaching this with a very mature attitude. I wish most of my customers came to visit after they have done some homework. It's amazing some of the questions people ask. Of course there is no such thing as a dumb/stupid question but I can always tell if someone is prepared for raising any kinds of livestock.

    Visit as many farms and shows as are possible. Remember not everyone that responds to your questions is an expert so take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt. Also remember that what works in Texas may/does not work in Maine or Ohio or other parts of the country. Find what works best for you and good luck!
     
  8. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Just a couple of comments. It is problematic to keep horned and disbudded animals together. The hornless animals always end up on the bottom of the totem pole, and can be injured by the horned ones. We've had a couple of sheep gored by horned goats. Never had a horned goat deliberately try to hurt a person, and if you are careful an adult should be alright with horned goats. I'd be a little concerned about children, though. They could easily be hurt by accident, especially by the shorter horns on a young animal or a doe. And goats are more likely to challenge someone who is smaller than they are, and that would include most children. These are the reasons for the 4-H rules against horned goats.

    Horns do look nice, though, and they are useful for handles. I'm going to try using elastrator bands on my kids this year, as soon as their horns get big enough to put the bands on. I've always had trouble with scurs using a disbudding iron (afraid to keep it on long enough, I guess). And we tried the paste once, and again, got bad scurs.

    Kathleen
     
  9. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    i disbud at 5-7 days, i have dairy goats, and it just isn't worth the hassle for the horns. they don't like the horns being grabbed as "handles" and those horns are dangerous, especially around children. and they aren't that good as protection against predators. it takes about 15 seconds to get a sufficient burn, per bud, on a goat 5-7 days old. the iron should be hot enough to burn a good solid circle on a piece of 2x4 in that amount of time. the skin that is burned should be a coppery color. i use furall, an antiseptic spray that instantly freezes (it is great for kitchen burns on humans, too.) right after i burn. they are fine, right after the spray and mama (bottle or teat).