June 17, 2011

To Bud Or To Disbud, That Is The Question

Surprise's Twin Bucklings
One difficult goat care question, has been whether or not to disbud the bucklings. I was in favor of it, but Dan is very much against any number of livestock management techniques that aren't what he considers natural. Besides that, he likes the look of horns. We spent several weeks discussing this.

We have had problems with horned goats in the past. One of our first goats, Abigail, used hers to bully Surprise when she was the newcomer. One time that meant broken skin and drawing blood. Plus, Abigail would get them caught in the hay feeder and get stuck (useful for giving her vaccinations or trimming her hooves however).

Then there was Petey, the Twins' sire. He would use his horns to push everybody around, including us, including my llama, Charlie. A couple of time I found clumps of Charlie's fleece caught in Petey's horns. Needless to say that guaranteed that Petey would either get a new home or become sausage once he finished his job.

When we finally decided we would indeed disbud, Dan looked online for more information. Unfortunately, he found a couple of how not to videos on YouTube. How not to, as in someone had burned a kid's skull all the way through to its sinuses. Well, that made him furious. More research indicated that we had waited too long anyway. The kids were about three weeks old then and they really should have been disbudded within a week to ten days, or as soon as the buds could be detected. Needless to say, they still have their horns. It's just something we'll need to deal with next time around.

36 comments:

Renee said...

I wonder if you can train the goats to not head butt? I don't know how you would do it as I've never had goats...just wondering.

How much longer will you have the twins?

* Crystal * said...

This is a topic I've seen heated debates on that would make political arguments look tame.

My 1st horrific goat memory is of a pygmy wether name Floyd owned by my neighbors....His horns got hung in a fence & stray dogs ATE his face, ears & neck....and bit anything they managed to pull through the fence. I found him, I was 9 years old. Chased the dogs away with a stick & then became ill when I realized Floyd was still alive! To say the inncident colored my opinion is an understatement.

My miniatute girls breeder had a horned Nigerian doe puncture a hole in one of her bigger does udder..

Horned goats leave nasty wounds on people.....Not saying they are mean, but accidents happen even with the sweetest goat. My daughter sat next to a horned mini alpine buck kid...he had lil 4" horns. He was getting neck scratches, a tractor backfired & he jumped & turned, startled. Hit my daughter in the face....3 more inches up & she would have LOST HER EYE...as it was it busted open her cheek....Had it been one of the hornless goats, she would have only had a bruise...

The horned goats I've seen hanging on feeders, hay racks & fences dehydrated in the Texas heat are more than I can count.

I own no horned goats. Horns are a deal breaker for me & I won't purchase a horned goat..

I know many who argue it's not natural to disbud, but its also not "natural" to be enclosed in fences, and be surrounded by a slew of contraptions they can get hung up on (feeders, hay racks, gates ect.)

I believe you can safely house horned goats using sheep/goat fence/panels that they can't poke their heads through & plan feeders/hay racks with horns in mind. My fence is pipe with cattle panel welded to it.....For me to own a horned goat with my fence is a risk I wouldn't take for the goat's sake...

However I'm firmly in the court of if your going to disbud do it properly! I will not use caustic acid paste to slowly eat away at horn buds & possibly get into eyes or rub on herd mates. I will not dehorn (cut off well established horns) that is violent, painful, brutal & risky!

I will not use a cheap iron & I will not disbud once the horn is 1/2" broken through the surface.

I use a Rhineheart X30 (though I'd like an X50). When I burned my girls they were 7 days old.....visible point, but nothing broke through the skin. Burned 6 seconds rocking the iron in a circle. Applied ice pack, let iron reach full heat again. Do same thing on other side. Repeated (they got two 6 second burns) then I rolled the iron on it's side over the centers.

Did a great job & in less than 5 minutes the girls were playing & HEAD BUTTING each other!! lol When I let Lilly go after doing her head I was certain she'd run screaming for momma, but she put her legs on my shoulder & was intent on grabbing my ear rings & hair....lol

I've seen some burn for 20 seconds at a time, caused brain swelling & the eyes actually bulged out!! I won't do that, I'd rather two shorter burns on each side with an ice pack applied inbetween.

Do I LIKE disbudding?? No....nor do I like giving shots, but to me it's part of having goats. After watching various methods.....banding, acid paste, cutting, I feel properly using a disbudding iron at the proper time is the most effective, humane method.

* Crystal * said...

