Why disbud?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by stanb999, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I read on here that you'all seem to want to disbud all your goats. Then about half the posts are about the problems due to preditors. This makes no sence to me. Leave them goats with the weapons god gave them and they will send the attackers packing.

    http://public.fotki.com/stanb888/farm_pics/picture_006.html

    Go here to see a lamancha with horns. They are quite impressive if you let them grow.
     
  2. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    OK, first of all, horns do very little do help a goat avoid a predator. Goats are not likely to have a stand down with a predator. They usually run until they are exhausted and then get eaten or just killed. Secondly, the horns do more to make prey out of them than anything. The last thing you want in your herd is a goat stuck in the fence, off by itself and hollering (sounds to predators like a dinner bell). Goats are very curious creatures. They will get wound up in the most precariouus positions and you have to get them out. Two horns makes it twice as difficult. Another really good reason to disbud and probably the biggest reason for most folks is to keep dairy goats udders from getting torn. Goats like to push each other around. Time and time again, they jab each other in the side with their horns. Now, with all that said, we do have goats with horns and goats without horns. So far, they do well together and I've had no torn udders (thank God). Once a herd has been together for a while, the fighting tends to cease because the pecking order has been established. Another reason to disbud dairy goats is b/c you have to in order to show them. Most people don't remove horns on the Boer goats. We don't. The horns come in really handy on those b/c they can sometimes be difficult to catch and the horns are an easy target. So, I guess, I am saying that I like the dairy goats to be disbudded and I'd prefer no horns on any of my goats but I see a neccesity in having horns on the Boers for handling purposes. I hate that the goats get stuck in fences etc. but if you have the small hole goat fence, you could avoid that. The main point is, goats are prey with or without horns. They are too docile and timid to be anything other than that. That is why they require guardian animals to look out for them.
     

  3. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I don't discount what you say about the fence at all. But goats being a horned herd animal will stand together and defend the herd like bison, water bufflo, or other horned animals. This is due to the fact that a horned animal will "stand and fight". They have that as an instinctual behavior. The behavior is not like that of deer that "run off". You are seeing the after affects in the kill situation. Not the encounter. You also stated the one left alone to fend for it's self is quite vulnerable. With this I also agree.
    The fact is that a horned goat herd can defend it's self from most preditors. But the slow or weak are still vulnerable. As is the case in nature.
     
  4. nduetime

    nduetime I am a Christian American Supporter

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    My lamancha, ( and btw, I like the pics of your goats) was raised in the house with a broken leg for about 4 months. She liked to climb into my lap. When her horns came in I thought I would leave them until she stuck me in the cheek trying to get on my lap. Now she knows better and is well behaved but I can see where it can be a safety issue for people as well as the goats. I am lucky to live in an area where we do not have a lot of predators other than coyotes but my dogs and their pasture being somewhat close to the house and stable keeps them away.
     
  5. Cashs Cowgirl

    Cashs Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well I have kids and I don't need them hurt by a goat. I had a boer and she was as sweet as pie, but would head butt from time to time just in play and I'm sure if she had her horns it would have hurt!

    I am getting two LaManchas on Monday and they actually have 2 inch spikes that I wanted to be removed if I was to purchase them. The lady is actually able to take them to the local vet school and get them done for free for me! I too don't want torn udders, fence issues, goats getting hung up. My sheep don't have horns either.
     
  6. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    I have goats with horns.I don't milk mine but I do handle them daily..I almost had my eye taken out trying to help one while giving birth..I also always have bruises from everyone wanting to be too close.Nothing agressive its just hard to be cuddly when you have spears sticking out of your head.I have one that constantly will go between my legs to watch whatever I am doing but like the fence the horns go one way easily but not the other :shrug: Other than the occassional head butt to each other they never use them as weapons.They do make great back scratchers though.
     
  7. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    In situations where coyotes or even dogs have attacked, I know of several people who have lost their goats, both horned and hornless. In areas or situations where predators can be a problem I think a pyr or anatolian or other livestock guard animal would be highly advised rather than relying on goats to use their horns to survive. But that reason would be pretty far down the list for me on whether or not to disbud my goats. It's just so much easier all around not to have those horns in the way. I did have a horned buck one time and simply when I bent over he threw his head up and really hurt me with the horn. Plus so many get stuck in fencing. Whatever works for you is good management, so I can only speak for myself.
     
