Disbudding Concerns

Discussion in 'Goats' started by KareninPA, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. KareninPA

    KareninPA Well-Known Member

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    I have a small herd of Nigerian Dwarfs, and breed just one doe each year for the milk. My goats have horns and I have never had the kids disbudded until this year. I only have a single doeling this year (that I'm selling) and decided this year I would suck it up and get it done. I took her to the recommended 'disbudder' when she was 22 days old, but they felt it was too early, and to give her hornbuds another 2 weeks. That would mean this Tuesday, so I contacted the woman to arrange a time. Sight unseen, she said we should wait even longer (end of next week). The doeling will be 5 and a half weeks old! I have an interested buyer who wants her disbudded, and I don't want to miss the opportunity. Isn't that too late to disbud?
     
  2. greenTgoats

    greenTgoats Well-Known Member

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    So long as the buds still fit in the disbudding iron, you can still disbud. But they're way more likely to get scurs and you have to burn for longer. It's best to do it before they're 10 days old.
     
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  3. ShannonR

    ShannonR hillbilly farmgirl

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    I agree, usually it's done at like a week old
     
  4. KareninPA

    KareninPA Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was afraid of. Well, her buds are still tiny, but I still can't see waiting a whole week more. I have contacted another, more reputable goat breeder.
     
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  5. ShannonR

    ShannonR hillbilly farmgirl

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    Good choice, the first woman frankly sounds like a flake. This isn't about the age of your goat for her, its about convenience on her end
     
  6. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I never understand the reasoning behind waiting on disbudding. I have found this is the attitude of many vets as well; they say they want "something to work with" and this means waiting typically 2-3 weeks. For me, as soon as that bud is about to pop through the skin is my sign to get to it. And this generally means about 5 days for the boys and 7-10 days for does, although this can vary depending on growth.
     
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  7. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    The idea behind waiting in goats is based on the fact that there is no sinus to buffer the heat from the iron, such as is present in calves. Vets are taught it is awfully easy to cook the brain and cause heat meningitis because of this. While we do see this once or twice a year at the diagnostic lab here at MSU, and I hear of several occurrences that don't make it to a diagnostic lab every year, disbudded both by producers and vets, I think it's more of a procedural error rather than an age issue. Older doesn't necessarily make it safer. The goal is a hot, rapid burn with a hot iron. Most damage comes from using a too-cool iron and leaving it applied too long in one burn. Using a proper size tip, an iron that holds heat well, NOT using a long extension line, and not using it in a windy area are all useful in producing a fast hot burn.

    Anywho, the reason these people (including those darn meddling vets) want to wait is for safety of the animals, wether we agree it's a true concern or not.
     
  8. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    Many vets also use anesthesia which can be a risk. I personally know of more than one goater who lost kid(s) simply because they never came around.
     
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  9. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    Anesthesia or sedation? General anesthesia is not common.

    Local anesthetics such as lidocaine are becoming more common because it's cheap, easy, low risk, and effective at blocking out the majority of nerves to the area. The trouble with sedation alone is that it doesn't actually do much to control the pain, just the response of the animal. Trouble with lidocaine is the low, low safe dose for small kids - requiring dilution to be safely administered in a volume easy to handle. Unlike cattle, they require a 4 point nerve block instead of a 2 point in calves, so you must stretch a small volume of the lidocaine even further - again, with dilution I'm hoping to come up with a balance. Vets are using it, and some few are even training producers to use it. You have to have the right producer to work with because it would be so easy to make a mistake and overdose. But when it works, MAN does it make a difference in disbudding. I've used it many times disbudding calves, and love it. You really know when you are disbudding a bud that you didn't get blocked well enough, that's for sure. The difference is the calf fighting the restraint, or the calf fighting a burn.

    The main risk with ruminants for heavy sedation and anesthesia is usually aspiration pneumonia secondary to regurgitation - a process made easy with a poorly developed stomach sphincter. Managing their constant saliva and their inherent natural regurgitation is the trick. Most sedation drugs should be easily reversed at the end of procedure and used at lower dosages so they aren't 'knocked down'. There is risk to everything, however. I'd like to try disbudding with sedation drugs once I'm able to and see what works. Already plan on working with my profs this year to learn the proper way to do a local block in goat kids if my schedule works out. :)
     
  10. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I meant sedation. Yep, of course not having to restrain a kid is a big advantage. But I just don't see it worth the risk for a "cosmetic" procedure. I disbud my kids by myself, without a box and effectively. But I can sure understand sedation for a big critter!
     
  11. Christopher McClung

    Christopher McClung Active Member

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    We get ours done before 1 week of age. We have found that waiting leads to a greater chance of scurs..especially in bucklings. Our herd sire was disbudded at 3 weeks of age and is the only goat in our heard tht gets scurs. We also have 1 doe with horns, and it has been a chore. She gets her head stuck in the fence at least once a month. Which leads to me cutting the fence and then fixing the fence. We just added electric, so hopefully that will never happen again!!
     
  12. greenTgoats

    greenTgoats Well-Known Member

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    ^You can band her horns.
     
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  13. KareninPA

    KareninPA Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately the 2nd woman did not reply to my email (I know they are busy on their farm and didn't really expect a reply) so I have an appt. with the original woman tomorrow evening. If I hadn't found the PERFECT home for her (and they need her disbudded) I would have just left her alone. So she is just over 5 weeks old and getting this done. I am terrified she will grow spurs, but I am putting my faith in this person as she has been breeding and disbudding goats far longer than I have ever owned any, and is very involved in 4-H. (I know, that's probably not a good reason).

    On that note, is there anyone out there that has POSITIVE stories associated with late disbudding? I'm probably opening up a can of worms.
     
  14. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    I've done several older than 5 weeks. They turned out fine. I've had horns so long I had to snip them shorter with the hoof trimmer to get them to fit in the disbudding iron. Most of those I popped off the horn bud with the edge of the disbudding iron and reburned a wee bit to 'touch up' and cauterize the remainder of bleeders after. The worst part about it is restraining the bigger kids. These were full size breeds only - I'd be even less worried about scurs on minis, but more worried about overburning them.

    Growing scurs is really not a problem. I'd rather have them have scurs then die a horrible death from heat meningitis. ;) They're cosmetically not very pretty, but cause so few real problems. Sure, they pop off sometimes and may bleed a wee bit, but it is not a significant amount. Many are worried about them 'growing into the head' but few would actually be strong enough to grow into the underlying skin when they curve around (if they curve around - not all do!) Most are poorly attached and mobile, especially in does. Many scurs can easily be trimmed back with OB wire or nippers with little or no bleeding in does. Bucks can be more problematic - The vast majority of full size bucklings I disbud I do with a figure 8 burn. Very young miniature bucklings that I do for others with little tiny immature horn buds, I will do a single burn instead of a figure 8. The entire horn bud is so small that I expect the teardrop shape of the horn base to be adequately covered with a single burn and if not, I'd rather have scurs than heat meningitis.
     
  15. KareninPA

    KareninPA Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the reassurance. I took her Thurs evening, not knowing if I would watch or not. I chose to walk away and plug my ears! It was my first time. o_O I was also afraid of distracting the couple doing it, in some way causing a botched job. Silly, I know. Anyway, it went well I believe. She was hopping around like her normal little self in no time. My biggest fear was heat meningitis, secondly scurs. The lady said she would reburn if they regrow - does the second burn usually do the trick? Hopefully they are gone for good.