On the boys pictured, I wouldn't do it. For me the horn growth is too much & at this point the bases are spread out too far. It can be done, but you would have to burn, cut the raised area flat (it will spurt blood) & then burn again.....Anything else might leave scurs & have to be redone.

I'd leave them in all their horned glory & if you want hornless goats next season disbud those early :)

If you decide to do them, I'd ask the vet for banamine 1cc per 100lbs. It will help with pain & swelling....Or you could see if the vet would surgically remove them.

Whatever you decide, I think they are handsome boys, horns or no horns :)

* Crystal * said...

Oh... I dislike disbudding so much that I drove 12 hours to get my Alpine, Sabrina..... she's polled & the possibility of naturally hornless kids was just too good to pass up! lol

I hate how horns look when they are in that akward growing out phase (sticking straight up in the air)....But once they grow out and curve backwards I think they look very regal & majestic.

Especially on a Nubian boy with that roman nose & those ears.

I'm sure you won't have a problem in the world finding them homes, horns or not....As it is now, they already scream "Look at me, aren't I FABULOUS?!" ;-)

Sherri B. said...

Well, I know nothing about all of this and it is probably better that way since I felt dizzy when I read of the sinus issue...so glad they still have their buds and their sinuses. xo

Susan said...

I have angora goats, which are not normally disbudded. The only problem I ever had was with a doe who had gone over a fence to be with my adult rams. One of them had been bullied by goats as a weanling, and had finally figured out that he was bigger than the the goats. When I came out to put her back in her pen, she was already there, minus one horn that had been broken off about 3 inches from her skull. She was a bloody mess but the bleeding had already stopped. She dropped a peg or two in the pecking order, but other than that was fine.

Crow said...

One vote for horned goats.

My newest doe-ling has horns, but her Mother was dis-budded before we got her. Our Billy has horns, but only gets frisky when he is in rut, even then he is easy to handle. No threat at all. I think if you work with your goats, they will not be spearing you to death.

I am home at my farm all day, and am always out and about. My buck used to get his head stuck in the barn. But he would get his head stuck with or without horns. He is a knuckle head.

I am getting a new naturally poled buck in July. I had mixed feelings with him being poled, (possible fertility issues if another goat has the poled gene) but I see now that it might be a good thing when it comes to his offspring (if they are poled as well)

Goats need their horns to help regulate their temperature. I am all about letting them grow naturally.

What gorgeous boys you have there.

Great topic! Thanks!
~crow

Sharon said...

Yeah, horns are not a good communal contribution, but you've already figured that out.

* Crystal * said...

Crow- Fertility issues (namely hermaphrodites) are not to be blamed strictly on polled goats.

I know of 5 hermaphrodite does (3 Nubians, 1 Saanen cross & one Lamancha) who were the offspring of horned to horned breedings. At 1st glance they appear female, but depending on the animal you can actually see male genitalia inside the vulva.....Some aren't as obvious.

In contrast, my Alpine, Sabrina, is the result of a Polled x Polled breeding. She's "giraffe" polled & gave me triplets in March. Her 1/2 sister (also polled) was bred to a polled buck & a polled doeling of that breeding had twins in February. The breeder my girl came from intentionally collected & bred polled to polled & in 12 years only had one hermaphrodite.

The info out there on polled genectics is sorely outdated. It's late now, but I have an interesting publication from one of the goat registries that breaks down Polled x Polled breeding & disspells a few myths.... I'll drag it out tomorrow & post some highlights. You can also google Flat Rock Farm in Texas....Sunni breeds polled to polled Nigerians & has a wealth of info on breeding them & doesn't mind chatting...

And I own one of those "knuckleheads"! My doe Bleuberry doesn't have horns, but she gets herself in the most odd predicaments! lol So I didn't mean to imply that horns = trouble 100% of the time, but for the horrors I've witnessed with horned goats, I personally won't own them.

For the record, if we're taking a poll.....My vote on those pretty boys is to let them have their horns, IMO they are past the point of an easy disbudding....besides I think they'll look quite striking with their horns once mature :-)

HAZEL said...

I bought horned kids who are grown now. If I had thought about it, I would probably not buy horned in future. Although I haven't had any major problems, they do use their horns on each other when there is food about. Mmmm! Food for thought. thankyou to Crystal ... who has obviously thought about this a lot.

Theresa said...

