I love baby goats, but I hate disbudding them. It seems with farming there is always something you really don’t like to do that goes along with all of the fun. My really good friend dis-budded the babies for me the first few years, but then we moved so I had to start disbudding on my own.
My friend had a handy little box she placed the kid inside and then sat on the top while burning the horns. My husband made one for me which made it a lot easier to burn horns by myself. This is what the box looks like.
The next thing you will need is a disbudding iron. These come in a few sizes from a goat size to a calf size. You need to make sure and get the one made for goats. The calf size would be too big for kids.
I watch the babies the first week or so to see if the horns are growing. The bucks seem to grow faster than the does. I think it is important to burn the horns before they are 2 weeks old. For me, there is a couple of reasons. The first reason is the horns will get too big for the burner and it will not be as effective. The second reason is the babies get too big for my box.
(I know what some of you are thinking. This is so cruel to burn the horns on the babies. Yes, I know it is not too much fun for them. I try to make it as easy as possible for the babies. I burn the horns for my safety and the safety of other goats. They learn how to use them and can be very dangerous. Also, I burn the horns for their safety. Goats can spend a lot of time in fences stuck if the horns are not burned.)
To burn the horns some people clip the hair around the horn so they can see the horn a better. I just feel where the horn is and put the burner over it. Be sure to wear leather gloves to protect your hands from getting burned. Especially if you don’t have a box to put them into.
Put the burner over the horn and rotate it. Do not leave it on for long. Lift it up and look to see what it looks like. You are burning the blood vessels that go to the horn so the horn will not continue to grow. There is a fine line, you need to go deep enough but not too deep.
If you notice in the picture you are trying to get a copper ring all the way around the horn. Again this only takes seconds, so do not leave it on for long.
After burning both horns I take my own solution to soothe the burn and make the baby feel better. For this, I use a dropper bottle. I fill the bottle with water and add 3 drops of lavender essential oil. This helps cool it fast and take some of the burn out of it. I put a few drops of this solution on the horns as soon as I have finished burning it.
The burning process is complete. Afterwards, I like to hold the babies for a few minutes and love them so they won’t be mad at me.
If the kid is going to be castrated or banded I do this at the same time.
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