Disbudded vs Horned

Resolution in taking back My Word

When I first started with the goats over 15 years ago I wanted to go it as natural as I can with them.  I wanted to have healthy happy goats, that gave healthy happy milk to make healthy cheese that made me happy!  One of the biggest hurtles to this was the issue of horned (leaving them to grow natural) or dis-budding (which is burning the buds off as a tender age of a kid (baby goat) at a week or so old.  In my mind, hands down I was going natural.  My reasons being that all the goats that I had seen that had been dis-budded still had some part of their horns grown back which are called Scurs that brake off and bleed or the horn grows back but deformed and weakened because of the damage done to it during the dis-budding process.  I had one of every kind from different breeders that had dis-budded and not one was done correct or this is what it was to dis-budding.  For me personally I just could not see me holding down a   baby animal and burning it. That would take a special kind of stomach, but being who I am I needed to read and talk to as many goat people, professionals as well to find all I could about the subject.  Thus started my emotions working on a roller coaster ride.  It was a down slide of over whelming advice, some nice and some not so nice that the goats must be dis-budded.  The major adjective was that selling goats with horns is hard to do.  The other was the horned goats are dangerous. I heard allot about just wait until one of your goats loses an eye.  I was determined to go it all natural so my first year all my goats had beautiful natural horns.  I didn’t have any thing to sell I kept what I bred, so selling did not come into question at that point.  I had fencing that would not hang a goat by its horns, and had a good relationship with my goats.We found that in most cases having the horns on the goats made it easier to move the goats around.  I might add here that we breed Miniature Dairy goats, MiniLamancha’s to be exact.  A LaMancha goat has tiny little ears so its a little easier for goats with ears to stay put in a milking stand the ears help hold them there.  We found that the horns helped with this.  I actually have not found any reason but a few for dis-budding.  One it would be recommended to dis-budded if your goats are going to be around children they could accidently get an eye poked by a horn tip.  The goat would not have to mean to have this accident to happen.  If you have allot of goats pushing into an area then you probably would do better to have dis-budded goats.  If you have fencing that does not accommodate for horns then I would recommend dis-budding.  If you want to make sales then dis-bud your kids.I have had no eye injury or injuries done due to horns but that doesn’t mean that it could not happen.I have found from experience even though I have a herd that is a mix of horns and non horned goats that works well for me that people do want to buy goats that do not have horns for a number of reasons some of which I have mentioned.Even though I was determined to not dis-bud, my kids I found I had the stomach to do so.  It is the one thing I don’t care for about being a shepherd to my goats.  Today was dis-budding day for the little Twins kids.  I found my resolve in the fact that after the deed is done they are in my lap playing like nothing ever happened.     

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