I fall in the debud camp, I mean lets get real, most domestic livestock has been manipulated a lot genetically speaking anyway to provide those traits we
prize, be they fleece, milk or meat. For herd safety and for yours, since the goats are no longer running wild over vast territories, using natural selection of the fittest etc. horns are pretty unnecessary

Bubbles, Madness and Trouble said...

I miss Charlie.

Leigh said...

Renee, that would be like trying to train a dog to not want to go outside, LOL. Their nature and entire social order centers around the top of their heads! Like Petey, one of the twins uses the top of his head to push. He pushes everything. It's not a problem now, but will be less comfortable to deal with when they get bigger.

I'm going to offer them for sale next Monday. They're 8 weeks old on Sunday, and ready to face the world! (Only they don't know it yet :)

Crystal, as usual, loads of great information on goats. As you surmised, we aren't going to do anything about these boys' horns. It's too late. It's not uncommon around here for goats to have horns, so that won't be a problem selling them.

Thanks especially for the recommendation on the disbudding iron plus your how-to. Very helpful. Some of the how-tos on YouTube were stomach turners. And I do look forward to your post on polled goat genetics and breeding.

Sherri yes, it all points back to knowing how to do the job properly. I'm glad we did some research and decided to wait until next time.

Susan, I hadn't thought about angoras, they truly are magnificent with their horns. Actually they are my favorite breed! Alas that I won't have any. I'm curious though, do they show angoras? Disbudding is usually required for that.

Crow, thanks! I had a polled doe (Nubian/Boer cross, unfortunately for my purposes), who gave birth to a polled buckling. It was great. Much rarer in Nubians and Pygmies, which are the breeds I plan to cross. I've read that there is some myth involved with the polled genetics, but it's something I'd be interested in researching more. Not sure if there are any polled Kinders.

I love it that you have such a sweet buck. Our McGruff is very sweet so far, but we've never seen him in rut! I've had different experiences with different bucks. Personality can make such a difference.

Sharon, yup, the hard way!

Hazel, seems kind of iffy with the horns, doesn't it? We've had enough problems that we will definitely disbud in the future. Hopefully the twins are tamed enough now to not cause anyone else a problem in the future.

Theresa, very good points. And really, there is a strong safety issue involved. Reading Crystal's experiences really drove that home.

BM&T, me too! Lots. :(

Valerie said...

One of my earliest memories is going with my Mom to the neighboring farm for milk. One moment I was standing beside a nanny goat petting her while she was chewing her cud. The next moment I was sitting on the ground on the other side of the goat.

I was probably about 4.5 years old and the adults were standing right there. She just tipped her head to the side, hooked her horns in my shorts and flipped me over her back.

Moral of the story...with horns, keep the grandkids clear. Even with the adults standing right there.

The Weekend Homesteader said...

I always learn such great stuff on your blog through your posts and the comments.

Josephine said...

I respect your husband's thought on the natural approach. I am of the same school. But horns were a design for the wild. Domesticating goats is in a sense "unnatural", so I don't feel that dehorning to make a goat better adaptable would go against this philosophy.

We started out supporting horns. We felt that if a goat was hand raised, they would not pose a problem. This, we found, did not take into account their natural animal behavior towards each other. I was accidentally injured by my "friendly" goat in a quarrel over food. I saw way too many baby kids being flung to Timbucktoo by an annoyed adult. Challenging the pecking order with a full set of horns can get nasty as well. We have our farm vet disbud as soon as the horns peep through.

Carolyn Renee said...

I couldn't say much more than Crystal has & I agree with her.
We only have disbudded goats here & do it ourselves. Not fun, but neither is castrating or weaning or shots or....

A lot of it has to do with your farm setup and your personal feelings about the disbudding. Your fence system may make horned goats prone to getting stuck, your family status (kids, grandkids, visiting frineds kids) may make having horns less desireable, and other personal choices.

Personally, I love, love, LOVE the look of horned goats, but for us, it is best to have hornless critters here. We're even going to start boer goats next spring and as "unconventional" it may seem, they will all be disbudded (boers usually get to keep their horns).

Jane said...

I think I could throw up thinking about the idiot who burned a hole into the goats head. Ugh. Then I read of Crystals goat memory and feel even worse. Well, I needed to skip breakfast anyway ;)

Leigh said...

Valerie, very true! And that wasn't even "on purpose." It's stories like these that help in the overall discussion. Also why these will be our last horned goats.

Candace, I appreciate that!

