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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dehorning

If you are squeamish do not read. Farm life is NOT all hearts and flowers.

Why did we choose to have our goats dehorned?

1. The goats get their heads stuck in the fence quite often. If we do not keep a PVC pipe taped to their head, they can be stuck in that fence for quite a long time. I check them morning and evening, and sometimes more. But that still leaves a large time frame for a goat to sit there with its head stuck in the fence, vulnerable to predators.
2. We have never dehorned our goats, because we mostly have fiber goats, and they need their horns to keep their body cool. But we also have LaManchas, and crosses between the two I call a Llama Goat.  I have had the LaMancha's, and Llama Goats break and rip out their horns in the fence before. Breaking off a horn isn't so bad. There is some blood, but the animal doesn't seem to be in a large amount of pain. It just won't be butting heads with anyone for a while. Ripping out a horn is much worse. One of my Llama goats named Peaches ripped her horn out when she was about 6 months old. She broke her horn about half way down, and then ripped it almost completely out, leaving it only attached by some flesh. When I found her she was standing around eating calmly, but the moment the horn moved some, it created a large amount of pain. She would not let me remove the horn. So I did my best and coated it with Blue Kote and then sealed it up with black tree sealer to protect her from flies. This lasted until she knocked it again about a week later. Then it was time to remove it. That was a two person job, and not enjoyable to say the least.

3. With the number of dairy goats we are adding to our herd it would only make sense to save the animals and ourselves from going through all of this. The dehorning is not a pleasant experience, but neither is breaking or ripping out a horn.

I have to admit, I thought I was going to be tough and not let this dehorning process upset me. I am a very sensitive person and when I see an animal, or anyone for that matter in pain, I start shaking. It's not a good trait to have. I hope and pray that in time I will get better about this. I had prepared myself to help.  When Susan (the lady we got the goats from) and her friend, showed up. Susan and I each grabbed a goat, and her friend began shaving their heads. Then we each sat down with the goats in our laps, and her friend began dehorning the one Susan was holding, thats when it was all over for me : ( I knew I would not be able to restrain the little doeling because I started shaking.  I knew that the moment it was my doelings turn, I would start crying. Did I forget to mention I am a cry baby? Thats when I looked at my Mom and said " I don't think I'm going to be able to restrain the doeling for this". I thought that my mom was going to do it. But she was upset too. Susan immediately said "thats alright, I can hold them".  What a relief, sort of. I didn't want to run off into the house. I wanted to at least stay in the area, and try to desensitize myself a little if possible. So I made myself busy in the area, and brought out and retrieved goats for the process. Susan told us its a hard thing to get used to, and it takes several times dehorning, before you get used to the process, and you can only do so many in a day before you are emotionally drained. She's human too you know. When it was over my Mom and I were amazed at how fast they bounced back. They were wanting to play and acting as though nothing ever happened within minutes of being dehorned!
The next day when we took them all out to play after their bottles they were playing, butting heads! I was totally amazed !!
Here are some pictures of there dehorned heads, and romp.


King of the Lawn Buddy
 
 
Head butting

More head butting



Leaping for joy! I love this picture.


Kimberly

1 comment:

Natasha Marie said...

I hear ya - I'm extremely sensitive to anyone, be they human or animal, in pain and I don't do well in situations that involve blood, either. Which is why I'm so thankful for my bro - if any of my animals need shots, he's always happy to give me a hand. :) My only animal with horns has such big ones that they can't fit through the fence, so no problems there, thank goodness!

Love that last picture with the goat's ears going straight up as she jumps! :)