Don’t dehorn your goats without knowing the procedures and steps to take. You must know how, when, cost implications, materials needed, importance, and adverse effects before dehorning goats.
This is why we published this content. It will answer the when, what, how, and why questions concerning goat dehorning. So, let’s get started.
What is Dehorning
Dehorning is the process of detaching horns from the skull. It means removing a grown horn attached to the animal’s skull.
What’s the difference between dehorning and disbudding
Disbudding is the act of eliminating horns bud before they are attached to the skull while dehorning involves removing horns after they are fixed to the skull.
Disbudding comes before dehorning. It occurs in the first two weeks after birth, while dehorning happens three weeks after birth or at a later age.
However, you can’t disbud and dehorn an animal. It’s either you disbud the baby goat or dehorn the mature goat.
Can you dehorn a grown goat?
Dehorning a grown goat is possible but not advisable. It is a bloody and painful task that could affect the goat’s health.
The goats might bleed to death if it isn’t done properly. Don’t dehorn your grown goats without a genuine reason.
Nonetheless, you can dehorn grown-up goats if you follow the steps we will discuss later.
How late is too late to dehorn goats?
You should dehorn your goat early if you couldn’t disbud it. Ensure you dehorn the goat within the first two months.
Doing it at a later age means more stress, pain, and bloodshed, which could lead to multiple health challenges.
To be on the safe side You can disbud your kid goat between 4 to 14 days of age
According to farminly, it’s too late to dehorn a grown goat when the horn is 1cm or longer.
It would be difficult to detach the horn from the skull at that stage because the goat has grown far beyond disbudding or dehorning age.
Is it painful to remove goat horns?
Yes, removing goat horns is a painful task characterized by bloodshed if you didn’t do it properly. Offer the dehorned goats an NSAID to reduce the pain.
Baby Aspirin is good for baby goats, while Banamine works well for mature goats. We also recommend Tetanus Antitoxin injection to subdue the pains.
Nonetheless, consult your vet for advice before choosing any injection or drugs.
You should also apply caustic pastes or balm to quicken the healing process. We advise you apply sedation to prevent trauma and other adverse effects.
How long does it take for a goat to heal from dehorning?
It takes a goat at least 3-4 weeks to heal from dehorning. However, some, especially dairy goats, might take five or six weeks to heal completely.
The healing process depends on the dehorning method, the goat’s sensitivity, and the post-dehorning treatments.
Ensure you cauterize the horn properly to prevent infections. Apply coagulation powder to the wound to prevent flies.
Provide quality and nutritious meals that will hasten the healing stage. Consult your vet if you notice a loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and foul smell.
Why do people dehorn goat horns?
Dehorning doesn’t increase the goat’s growth or productivity.
However, most farm owners dehorn their goats to prevent them from injuring others.
Goats fight with their horns. They might injure themselves in heated contention.
Similarly, some goats are too aggressive that they wouldn’t mind hitting children with their horns.
Farmers will dehorn aggressive goats that pose threats to kids in the compound.
Goats with horns could be stuck in fences and other openings. People believe it is better to eliminate the horn than break fences in the future.
In a nutshell, people dehorn goats for protection purposes.
How much does it cost to dehorn goats?
The cost of dehorning a goat depends on different factors, including the goat’s age, horn’s length, dehorning method, and the vet’s experience.
Experienced veterinarian charges higher than inexperienced ones.
Dehorning a mature horn costs more than baby goats due to the accompanying stress and difficulties. Longer horns command more pricey charges than short ones. Alfredo Larkin advises you need at least $5 to dehorn a baby goat and $12 for mature goats.
How do you dehorn a goat at home?
Below is the step-by-step guide to dehorn a goat at home.
1. Choose your preferred dehorning method
There are different dehorning methods, including electrical, chemical, and mechanical. The electrical method involves using electric dehorners, while the mechanical method includes hot iron, Barnes, hacksaw, gougers, wires, etc.
Hot-iron method is one of the cheapest options, and it guarantees speedy recovery. It is suitable for baby goats below three weeks. Hacksaws and gougers are suitable for goats older than two months.
2. Get all the required materials and paste:
The materials you need for a smooth disbudding or dehorning exercise include the following:
- A goat dehorning iron
- A holding box (for baby goats)
- Heavy-duty gloves
- A new or sharp knife
- Anesthetics like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Tetanus Antitoxin Injection
3. Get rid of hairs close to the buds with hair clippers
4. Heat the dehorning iron for 10 minutes:
Grown-up goats can’t stay in the box, and it’s almost impossible to tie them to a spot. It explains why you should dehorn your goat as soon as possible.
5. Get someone to help you throughout the dehorning process. You need an extra hand.
6. Ensure the iron is hot before using it.
Test it on a piece of wood and see if it burns a part of the wood within 2 seconds.
7. Apply the hot iron:
Gently apply the ring on the horn bud. Rotate the hot iron in a clockwise direction for 4 – 5 seconds to make a round ring shape. Blow out the smoke so you can see what you’re doing. Repeat the steps for the second horn.
8. Cut the bud using your sharp knife:
It’s time to cut off the bud. Trace the round shape created by the hot iron. Ensure you cut from the base.
Repeat the same steps for the second bud. Don’t panic if it turns bloody because it’s expected in the first place.
9. Cauterize and seal the openings to avoid excess bleeding.
Check the bud and ensure everything is perfect.
10. Give the baby goat pain-relieving drugs like aspiring to subside the pain:
Cauterize again if it won’t stop bleeding after a day, although it rarely occurs. Hair will cover the dehorned area in two weeks.
Our Final Verdicts
Don’t dehorn your goat if you aren’t confident in your ability to deliver a good job. Pay close attention to your goats after dehorning them to detect any change in their behavior and physical appearance.
Goats with horns aren’t always dangerous; don’t dehorn without genuine reasons. Avoid dehorning your goats in a fly season; it gives room for myiasis.
Don’t dehorn your goat in a dusty place to prevent infection and interruption during the process.