Removing Young Horns

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Tango, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    My new Boer % doeling has her horns in tact. They are about 2.5 inches in length right now. I don't want horns around here. What can I use to remove them safely? I have a disbudding iron but it won't fit them.
    Also, if I band the horns how long before they atrophy and fall off?
     
  2. Trisha-MN

    Trisha-MN www.BilriteFarms.com

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    We had to band two Alpine bucklings this summer because their horns grew faster than we'd anticipated and we couldn't disbud them either (our fault for just not getting it done in time).

    It took about 5 weeks for them to to get loose. Each one lost one horn on one side first and then about 2 weeks later they lost the other horn.

    We did keep them separate while we were doing this and have decided that we're going to do everything we can to not have to band again.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    How long were their horns when you started Trisha? We disbudded our buckling with the iron and I can say it was much harder on me than it was on him:) But it seems like I am in a minority around here. Every darn kid I've asked about has horns :rolleyes: The buckling has horns too but he's not going to be around long enough to use them on anyone so I'm leaving them on him to avoid undue stress. Thing is, I only have a few weeks before I move all the goats to pasture and that was when I planned to introduce the new doeling to my small herd. Any quicker ideas?
     
  4. Trisha-MN

    Trisha-MN www.BilriteFarms.com

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    Our guys had horns about 3 inches long but the bases were pretty wide too.
    We do have always disbuded but these guys just happened along at a busy time
    and being bucks they grew faster than we had thought. When we disbuded the
    other kids the same age these two had horns that were already too large at the base so we just let them go until later this summer to get past fly season.
    The smaller less masculine buck's horns fell off faster.

    Is there any chance a calf horn iron might still fit over it? Otherwise, I don't have any other ideas but I'll bet others on this forum might :)
     
  5. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We tried banding horns this spring but the bands either broke or would not stay on. What did we do wrong?...Joan :confused:
     
  6. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    We banded our full grown Saanan who had huge horns. Too several months and rebanding about every 2-3 weeks but they did come off eventually and now are completely grown over so you can't tell she ever had horns.

    There are before, during and after pics of the banding on our site in my signature line.

    Kevin
     
  7. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    Farmmaid,

    if you cut a groove for the band to sit in, it won't move, then wrap in duct tape. Could the bands be old? or your goats rub their heads and break the bands...which is why a grove filed around really helps.
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Yep the groove works well. I used a rat tail file to make the groove. Since in about a week the groove gets so deep, and you can't see the bands, from the pressure from the elasatator bands, I simply put the doe up on the milkstand and rolled new bands down in the groove each week. This gave me a chance to really look at the process also. Before you start make sure they are up to date on their tetanus.

    If the kid was less than 6 months old I would disbud. Forget the disbudder. Use a piece of pipe that is the same size as the base of the horn. Hold onto it with vice grips, using welding gloves, heat it to cherry red either in a fire or with a propane torch. I didn't want to lug my boer kids up to the dairy barn to be disbudded, so we used this method to disbud all of them out at pasture. Once your fitting or pipe is cherry red, use your hoof nippers to cut the horn off flush with the head, beware the artery will pump blood at you. Use the pipe fitting on it's side to stop all the bleeding. Now reheat the fitting, or with a fire you can have several fittings sitting in the fire. Now using the pipefitting as a regular disbudder your can now burn around and on top of the edge of the horn bud, which is where the root grows. Burn down until your get a nice copper ring. Burn one more time flat on top of the head to make sure you cauterized the bleeders well. Apply ice in a ziplock baggies to the top of the head, and a shot of Banamine for pain works well on older kids like this.

    Next year if you missed any of the root and you have scurs use the winter as a time to band the scurs off.

    Banding is mostly done on older stock, since the horn is full grown it rarely grows much more. If you band young stock the horn will grow and eventually you will have a horn with a flat top, that you have to band. Banding unless you put it very low into the head, will not kill the root. Putting it down into the head makes this whole process way to painful. If you are doing this you should sedate the goat and have his horns scooped out by a vet or a cattleman. My vet then sews the skin together so the goat does no have gaping holes into the sinus cavity. You also have to stop bleeders with the scoop and stitch method.

    Learn to disbud, disbud all your males before they are a week old!

