Horns

Discussion in 'Goats' started by JAM, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. JAM

    JAM Well-Known Member

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    I just had someone tell me today that goats that are not disbudded stay warmer in cold climates. Something to do with the nerve endings. Anyone ever hear of this?
     
  2. elly_may

    elly_may Well-Known Member

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    The best way to describe the horns purpose is they function as a radiator. The horns do have blood vessels going through to circulate and shed heat in the warmer temps too. Some other reasons not to dehorn or disbud:

    Horns are 'social' organs; goats use them to re-establish the herd 'pecking order' which they do on a near continual basis. Removing the horns does not remove the genetic impetus to butt another goat, the goats' normal social interaction, but does remove the protective effect of the horns, which are designed not only to give, but to receive blows, and protect the skull. The outer visible layer of the horn is composed of protein, but it covers a hard bone core that fuses with the skull somewhere in the first year or two of life.

    Horns are thermoregulatory organs, regulating the temperature of the blood supply to the brain

    Horns serve as indicators of protein metabolism and general feed conversion efficiency; the more massive the structure and the more and deeper the corrugations, the better the goat may assimilate and utilize its feed. They also indicate past experiences with serious illness

    Horns indicate the age of an animal the annual rings are easy to see

    Horns are useful 'tools' to goats; they serve not only as 'back-scratchers' but also as working appendages to assist goats with small daily tasks
     

  3. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    Trish,

    I have to agree with you , my goats use their horns alot but are not mean with their horns , my girls know that their horns are dangerous and know how to use the tips to jab but are very careful not to "get me" with them in any way, even the babies have a sense of when to , and not to, use their horns. Also the babies horns started breaking off and I knew right away that they were needing minerals I had not offered before. Even though they acted fine,so in essence saved the goats from worse problems by indicating the shortage. And although I don't like doing it because they hate it so much, the horns make great handles if you have to pull them somewhere or hold them still.

    I am pro horn even though I understand it will be almost impossible to ever sell them , but thats ok because they are just pets anyway
     
  4. GrannieD

    GrannieD Well-Known Member

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    To each his own,but to add a practical view to the "pet goat" world I disagree about leaving horns on..radiators..thats a new one!! I've milked goats in Minn. & Montana & Missouri...The easiest to handle goats have been the "no horns " girls! The ones with horns cause no end of problems being aggresive with others..they know they are dangerous for sure & set about being the boss..Also having my face constantly near the horns is not my idea of safety..one knock in the teeth is more than enough...We put 80 goats through the line morning & night & wouldn't have a horned one to cause trouble in the alley or stand.. The only animals left with horns are the pastured goats for protection as in the meat goat or brush goat ... I think you give newcomers some erroneous ideas about having milkers with horns..they are not in the least considerate of the damage they do to udders & the less aggresive goats. GrannieD
     
  5. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    I guess it's your own opinion to keep horns or not. We disbud all the kids the first week or so. They still butt each other and sometimes the grandkids when they get too close to the babies...not hard just enough to keep them away from their babies. We do sell our goats also and horns people do not want. Have heard that they can get tangled in fencing etc and the milk stands. But...nature did make them for a reason.
     
  6. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Granny,

    Didn't mean to give the wrong impression to newcomers or anybody, my few goats are just brush eaters and have the run of three acres, nothing more. I don't milk and never will with this crew . My neighbor on one side has 4 pit bulls, the neighbor on the other side has two cur dogs and we have a bob cat that strolls through now and again . Even with a guard donkey and three strands of electric ontop of field fencing I just feel a whole lot better that they have their horns.
     
  7. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    I prefer no horns. It is all a matter of what you are used to, what you are going to do with the goat. How the goat is being housed or penned, etc. A domestic goat does not need horns. One that may be forced to defend themselves, should have their horns. I have heard of goats with horns getting caught in fencing and wound up dying before they were found. If using for 4-H, they should be disbudded or dehorned before showing. There is no right or wrong, just a matter of preference as well as good judgment based on where they live and what is expected of them.
     
  8. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    If it is true about the rings, then my Boer buck must be truly anchient! LOL. I don't believe it. I know for a fact that he's only about 3 years old. He has a truly massive and impressive set of horns. You can't control him with those though. It takes 3 people or a squeeze chute to restrain him. He's the size of a small steer. However, I like to have a place to hold onto the boer does. We wouldn't be able to restrain them any other way (without the chute) They do use the horns on one another. I planned my house and pens to give everybody lots of space. That helps. My milkers are disbudded.

    Yes, the horns get caught in a hogwire fence or cattle panel. No, they aren't able to get themselves out all the time. That's why we use 8 strands of barbed wire with an electrified strand at chest height. They can move their head around and get out of parallel wires. We have one little short piece of hog wire along a creek. It's the only way we could fence that place and make it work. I do twice daily checks on that piece of fence. Some of the does got caught twice at first, but it's been months since any of them have tried it again.
     