Josephine, very good point. You are so right about instinct and natural behavior. It's part of who goats are. It took awhile for Dan to agree we needed to disbud. I think personal experience with our goats helped. Plus if McGruff had horns, we'd both have broken wrists and/or arms. When the top of his head is scratched, he loves to fling his head around. If he had horns, he'd be dangerous even in a fun-loving mood!

Carolyn, its true, quite a bit of animal care is no fun. I think its part of counting the cost for raising animals.

Have fun with your Boers! Their horns do grow closer to their heads than most breeds it seems.

Oh Jane, sorry! It's difficult to hear these stories, but I think it's an important part of the discussion when it comes to decision making. Maybe you need a little of that sparkling elderberry wine to settle your stomach. ;)

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Love your blog and your great tutorials. Thanks so much for all the heard work of putting it all together.

* Crystal * said...

Leigh, I think the Rhineheart irons are top notch! I wanted the X50 from Jeffers Livestock but at the time I ordered my iron, the X50 was on back order & I couldn't wait. The X30 is a bit cheaper, but still a good iron.

The X50 gets a bit hotter though, plus it has the advantage of removable tips. The X30 has one 1/2" tip & over time it does get worn thin. Once that happens you'll have to trash the iron. The X50 the tips can be changed.....Plus you can get larger tips.

Swiss breeds (like what I have) typically have a very broad horn base. Many people focus on the lil horn point, but the round flat base around it is the roots.....if you don't kill that, you'll have scurs....Scurs IMO are worse than horns. I know Nigerians have broad bases as well, but I'm not sure on Pygmies....Nubians have smaller horn bases. Anywho, having the option to burn a wide 1" ring vs. just the 1/2" of the X30 is great for people like me. Though the 1/2" tip is typically perfect for all kids & though they sell a "pygmy" tip, you don't need to waste your money on that one.

Sam was not properly disbudded & they did him late, he grew sharp scurs....Had to be redone at the vet. Grew another sharp scur & had to be redone a 3rd time......Redoing is NOT fun...Having the best tools & doing the job at the right time is essential.

Oh on Angoras, they are shown with horns.....Big pretty horns are prized on the breed. But they have lower, back sweeping horns similar to boers & kikos so to me they aren't as bad as lil daggers on the head :)

Shall we take bets on how long it takes someone to scoop up those boys? I'm betting less than a week after you advertise them....they were just beautiful & will make someone out there a very nice herd sire. :)

Leigh said...

Crystal, I found the Rhineheart irons in the Hoeggers catalogue after you mentioned it. I notice they say the mini tip is god for Nigerians and Pygmys. I will have to ask on the Yahoo Kinder list about tip size for Kinders. I think we will need to bite the bullet so to speak and invest in a good one.

I do hope the twins sell quickly! There are usually a lot of bucks and bucklings for sale on Craigslist. I never was able to sell Petey. Ended up giving him to some folks as a pet. Still, I think I got my money's worth in milk, and in selling CryBaby's boy. If I can sell the twins too, so much the better. :)

* Crystal * said...

Here's the link to the X50 at Jeffers:
http://www.jefferslivestock.com/product.asp?camid=LIV&pn=16157

I haven't priced Hoeggers in a while, but when I bought mine they were more expensive than Jeffers....Plus I order my CDT vaccines, Fight Bac & few other items from Jeffers so I like to only order in one place if I can. Not sure how much longer it's good for but you may be able to use the coupon code SUMMER on Jeffers.

I'd order the X50 & the 1/2" tip. First generation mini's are the same size as Kinders & I use the 1/2" tip on them..... I only wanted the X50 for the big tip it comes with to use on my Alpine bucks. Due to the scuring problems I've had with Sam, in the future I want to burn a 1" ring, with a 1/2" ring in the center to ensure any of mine won't require redos.

This upcoming kidding season I'll try to get videos of disbudding & post on my blog.

Oh I've seen thr videos of burning down into the skull! Ouch!! You need to burn until you have a nice dark copper ring, you don't want to be bashful or timid on this, just get in and get it done right. I think those actually manage to burn holes in the skull (I've seen this in person, the kids didn't survive) are PRESSING the iron on....It does not require any more pressure that what's needed to keep the iron on thr head. Touch iron firmly to the head and rock it around in a circular motion, no pressing down or pushing required, the heat of the iron does all the work for you :)

As for selling....put up lots of cute pics & I bet they'll be snapped up in a hurry :)

Leigh said...

