Concerning Dehorning Mature Goats

| 4/28/2016 10:20:00 AM

Tags: raising livestock, goats, animal care, safety, dehorning, Lauren Hall Ruddell, Utah,

Aristotle 2016 

Recently, I received a help  inquiry from a young woman in western Ireland. She had rescued a young, badly neglected Old Irish Goat 2-year-old buck from a place not able to care for him properly.  Although he is good natured, she plans on neutering him for family safety and also wishes to get him dehorned. This is not an easy proposition at that age.

I once had a doeling with significant scurs (partial horn regrowth) at 18 months old. I decided to try a surgical removal. Although the vet did a great job and she did recover, I swear that for at least two weeks I could see straight into the brain.

Substantial horns that have become an integral part of a mature skull are not candidates for either surgery or c-bands at the base. Therefore, size matters. As Gary Pfalzbot of the website GoatWorld comments on c-bands or elastrator banding:

“The first step using this method involves determining if your goats horns are long enough and large enough. Since every goat has a different growth rate, there is not really a young age which is best, but if you insist on knowing an age, let's say anywhere from three to four months old. The width of the horn at the base of the head is the most important factor. I generally follow my own rule of 'if the horn diameter at the head is at least the same diameter of a coin penny.' Likewise, if the horn diameter at the head is the width of a half dollar, you may not be able to easily slip the castration band all the way down to the base of the horn at the head.”

Furthermore, it may not stay there. Although I have not seen the horns on this particular buck, Old Irish Goats are known for their magnificent sweeping horns, so I am assuming that this boy is well on his way to not qualifying for banding.

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