  8. Sweet Goats

    Sweet Goats Cashmere goats

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    I have goats that have to have horns to show. I do understand both cases, but I thank god that we decided to go with a goat that HAS to have horns, because I could NEVER dehorn the little guys, just like I could never eat one of mine. I give all you credit that can, I mean nothing ill about you buthcering your animals at all. I could never buthcher a cow if I had one either. I am a 4H leader and we teach the kids to respect the horns. We teach the kids how to hold the goats during a show and if you are out with the goats. Like stan999 said the horns are a great way to catch them. I know when people milk you have a stand that horns would not fit in, that is why we had to but a different stand to prepare our goats. We have had goats get cought in the fence, then I realized what I had to do so I fixed the problem. (I changed out the fence), I have never had a goat hurt another one with their horns, but other people I know have. I believe horns are a personal choice, (and a show choice).
    Have a great day everyone. :)
     
  9. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    stanb999 - If you feel that they should keep their horns, that is what I would do, if I were you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. You have to learn what you can and can't live with. Hopefully, you live in an area where you don't have anything worse than coyotes to deal with. They might stand a chance, in a group, with or without horns. One or two coyotes will probably not attack a large herd but would go after a small, weak or secluded goat. Like moonspinner suggested, I wouldn't personally want to rely on the goat's horns to protect themselves. We will most likely be purchasing a couple of guardian dogs, maybe the Maremmas. I just feel much safer. Our goats have never shown signs of being capable of protecting themselves but maybe they would suprise me in a truly scary situation. Like Sweet Goats said, it is a personal choice or show choice. There isn't a right or wrong answer just a preference.
     
  10. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Horns will never be enough to send a serious predator packing. You will still lose goats with or without horns if you do not protect them. The biggest users of livestock guardians are the large meat goat herds. The goats all have horns in these herds. Do the horns keep them safe from predators?? Absolutely *not*. Thus the owners use dogs. Dogs work, horns don't.
     
  11. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I know of people who have goats with horns in their hornless herd. And those are the goats who w/o meaning to, will pin an arm against a wall or spike a knee just turning their heads.

    My friend doesn't disbud. "God put those horns there for a reason!" One day we went to a barn where she was keeping her goats temporarily, and one of her goats had her head stuck in the fence next to where it met the wall. There was a deep groove worn in the wall where she had obviously been twisting her head back and forth trying to disengage. The other goats might have been butting her defensless rear end and sides, for all we know. Since she only visited them once daily at inconsistent times to feed and water them, that goat could have been stuck like that for over 24 hours straight.

    I have a dairy herd. I have good fences, good barns and a good dog. Soon I will also have electric fencing. No need for horns. My goats are not wild and wouldn't have a clue how to use them in case of an emergency. Their first and foremost instinct seems to be RUN!
     
  12. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    No the horns wont protect them completly. But I've seen what they do when they get scared. They have a fear to the great big orange thing (my kabota). When it comes near they sckater into the shed and all you see is horns sticking out. I figure you wouldn't want to get in their just then. They also need to be protected from the large preditors bears, large cats, a large pack of yoats. But I've seen it posted on here to worry about foxs and small dogs. They wouldn't stand a chance in getting a horned goat.
     
  13. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I see what your saying, but I stand by what I said. :) We have *large* numbers of coyotes and neighborhood dogs around here and horns won't stop them. Maybe a fox or *a* small dog, but a pack of small dogs can do damage as well. But most dogs out in the country that will be problems are not usually small dogs. Between just the next door neighbors on three sides of our acreage I can count *at least* 15 medium to large dogs. If they ever got after my goats, even the horned 250# bucks aren't going to stand a chance. But I don't have to worry about that, as I keep my LGD's. :)
    Disbudding or not is something that everyone decides for himself. But I would not decide pro or con with predator protection being the deciding factor. Horns don't have a whole lot to do with that. Fencing, market, herd situation, type of goat, personal preference....those should all be deciding factors. But herd protection?? Not really a good enough reason in itself to decide whether keeping horns is good for your herd. If you raise brush goats, meat goats or pygmy's, horns should be ok as far as selling goes. If you raise dairy goats, you will have a harder time selling your excess if they have horns. Just a fact. There are other deciding factors as well. I have had horned goats and am now almost 100% horn-free. In a herd of 150 goats, I have one horned doe and one horned buck. They are here because I want their genetics. When I have enough of their progeny in the herd, I will sell them and not have to worry about horns again.
    Horns or no horns, its just personal preference. But please don't anyone rely on horns alone to protect your goats from predators. Its not enough, especially during kidding season when a doe would have to protect herself and as many as 4 newborn kids at one time.
     
