Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Reasons I Don't Like Goats With Horns..


  Obviously from my last post that is the number one reason I don't like horns on goats.. I NEVER thought something like that would happen. Heard of it but never thought it could happen to us..
 When we first started managing That Farm year before last All of those goats had horns.. I pulled them out of fences.. Out of Hay-racks.. They almost broke my fingers Twice trying to get their heads out.. It was almost a daily thing trying to get their heads out of the panels.. I came down to the barn one morning to find one goat had gotten her head stuck up in the top of the hay-rack and I don't know how long she had been like that. She was fine but if one of the other animals had run into her the wrong way she could have hung herself.
 Then I have been passing goat farms and goats have had their heads stuck in the fence.. The farmers couldn't see them and they were like that for a while. So we knocked on the door to tell them.. We got oh those are my son's goats and they do that all the time. They didn't care.. Then at another farm we went to look at a buck one time as we were driving up there was one goat with her head stuck.. We got it out and when we were leaving its head was stuck again..
 Then the bucks were head butting nothing to crazy but one of the younger buck broke his horn almost completely off. It bleed like crazy.. No amount of blood stop powder worked I had to heat the disbudding iron(which seemed to take forever) to cauterize the  artery that was squirting blood with every heart beat.. It took 2 adults to hold him and then I was working on him.. By the time we were done he was very weak and I was almost sure he was going to die.. He didn't but it took a lot to get him backup to looking good. I was almost sick from the smell of the blood and I do not have a weak stomach..
 Now I know Horns are natural for goats and I try to do things naturally. But God does expect us to take care of them.  All of these things would not have happened if the goats had not had horns... Disbudding is a simple procedure that last a few minutes and then they are done. Its not as bad as some people make it out to be.. Yes they holler its like getting a shot it stings and burns for a while and then they forget about it.. Or maybe more like burning a mole off of a person. A necessary evil..
 Collars on the other hand are essential  to our operation here. All of my goats lead with collars and if I let them out to the milk stand I can lead them there.. Some of them have their stubborn days and will not willingly go up on the stand. So they need to be lead. There is nothing in the pasture that they can get hung up on. I also had bought cheap plastic clip collars that should have broke under that kind of pressure.  
 If I could have all polled goats I would but that is a whole other ball game.. I do have 2 in my herd now. I always breed back to a horned buck so the hermaphrodite gene is least likely to show up. Even though there is some studies that dispute that the Hermaphrodite and Polled gene are linked.. But they will have some polled babies that I wont have to disbud.
 Then there are all the bumps and bruises besides the almost broken fingers. The wether had caught me and the girls in the hips and legs many times. One of the worst was when he caught me behind the knee and he almost took me down. He didnt mean too that time but I am no light weight and he isn't either... He is a wether so for you non-goat people that means he was like a steer. He had been castrated and he was less than 3 months old when I did it. He had started out really friendly and a bottle baby. He first showed aggression when the babies were being born this last spring. I locked him away and he quit.. Then I started noticing lately with all the goat girls coming in heat he had started acting a little aggressive here and there. But mainly at feeding time. He would push everyone away from the pan he was eating out of.. Which is not unusual and why I have several pans for grain time..  I could holler NO and he would stop and go back to eating.. I never thought it would go to far.. But I learned my lesson. He is going to the freezer and I will never have another horned goat. They are going to be disbudded, polled or not here at all..
 I am a firm believer that horns have no place with a dairy goat herd meat herd Maybe but not in my experience. Some people will agree and some will not. That's fine with me. We all have our own experiences and opinions.
 I also want to say Thank you for all the kind words and for not being condemning like some people tend to be.. 
 
   

15 comments:

Brenda said...

Tonia - I agree completely. I've had a few goats with horns and it was always a problem. I was always getting them unstuck from fences and hay feeders. One was stuck so bad and the other goats butting her that I had to get the bolt cutters to cut the heavy wire that the hay feeder was made of. I either sold the goats with horns or dehorned those that I wanted to keep. I won't ever buy another horned goat either. They don't belong here on my dairy.

Linda said...

I say you are welcome! And again, I am sorry for your loss. I totally agree about horns!

Goodwife said...

I agree, horns need to come OFF! :0)

Rina ... also Chester or Daisysmum. said...

Tonia it could have happened to anyone, it's sad but it happened. I could have kept two straying pure bred horned nanny goats, but choose to find their owner and return them. They were underfeed and neglected and frightened. But they strayed and there is no way I want Miss Daisy hurt or going walk about with them. Even Daisy knew to stay away from them but then she thinks she's a sheep/human anyway.

small farm girl said...

You make a good argument for not having horns on goats. Something to think about.

tree ocean said...

I feel bad because I have expressed that I like horns and at one time was happy you were keeping that stinkin wether!

