I love baby goat kids, but I hate disbudding them. It seems like in farming there is always something you really don’t like to do. I guess you have to do the things you don’t like, so you can still have the fun and enjoy the rest. My really good friend dis-budded the babies for me the first few years I owned goats. Unfortunately she wouldn’t move with me when we bought our homestead, so I had to start disbudding on my own.
Disbudding kids quick and easy
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 makes it so much easier to burn horns. This is what the box looks like.
What type of tool used to burn the horns
The next thing you will need is a disbudding iron. These come in a few sizes from a goat size to calf sizes. You need to make sure and get the one made for goats. The calf size would be too big for goat 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.
Here are a few reasons why I burn them at 2 weeks old.
- The first reason is the horns will get too big for the burner and it will not be as effective and as easy. And I really think it is harder on the kids to wait until they get older.
- The second reason is the babies get too big for my box, especially the bucklings because they grow so fast. It also depends on the breed. These are Nubians so they are a little smaller than some of the other breeds.
(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 on the babies. I burn the horns for my safety and the safety of other goats. They learn how to use their horns 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.)
Getting ready to burn the horns
To burn the horn buds some people clip the hair around the bud so they can see the horn bud 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 in.)
Put the burner over the horn and rotate it around the bud. 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.
Tips to soothe the pain after burning the horn
After burning both horns I make 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 5 drops of lavender essential oil. I put a few drops of this solution on the burned area as soon as I have finished burning the little horn bud. This helps to cool the burn fast and take some of the burning pain out of it.
The burning process is complete. Afterward, I like to hold the babies for a few minutes and love them so they won’t be mad at me.
Also another tip I put the gloves on only when I am burning the horns. I know this one sounds a little crazy but I like them to be my friends when I am finished. I use leather gloves to burn the horns and then take them off after I take the baby out of the box. This way they might not connect it was me that burned the horns.
If the kid is going to be castrated or banded I do this after I have burned the horns.
I would love to hear how this works for you and if you have any questions.
Feel free to share this post with friends. Good luck!!