  9. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    The fence around our yard and orchard is woven wire (openings 2 by 4 inches) with a barbed wire on top. They still manage to get inside and eat our fruit trees and garden now and then. :mad:
     
  10. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I don't want any horns on this homestead. did that ,and got rid of them . the buck soon learned to use the horns, and got me . Thank God, I turned a little, so all I got was a bruise. had a doe with horns, got rid of her, she punctured another doe, and had to have the vet out. I will never have a baby grow horns.
    I really don't know what you mean by scrub goats, you mean goats that you put out to forge, on what ever is growing, and then give them just water.? today, unless you own a hundred acres or so, the goats, can't move enough to find everything that they need, by just browsing. they need alfalfa hay, and grain, and minerals. and they just can't get that on a few acres of land. I think Vicki, could probably tell you just how much land is needed for letting them just browse, and be healthy.
    I shut up my goats at night. and we hav great pyreense in with them . at all times. we do hav wolfs, and cyotes here. and they will steal a goat, if they can get to it.
    I know a lot of you might disagree with what I just said, but I think as I said before, I think Vicki did a post on this before, but not sure.
     
  11. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    Our goats are not "scrub" goats, but the goats do have access to 40 acres routinely, plus hay, plus 14 % creep feed. They also have several sources of water, and there are an additional 220 acres we could give them access to if we wanted to chase them that far. They have native grass and plenty of browse, and 2 acres of winter wheat in the winter time to graze.

    They come in to the shed at night and get fed and shut in. We have 2 dogs outside the pen that chase at small animals and bark at large ones. Plus there is a miniature donkey with them in the pen and all day at pasture.

    We raise our goats for the meat market. A few of them I use for milkers just for us. I had a mean doe who smashed everybody. I sold her. Anybody in myherd who is particularly aggressive and has an attitude, gets sold. My buck never acts like he's going to "get me" and his horns are not sharp anyway. He'd have to hurt me by smashing me. The only time a goat has used his horns on me was a little buck kid who had been teased and learned that people are for fighting with. Sale barn for him. He just bruised my knee. None of my boers seem to have shapr horns. Some of the dairy ones who aren't disbudded do though. I plan to "tip" their horns.
     
  12. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    You'd be hard pressed to find a fiber goat in this area without horns. So I've just gotten used to them. None of my goats have ever gotten caught in the woven wire fencing I use - I'm knocking on wood right now.

    Yes, the horns do act as radiators for the goats. I can tell by feeling their horns if the critters are staying warm enough in the winter by how warm the base of their horns is under my hand.

    Also, I take my goats packing in the summer and fall. There are coyotes, cougars, and bears out there that would happily make a meal out of a goat. Even though I'm there to protect them if I need to, I like that they can get some really good licks in by themselves. (there have never been any problems, but it's one of those things you think about when you take critters you care about into the woods)
     
  13. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    shortys mom, I think debitaber is talking to me. I guess if you don't explain every thing, every time, it leads to misunderstandings. I never said they only eat brush. They get fed goat feed with ammonium cloride, twice a day ( this is because 3 of the 7 are wethers and I have already had to have one put to sleep because of urinary calculi ) , they also get alfalfa pellets, loose minerals and baking soda, there is a roll of pangola hay in the field and they get t&A hay at night when they get shut in the barn ( that we had built because of them ) They get professionally hoof trimmed once a month. They are 7 of the most loved and petted goats around,.. My husband and I both work and are children are grown, we choose to use our disposable income to have animals around us just to love. My original two does had horns when I bought them from a guy and I didn't know better , that you had a choice, but I did choose to leave all the babies with horns for aforementioned reasons. ie my neighbor seems to collect pit bull dogs . I also am very aware that 7 goats, one horse and one donkey are way too many for 3 acres, where I live in florida it takes 5 acres for just one horse because the quality of the "grass" is so poor. But which ones go, the two does I got for Mothers day or the 5 children we helped birth?????

    I am not a professional goat owner and don't pretend to be but I have enjoyed learning from this site and thank all of you who have so graciously shared your wisdom and expierence . Without you I would never have known about baking soda or loose minerals or that Lavernes black hair turning red means worms etc etc as well as a host of other bits and pieces I have picked up from this site.
     
  14. keithil53

    keithil53 Member

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    I have pygmy goats to eat brush, although in the winter they have hay available
    at all times and I feed them a small quanity of shelled corn .Horns are valuable as handles when I want to catch one.Also the horns are v shape and they use them to scrape the bark off saplings which they eat.The first billy I had kept
    my shins raw ,his previous owner had teen age boys that probably teased him.
    On this panel I was advised to throw him down and sit on him and squirt water in his face.This slowed him but didn't stop him.As soon as the girls were bred,I
    grabbed his horns , tied him to a tree and clamped him.Now he's my tamest
    goat.
    Keith