There are horns and there are horns. Goats will definitely use their horns to beat other goats! Cashmere type goats are shown with horns. The judge does NOT want to see horns that go up close together. The horns should go OUT. One of my wethers, an Alpine, has those straight up horns. He used to get Obi's leg in there and try to break it. And he knew it cos I would run out there screaming and he would drop that leg right out of his horns.

I think for show dairy goats are supposed to be hornless?

and do NOT trust break away collars with horns. It took two adults to get one off a buckling on the hill and I would not have wanted to see how long it took for another goat to break it.

I collar and tie my goats once a day for their grain. This is a chore collaring everyone! But they get their treat and stay tamer. (I don't milk) One goat that was born here I can't collar until I put her grain dish down!

With hornless goats it would be much easier to keep a collar on them unless you want to tackle a hard to catch goat!

I might worry about a leg getting caught. When I was a kid we had an outdoor cat get a leg caught in a flea collar...

I am so sorry for your loss! She was my favorite too so pretty!

By the way, horns also play havoc with fencing!!They'll tear right through it.

And as far as protection, the farm lost a mature horned buck to coyotes...

Juli said...

I disagree, we're an "as they are created" homestead. But I completely understand your reasoning and I wish polled was less risky. I've had horned and dehorned and have had to get them both unstuck and their collars unhung. We just keep a tiny herd tho so i imagine it's a lot more difficult with a lot more.

I haven't been here in a while, it was nice to see how things are going for you. I always enjoy reading your blog and adventures :)

Kelle said...

Something to think about even if you don't have horned goats, we have Dexter cattle and they are NOT polled. We've never had a problem PTL! We do however have an angus steer/ calf, that we keep a collar on for quick handling. We opted to have a collar verses a halter due to the fact that we don't want him getting hung on something, but never thought about the collar getting hooked on one of our Dexter's horns. I think we'll remove the collar just to be safe.

Again sorry fo your loss{{{{HUGS}}}
Blessings,
Kelle

TJ said...

Sooo sorry for your loss! Oh, my, goodness! What a terrible thing!

We just disbudded a neighbor's kids a few days ago. They were 10 days old and pretty hard to do, but I am convinced that disbudding is the way to go with goats!

I hope you don't mind me linking to your posts about this. Please let me know if that is okay.

I think it is something every goat owner should read--especially the ones that want to leave goats in their natural, horned state.

Feral Female said...

I agree completely. We are also firm in the no horns rule here. Just too may possible bad outcomes. And yes, we dislike disbudding but we still do it. Even the holstein steer has been de-horned for his safety, his buddies and ours.

Texan said...

Hey its each goat farmers decision to make. What works for you guys is what you should do. :O)

We have horned goats here, I can't say I have never had a horn issue. I have had one, it was a doosey, two bucks fighting and it got ugly, really ugly.. but that fight would have happened with or without the horns...Actually it was my fault, for trying to keep to active bucks when I did't have enough girls for that. I had been told but did I listen..noooo.. sighhhh... so yep that was really my fault...

We have meat goats not dairy..

You have to do what works for you ... your very good to your goats, you give them a great home and care for them very well :O).

Stick to what is right for you and your farm girly :O)...

Melanie said...

Great post on horns. We have 2 mamas with no horns and a buck w/horns thats separate. He's never caught himself up. But we have 4 kids this year - 3 are going in the freezer, and 1 doe we are keeping... but we didn't disbud - no iron and in RURAL alaska. Thinking about banding when she get a bit older, do you have experience with that? I heard it works pretty good?

Linda said...

I'd like to read the answer to Melanie's question also. I just got a 5 month old buck that I am going to band. I've never banded horns before.

~Tonia said...

We tried banding One time... They have to of course have horns already so we waited till they were about 6 months old... You have to file notches to hold the band then you use a banding tool and put them in place.. We used the same green bands we used for castrating as recommended..
It was worse than ANY disbudding I had ever seen.. They cried for hours. Rubbed their heads on the trees and whatever else they could and most of them broke the bands off.. Replace the bands and they kept crying.. So we went back to using the disbudding iron the next year. ITs the easiest and causes less problems. Never had any infection, very few scurs and they are usually small.
SO that is my limited experience with banding.. I have heard some people use it successfully but have never seen it done personally...

Gemini said...

I personally agree with the no horns thing. When we had goats on our ranch when I was little, my dad would disbud some and leave others (he was a bit lackadaisical about it). We had a doeling once who would stick her head through the panels trying to get to her mother. She'd get stuck and then we'd have to get her out. The problem came when she got old enough to have horns and we didn't get her out in time. I'm not sure exactly what happened, she didn't die, but she went through the rest of her life with her head crooked.

I don't really know exactly what was wrong with her (I was only five or six at the time) but getting her head stuck like that threw her neck out of place or something and after that her head was cocked to the side and kind of up a little.

I felt so bad for her because she couldn't move her head like a normal goat or anything...