Jeffers definitely is cheaper, even with the extra freight cost, it comes to $95.79. Hoegger's is $98.95 plus $9.95 for shipping. We aren't ready to buy it yet, but will definitely need it before kidding next spring. We'd really appreciate a good how-to video. We did a lot of looking for information on the internet, but so far you've absolutely been the most help. Thanks!

* Crystal * said...

I love Jeffers! Many times during the year they offer free shipping on orders over $50.... I ordered my iron on a Tuesday at 4pm & it arrived Thursday at 11am.....that was just regular shipping! As long as the order is in before 5pm, it ships out that day.

I order all my vaccines, needles, syringes & meds from them & I've also shopped their pet supplies & been happy with the products.

Oh & I replied to your comment on my blog post about feeding :)

icebear said...

even for a non-owner this discussion has been fascinating :)

denise/deBRAT said...

Wow! I love reading your blog. I learn so much here. nothing I'll ever put into use but if i'd been reading this over morning coffee I bet I'd have skipped breakfast too. I love the way you all share how-to's and where-to's and why-for's and I always feel like a bit of an eavesdropper when I'm reading here, but it is just so fascinating and so very different from my life. Thank you for sharing and whatever each of you decide to do with your goats I know it will be the kindest of thought processes for your family. and what in the world is "polled" it is the first time i have googled a term I did not understand and got nothing useful back.

denise/deBRAT in the suburb to the suburb to the suburb of Tampa, FL

Leigh said...

Crystal, sounds like a good company. The recommendation is much appreciated; customer satisfaction says a whole lot more than advertising! And thanks for all the fantastic info and links to answer my question on your blog. I love the blogging community!

Icebear, I never dreamed this would be such an informative and interesting discussion. Thank you for taking time to read and leave a comment!

Denise, thanks! Your comment is very encouraging. Just don't ever think you're an eavesdropper. That's what blogging is for! To learn and share.

"Polled," BTW, refers to goats who are naturally hornless. It's genetic, and not common, but obviously it eliminates the need for disbudding and the problems associated with it. Very good question. So glad you asked. :)

* Crystal * said...

I really have been pleased with Jeffers....if you ever have a question, call customer service, you talk to a real person & they are super helpful.

Oh once you get a chance to read through the gobs of links I posted, particularly the copper stuff, if you want to order in small amounts I'll give you the contact info to who I ordered mine from originally...she runs a holistic pet supply & will only charge you the amount it cost to make them.

Now that I have more goats (with two does reserved in spring!) I'm going to buy the Copasure from Jeffers to break apart & make my own, but when I had just the minis, I bought just a few bolus at a time from the gal mentioned above.

I love, love blogs!! There is so much info out there to share & I spend way too much time reading blogs lol. I wish I could update mine more often, but I'm strictly on my cell for internet, so I only post when I've got my laptop near a WiFi hotspot (closest one to Noodle is 45 minutes away....) Unless of course I want to post a blog with no pictures, but how fun is that?

Susan said...

Leigh - as Crystal said, the angoras are shown (even the wethers). In 4-H shows they are supposed to have "horn covers" when in their pens, but they were usually in the corner of the pen.

My first buck was a rescue, and about 9 years old when I got him. Maynard knew exactly where hie horns were at all times. We quickly reached an agreement. He did not like it if I leaned over him to do things, so at shearing time I would tie him to the fence and sit on the ground next to him. He would let me take as long as I needed to shear him. If I stood up and leaned over him, he would hit me once with a horn tip as a reminder. However, he seemed to understand that I could not trim his feet when I was seated, so for that he would let me stand up and lean over (he never hit me when I was trimming his feet).

I could always tell when the moon was full, because he would hit his shelter and move it from one end of his pen to the other (it weighed about 200 pounds!). He'd stop for a while if I yelled at him, but for about 4 days a month he was a head butting fool. He had a 4-foot rack (tip to tip), but he never hurt anyone or any other animals with his horns. Lost him at about 19 years old. He was a sweetie, once we got to know each other. He'd get out occasionally, but if I asked him where he was going he'd walk right back to his pen and wait for me to open the gate. A true gentleman!

Leigh said...

Cyrstal, I will read through it. I've really focusing now on feed and minerals. Hoeggers offers a mineral mix (Golden Blend) with the correct requirements of calcium, phosphorous, selenium, copper, etc. Right now my girls are getting little amounts here and there from the various feeds and minerals they get. I think I'd like to know they are getting the correct amounts from one source.

