Disbudding Dairy Goats

 

Disbudding is a vital part of goat keeping if you want to keep yourself and your herd safe. About 4-6 days after birth, and no later than 10 days after birth, it is time to disbud your dairy goat kids unless you don't mind if they grow horns. Wait until you can feel a bud before disbudding, but don't wait until they are too big or it will be too late for the disbudding to work. The closer to 4-6 days after birth, the better. Shave the area around the buds, then follow the directions on the dehorner. If you gave your doe 2 cc of CDT one month before her due date, the kid should have enough CDT in his/her own body to last up to one month old, so the disbudding before 10 days should be fine. Having one or two other people hold the kid and steady his/her head while you do the disbudding is fine, but a disbudding box is far superior.

A hornless goat is safer to have around because horns can cause injury to you or to your goats. However, having no horns causes the goat to be defenseless against predators. Even though disbudding is a good idea with dairy goats, it is not as necessary with meat goats since they have limited handling.

Sometimes the buds aren't completely removed successfully, and scurs grow. A scur is a horn that grows back, but it is generally looser than the horn would be if it was never disbudded. These scurs often fall off by themselves when the goat head-butts other goats, and then they will grow back, and fall off again. Scurs often grow when people are too cautious disbudding because they know if the disbudding is done wrong, it could cause brain damage. You might want to get your goat dehorned if the disbudding wasn't successful enough. This procedure is much more painful than a disbudding and is done by a veterinarian.

“Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds.”  (Proverbs 27:23)

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