Anyway, back to the baby goats' horns. This year we had the vet come out and burn the horn buds on all six of our babies. Velvet's boys were three weeks old and their horn buds were getting pretty big, but the vet's burning iron had a deeper depression in the tip than ours does, so he said it should take care of the three week old buds. We are very grateful we still have the services of the vet to call upon.
You know, burning baby goats horns is one of the most disgusting things we ever do. It's one thing to kill an animal and butcher it. We make sure they have a quick, clean, merciful death. But to take these cute little baby goats and burn their heads, listen to them holler and smell the burning hair is awful. I won't pretend
|Our electric iron|
We took the first baby goats we had after we moved here to a vet to have them disbudded. When we got home, the mother refused to take them back. She wouldn't let them nurse unless I clipped her collar up to the fence. The babies would cry and she would answer them, but even if they were standing right beside her, it's like they didn't exist anymore. So this time, we had the vet come to us. We don't have electricity in the barn, so we loaded the babies up in a large pet carrier and drove them down to the garage where the vet had plugged in his burning iron to heat. His assistant held the babies on the ground and held the ears back out of the way, while the vet held the goat's nose to prevent as much wiggling and struggling as possible. Our youngest babies were ten days old, so the vet held the burning iron on for ten seconds on each horn. It always seems much longer to me.
We also have a burning iron that we will be able to use when there is no electricity. You heat it up in a fire until it glows, then it's ready. I was looking around at some blogs the other day and ran across a post at The Riddle Family Farm titled Dehorning Goat Kids, Old West Style using this type of iron. It was the first time I had seen someone use it and describe how it is done. It's very informative and interesting, so go take a look.
As soon as the vet was finished, I took the babies back to the barn, put salve on their horns and turned them loose. They usually nurse and get some reassurance from mom, then take a nap. After that, it's like nothing happened. They are up running and jumping, just like they do everyday. After a few weeks, the scabs will come off, the hair will grow back, and you will never be able to tell they had their horns removed......except for the fact that they don't have any.
There are many things that have to be done in life that are distasteful and unpleasant. That is when you have to dig down and pull up a big handful of gumption and get with it anyway. If you don't, who will? It's your job, so get with it. Go do whatever it is you have on your plate that needs doin' that you haven't done yet. Time's a wastin'.
Until next time - Fern