Susan, I absolutely love angoras. I love that you worked out an agreement with Maynard. That's one smart goat! I know you must have missed him terrible after he was gone. Some animals are just special like that.

* Crystal * said...

Here! I dug through all my phone files & couldn't find this link to post in response on my blog but I found it now :-) Really interesting, plus has some educational pics & such:

http://www.saanendoah.com/copper1.html

I've heard good things about Golden Blends, but I do know that I haven't found a single mineral that is 100% perfect, nor can any of them offer the benefits of helping to control HC (Haemonchus contortus) worms like copper bolusing can.....After seeing 1st the damage HC worms can do, the benefit of copper bolusing keeping them in check is an awesome thing. It's been a while since I researched minerals & I may be on the hunt for a new one.....Its essential that your copper source in the mineral mix is Copper OXIDE not Copper Sulfate...The Right Now Onyx I use used to be primarily copper oxide & this last bag I bought has copper sulfate listed as the primary copper source now! Hate it when they change up things and don't tell you... I've wrote to them & am waiting on a reply...

Since goats & deer have similar mineral requirements I know people who use deer minerals...One in particular called Antler builder/maker....something along those lines & its made by Purina. It has 3 sources of copper & looked pretty good, I just cant get it locally.

I know since I've set my feeding properly & use good minerals & copper bolusing I've not had any problems with the goats....better hoof/coat condition (no copper tinged dark coat, or coats that have faded pale "ghosted", & correction of "fish tail"), more milk on less grain & increased fertility...

I've had people say "We didn't do that back in the day..." But back in the day the farm land & soil that grew the feed grains & hay hadn't been as heavily farmed & leached of many of it's vital nutrients, so to me it makes sense that mineral supplementation would be needed more so now, than it would have been 50 years ago.....

Leigh said...

Crystal, in the end, it's the results that count. I think what complicates things is that we all have different levels of copper (and selenium) in our soils, so our individual needs are different. It concerns me that both of these elements are vital to goat health but also toxic if too much is given. I didn't know that about copper oxide, I checked and Golden Blend uses copper sulfate. I currently use Purina goat minerals, but will have to check that one out. Hadn't thought about deer minerals, I'll have to take a look next time I'm at TS 'cuz I noticed they do sell feed and supplements for deer. The link is another good one, thanks!

Laura said...

If (or when) I finally get goats, they *will not* have horns. I admit, there's nothing more beautiful than an mature angora buck with full horns (they are shown with horns, by the way), but my brief experience with goats has soured me on the horn issue. My fences weren't really goat proof, and I had one boer doe that stuck her head through anything it would fit in. Many times I would come home from work to find her stuck, and a little pile of manure behind her. I finally duck-taped a piece of pvc across her horns so that she wouldn't fit through anything anymore. I ate her...

I have had sheep with horns (why people don't disbud sheep, I have never gotten an good answer for). They can be ok, and they can be rude and dangerous, just like goats. I'm more tolerant of sheep with horns (of either sex), but still prefer polled. Ok, so horns make good handles, but that's about all they're good for, in my opinion.

Crystal's description of disbudding will be filed away in the vault that I call my brain, so that if I ever have to do that, I will know how.

I also agree with Teresa - we don't have "natural" livestock anymore, so horns have no place in a domesticated situation. Since these boys are probably destined to be cabrito (look it up - it's fabulous), it probably doesn't matter.

And, they look very, very nice, indeed!

Marissa said...

I *insisted* on not disbudding when we first got goats 3 years ago. By the time the last batch of kids were born, we had the disbudding iron ready to go. At 5 weeks old, those bucklings were a danger to themselves and everyone else in their enclosure (mostly us...). Fencing is not natural, so off with the horns.

Leigh said...

Laura, it seems that most folks favor disbudding. It's curious about sheep, as you say. Maybe it's because sheep are handled less (?), though I have heard some real horror stories about rams in rut and horns. I agree that horns make good handles! LOL. That was one advantage I had over Agigail; once I got ahold of her horns, she was helpless.

I posted the twins on craigslist yesterday, but no inquiries so far. There are lots of bucklings on offer, so I'm not especially hopeful they'll sell. It may be cabrito after all.

Marissa, there are some things like that, which are a real reality check. Good point about the fencing too. I think good stewardship requires taking the best care of our animals, even if it means doing things differently than in the wild. All part of domestication, but it's a healthy trade-off I think, for both us and them.