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In Reply to: Nubian Kid Buck posted by Tom Jasen on October 10, 2001 at 16:37:17:
There are a few methods for "disbudding" your goat. You are going to find ALOT of opinions on this so I am going to try and present it from all points of view.
I'll take the easy question first though - your young buck will probably start showing interest at around five or six months of age. Maybe a little longer but somewhere in that time frame. You'll definitely notice when he does because he will start sniffing the does and curl his upper lip (this is called "flaring").
Now onto the disbudding - one method that is used (and to manys surprise quite often by vets is to get a pair of dehorning shears and cut each horn off as close to the head as possible. They then use surgical tweezers to remove a small vessel in each bud, bandage the goat up, and home it goes. This often does require that the goat be current on the CD/T shots, be sedated (though some don't) and a round of antibiotics during the healing (such as penicillin).
Another method is sawing each horn off. Basically the same procedure as above. I should mention that sometimes an iron is used to cauterize the cuts.
Another method is banding - where a castration band is placed as far towards the base of each horn as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to cut a groove in each horn so the band will stay. After a month or so, the horns will fall off. Some people do not like this method because it can cause problems if the bands break. I've actually seen a cow that was disbudded this way and a band broke leaving one horn.
From all that I've read, it seems that the iron is the preferred method of disbudding - while they are young and the horns are not as progressed yet.
There are also a number of people that are against disbudding as well. Equal number of people for disbudding.
Perhaps the most important question though is "why" you wish to disbud this goat? Horns provide a cooling mechanism for the goat. They also provide for defense as well. If all the rest of your goats are hornless, then it is more humane than disbudding this goat and expecting him to compete against other horned goats.
I think that there may be an article or two on disbudding goats in the GoatWorld Article section. You may also want to take a look at http://www.sheepandgoat.com. This site will have links to many other sites as well that will have specific information.
Personally I have never disbudded any of our goats - not that I am afraid to do it, just that I don't think I would like doing it. I've never been one that liked the smell of a dentists office when they drill teeth and that is exactly what the smell of a goat being disbudded reminds me of. Personally what I would do is to find a good mentor close by in your area to show you the process firsthand. You can only get so much from reading without trying it in a hands on environment.
Hope this helps.
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