and I'm tired. Yesterday, we - we being Sweet Geek and Myself, of course - disbudded Saffron and Kaylee. Our dear friends and mentors talked us thru it, but we did both of them. I HATE disbudding. HATE it.
When I had first thought of getting goats, I didn't go anywhere with it - I had no barn, I had no goat-proof fences, it was just a mild itch. So, I did no research or anything, I just shelved it. Then along came Sweet Geek, who had the ITCH to get goats. Worse than my itch to get chickens (and, let me tell you - it was bad. I didn't WANT chickens, they are nasty, dirty birds, carry dieseases that could spread to my horses, and....ick. I ignored the itch - and I was getting physically ill when I'd see chicks at TSC and ignored them. It was BAD...so, now I have chickens. I *can* be taught! :wink:) - so I offered to do the research. (I have a knack for it, and I can find OOP books if they're on a subject I'm supposed to learn about.)
I learned that horns are BAD for dairy goats - well, any goat, actually, if you plan on dealing with them day to day. They're dangerous - you can easily lose an udder to a mis-placed horn (and if you lose the udder, there goes the goat.), children can be severely injured by a playful goat - so can adults, for that matter, and if an adult breaks a horn, it can cause all sorts of issues (death being one of them). So...OK. I am on board with dis-budding - it IS a necessary part of goat-husbandry.
Doesn't mean I LIKE it. Basically (for those of you new to this), you burn out the horn buds on a week - 2 week old kid. It's...not pleasant. BUT - the kid only feels it for a second or 2 - once the nerves are burnt, the pain is gone. You need a disbudding iron (our mentors use a Rhinehart X-30 - Jeffers Vet has them for $69.95, and if you want to get one soon I have a $10 off code I'll share. Yeah, I bought one this AM...), you need some form of kid-holdng box (there are free plans online, or you can go the easy route and buy one from Hoegger's for $46.95 (+ $10 shipping - did that last week. :sigh: I sure can spend $$$!), and you need a baby goat. Oh, and the kid-head-holder needs a pair of Leather Gloves - your hands are RIGHT THERE at the action....and you do NOT want that iron touching your skin. :shudder:
You need to be able to just feel the bumps. They're hard, but not sharp at this point of development. What you do is put the kid in the box. The holder (this is a 2-person job, and it's NOT for the squeamish!) stretches the neck and holds it pretty firmly down with one hand (and you try to hold the ears out of the way at the same time) while the other hand is pressing the nose down on the support. The disbudder sits on the top of the box (it has a lid, and you straddle it), feels for the dub, and holds the iron on it. The kid-holder counts to 10 (1 thousand 1, 1 thousand 2......:shudder: I sped up a teeny bit there at the end), then the iron is removed and you do the 2nd one.
It smells. And the kid is *screaming*. And jerking - Kaylee was a good girl and didn't move - much. Saffron....nearly lost an eye because she jerked when the iron hit the first bud and Sweet Geek couldn't keep it tight. She's OK, though - the ring just isn't as perfect as it should have been.
What you'll see when you're done is a copper ring around the burnt nub. This means you won't get scurs (bits of horn growing - you HAVE to reburn those!). The nub is black, and melted looking (sorta). They stink of burnt hair.....but you know what? The moment we plucked them out of the box, they were fine. Bouncing around the barn like nothing had ever happened.
LaDue wasn't really happy with us, but she didn't seem concerned with the kids's heads. They nursed a bit, then went back to playing Queen of the Mineral Block, and Try to Climb Mama Mountain, and Let's Gang up on Calvin!
My nerves, meanwhile, are shot.....we have to do Sunny's twins next week (or so...whenever our box and disbudder come in), and THEN we have to do Zorra's. IF she ever decides to pop.
Again, this is VERY necessary. Our goats are contained, not running wild over acres and acres of undeveloped terrain. Horns..you can't keep horned goats with de-horned ones, it's too dangerous for the de-horned ones. You really can't keep horns near dairy goats.....so...you gotta remove 'em. This is the safest way to do that...but it's no fun.