Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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DISBUDDING AND DE-HORNING GOATS

Disbudding a goat can be a dangerous . . . even life-threatening . . . medical procedure. The producer uses a very hot iron to burn the horn buds off the head of a kid that is often not more than a week old. The kid's brain can be permanently damaged by misuse of the disbudding iron. The possibility of infection is great. Tetatnus and even death may occur.

There are only two valid reasons to disbud a goat, one of which is to adapt the goat's head to fit into a milk stanchion. Horned goats present a significant problem in a milking line. The only other good reason for disbudding is when goats are housed in barns in very cold climates during much of the year. Disbudding reduces the chance of injury in such confined situations.

It is this author's opinion that every other reason given for disbudding goats is neither valid reasoning nor sound logic, including disbudding done for purposes of showing goats in fairs and other events. Adults should learn how to handle goats in a manner that puts them less at risk of getting hurt by horns. Children who are working with or living around livestock should be taught to respect the horns and learn to stay out of their way. This can be learned. If humans, both adults and kids, cannot do this, they should not be raising goats. To so drastically and dangerously modify an animal's body solely to suit one's own personal desires is unconscionable.

Horns serve legitimate purposes for the goat. Since goats are sprinters rather than long-distance runners, horns provide one of the few natural defenses against predators that this species has available to it. Meat goats, particularly those out on pasture, need every advantage that they can get in order to survive. Horns also serve as cooling mechanisms, functioning much like an automobile radiator on a hot day.

De-horning goats is just plain cruel. De-horning describes the process of cutting off horns that have already grown to significant size. Horns have an extensive blood supply running through them. Below the horns, in the skull, are large sinus cavities. Removing horns down to their base exposes the inside of the goat's head to serious infection. The very best one can hope for in such a procedure is that the goat is going to have a king-sized headache for many hours. When goats are dehorned, death from shock or infection is a definite possibility.

Treat your goats humanely. Do not disbud unless one of the two circumstances mentioned above exists. If you participate in shows, work towards removing the disbudding/de-horning rules that are so abusive of goats. Do the right thing for your goats. Do not disbud or de-horn.

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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