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The Hardest Part of Raising Goats

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The hardest part of raising goats (if you raise them from babies) has got to be the disbudding process. Here’s how it works…

Having grown up on a farm raising goats, I can say that this is, indeed, the hardest part.  However, most goat owners would also say it is a very necessary part.

Our first few goats (purchased as adults) had horns, and it was not a good thing. The ones with horns tended to be more aggressive, and a couple of times even killed each other! One had a horn break off as an adult after getting it caught in something (she was lucky she didn’t die like a couple of others did after getting caught in a fence and strangling to death), and it bled for days and days and was obviously very painful.

As we began breeding and raising goats ourselves, we also began dehorning (disbudding) them early to avoid these kinds of problems. We did ours a bit earlier than what you see in this video. We never had to clip or cut anything – we did it before the buds started forming into horns – usually within a week after birth. I helped my mother dehorn dozens of baby goats using a similar method to the one shown, though without the knife – we just burned the bud area until it was smooth and flat. (By the way, the box is an awesome idea that I wish we had thought of!)

It is NOT a fun process. But as shown in the video, the kids are fine afterward, though their heads may be a bit sore for a few days. In all of our years of raising goats, the ONLY disbudding mishaps/issues that ever occurred were an ear getting free and getting a slight burn at the edge (which happened maybe twice), and the occasional slight slip of the iron which made a slightly larger burn than desired. None of our goats ever suffered any health issues whatsoever.

While it may be difficult, in our eyes, the disbudding process was worth it in the improved sociability, manageability, and health and well-being of our goats.

Of course, the choice is always up to the goat owner. If you choose to do so, this video from Weed Em And Reap will give you a good idea of what to expect, and how to perform the process:

(Warning: This video may contain disturbing scenes if you are not used to the realities of farm life.)

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