    Dehorning is definetly not for the faint of heart. Vicki
     
  9. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    As I read this, I could only think of one thing: Dremel Tool. I use mine almost daily. It's the cordless, handheld model. I got it from Wal-Mart for less than $20.00. I use it on the parrots to trim their nails and beaks. Could you use this to make a groove for the band?
     
  10. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    yes it will, that is an automated rat tail file. I use a soldering iron to burn in a groove.
     
  11. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Just reading about it even :eek: I think I'll take the banding option.
     
  12. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Very nice photos Kevin :) Nice animals.
     
  13. Ark

    Ark Well-Known Member

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    What about just tipping the horns?

    We took 3 Boer wethers to have their horns tipped by the vet (for 4-H) and it was quick and easy. Very little bleeding once he got that silver spray stuff on.

    It only cost us $7 per boy.

    I wish he had cut them a little shorter though, because he left about 3 inches on and if they are being stubborn it's hard to lead them. When you hold the collar, if they decide to throw their heads back, those horns hurt! Not as bad as if they were pointy though.
     
  14. GoatTalkr9

    GoatTalkr9 Well-Known Member

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    Our vet used surgical wire,then an iron on the 3 inch horns on our two doelings. It ran 22.00 total for the whole visit,and was definitely less stressful than our attempting to dehorn,lol!
     
  15. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. We scaled it down to the ten girls on the site so our move would be easier. We used to have enough to fill 10 web pages LOL
     
  16. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    i'm new to goat raising and i don't even have my goat yet. she is coming in about 4 weeks when she is breed. so i'm thinking a lot about how to raise the kids and if it is really nesesary to dehorn them. if you want to raise them as naturly as possible wouldn't it be normal to leave the horns on? most the time in germany they leave them on. i heard a lot about possible injuries but in the wild they don't kill each other and nobody dehorn them. the other argumend was that they can get stuck in the fence. if there is an electric fence don't they stay away from it? last my own safety. can a goat kill me with the horns? how offen did that happen or did it happend at all?
    i'm not so sure what i should do. the hole procedure sounds so cruel to the animal.
     
  17. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Hi Suzanne, I'm a newbie too and I can tell you there are people on both sides of this issue, so you are not alone. I can tell you why I chose for my goats to be dehorned/disbudded. I am adament about humane raising too. I have one goat w/ horns in my small herd of five (to be six tomorrow- an ALPINE :D ). I purchased a buckling for meat but I grew to like him. Now he has long horns, which curl back, thankfully. He is 50% Boer. Yesterday he brushed past me, getting into position at his feed bowl. One of his horns scratched the width of my back. I worry about my face, especially my eyes, when I've had to medicate him. When he gets rough with the girls, he can hurt them. That will be the day my attachment to him will end. I don't think of it at all as their natural state. They are domesticated animals in confinement- they are out of their natural element by evolution. I think dehorned/disbudded goats are safer to have in livestock situation for everyone concerned.
     
  18. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When Petunia was dieing from Listerioisis (our first expereince with it) I got jabbed just below the eye socket with one of her horns. Very scary! It was not her fault and I realized that but she could have easily caused serious damage. We have had goats with horns and goats without horns. We have also had cows with horns and cows without. With dairy cattle they either all need horns or they all need dehorned! No mixing there. Just ask Simone how shes feels about horns...her side swelled out big time when Snowdrift lit into her side with horns.
    With goats I have more trouble working with Iris, Sammie, and Velvet than I do with some of the does that are far less tame simply because I have to be careful about their horns.
    Since burning a kids' horns before they are a week old is so quick it makes sense to do that and avoid all the potential problems that horns can cause later.
    Our vet (assistant) does our dehorning for us.
     
  19. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My cashmeres have always had horns. Mostly because it's traditional for fiber goats to have their horns. I've just learned to work around them. I run 2 electric wires inside of the woven wire to keep them away from the fence entirely and make sure any structures inside of the barn either have no gaps or have gaps large enough that the goats won't get their horns stuck. I do have to watch out that I don't get knocked by the horns - most likely to happen when the goats are cuddling up and rubbing while I scritch their favorite spots. I also do have their horns tipped - so I don't have to worry about pointy things.

    One thing I will caution is that if you decide to leave your goats with horns, every other goat you introduce should also have horns. If you have a herd with no horns, you really should not be introducing a horned goat. Horns give an animal a really unfair advantage against those without horns during the inevitable dominance sparring and even while just playing.