  14. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    haha, tell that to my herd queen, Daisy. She's fended off all three of our dogs, our neibors new dog, my friend's dog that we were babysitting (and a sheltie mix too,) and also an uninvited dog guest. She's horned and knows it... She CHASED the dogs out of her pen and away from her herd. she also butts the fence when a dog gets too close.
    Now, I am looking into a LGD because I know she won't be able to do so everytime or if the dog is bigger or actually gets Daisy to run away. then there would be trouble.
     
  15. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to argumentive, Dona, but were those dogs acting in a predatory manner...if you saw this happen, were you and others right there to intervene if need be? Were the dogs just curious and sniffing around and doing a little "what happens if bark at or chase these critters" in a not-so-deadly manner?
    It can be very different when a pack of coyotes or some vicious dogs who have learned how to "run" deer or livestock get into your pen. And you are not there to lend courage or call off the dogs.
    My mama doe head butts the fence when our golden retriever comes sniffing around, and she would probably fight to the death for her babies. She has courage, but it would probably be HER death...
     
  16. boren

    boren Well-Known Member

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    This year I decided not to disbud the wethers, I was out of town for a bit and didn't feel like dealing with the good size horn buds. Never again. It's such a pain to deal with kids with two 6" spikes sticking out of their heads. I can't wait till they go off to the butcher in a few months time.

    If you need to hold a kid it's really easy to stradle one with your legs around it's neck and that gives you both hands free to trim hooves/vaccinate/etc. With horns he lifts his head up and spears you in the butt, even if he doesn't mean harm it hurts.

    My wife helps me with disbudding. Honestly they complain more about being restrained than about disbudding.
     
  17. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Exactly. If those dogs had *really* wanted to get her, they *would* have.
     
  18. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    I am against horns and here's why:

    In the past, I had a pretty good sized herd of both horned and unhorned goats and horned sheep (barbadoes) that free-ranged out here. It was a pretty natural setting.(people have moved in around me and now the goats are penned) I had no Livestock Guardian Dogs at that time. i didn't even know about them. I lost 29 head of goats and sheep...horned as well as unhorned to dogs in a horrible slaughter. Bodies ripped open everywhere, goats still alive but in shock. The one goat that survived was hornless. The horns did not help a thing.

    Another thing: I have pulled so many horned goats out of fences it is just horrible. They can be in the hot sun for hours or have other goats ramming them enough to kill them.

    Also, horned goats can injure a person terrible as they lift up their head from a feed bowl if you are bending over pouring the feed. Things like that. Innocent accidents. It is the visitors I worry about that don't understand goat behavior and don't know how to stay out of the way of horns.

    And, selling the kids is more difficult. Disbudded kids command a higher price. Most folks insist on hornless goats and it increases sales.

    BTW, i now have 3 Great Pyrenees and never worry about any predators...never even lose a chicken to a hawk with these dogs around....the best thing I ever did was get these dogs!
     
  19. billygoatridge

    billygoatridge Well-Known Member

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    I've seen goats with horns and no horns roll a dog, but neither time was the dog being aggressive. Just in the goats way. The only goat I ever lost to dogs had horns. I've also had a goat hang to death from getting their horns stuck in a fence and a goat that had a permanent kink in her neck after panicking from getting her head stuck in a feeder. I've also had some broken legs in goats from a horned goats butting not to mention bruises on myself (intended or not). I'm so glad all I have now is hornless. Much less injury to themselves and I.
     
  20. malickfarms

    malickfarms Well-Known Member

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    Horns are NO GOOD in my opinion

    Stuck in fences--Hurting you and the goats--Not much protection

    --April

    I have had mine all disbudded

    This reminds me I need to get Molly done my boer