Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Goat Kids and Disbudding

Sophie's doe kid 2014

We have goat kids on the farm! They are the cutest little things and they always manage to bring a smile to my face.

I know that many take their dairy goat kids from their mothers when they are born and bottle feed them.
We choose to leave them with their mothers after they are born. The dams take great care of their kids and leave us with little to do.

We also choose to disbud (dehorn) our goats. There are some who choose not to, but most Dairy Goats are disbudded when they are young.  Our girls show in 4-H and no horns allowed in Dairy classes. But even if we did not show, we would still choose to disbud them.

2013 Kids

The first couple of years that we raised goats a neighbor disbudded our kids for us.
After we decided we were going to continue to raise goats and that we would have kids every year we bought our own electric dehorner so we could do it ourselves. It is easier than taking the kids off farm to have it done.

We have been doing the procedure for about 15 years. We have never lost a kid or had any real serious problems. On occasion, we have waited too long and ended up with a buckling with horns. They can grow in pretty quick. The different goat breeds seem to vary on how fast the horns grow in. When we had Nubians it seemed we could wait almost 3 weeks. With Saanens we had buck kids that we could not do at a week. With the Oberhasli and Toggenburg we have about a 7-14 day window to get them done without any problems.

Mike is the one that ends up doing the procedure.  We catch the babies, give them their tetanus shot,  and clip the hair from the top of their heads, but he does the actual disbudding. He has a drawer that he uses to hold the goats, to make it a one man job. 

I am not going to lie, it is not for the faint of heart! But then a lot of aspects of raising livestock are not!  If we actually rated the top ten things we dislike about raising livestock, disbudding would easily be up there in the top 3.

Sophie, who is now a mamma

I am grateful it is a quick process and the kids seem to handle it very well and are back to bouncing around in no time.

For a tutorial on disbudding you can visit:

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  1. Beautiful pictures! Goats, babies and adults are so cute and friendly, makes me wonder why they aren't as popular for pets as dogs are. Plus they could double as a lawnmower and likely they are cheaper to feed.

    I also would have a hard time with disbudding or other things where you're removing 'parts.'

    1. Some of the goats are more like pets. They don't listen as well as our dogs though. They are troublemakers :)

  2. I am kid-less this year in more ways than one. I think about how I miss the baby goats and then I think about disbudding and I get over missing it real fast. Next year I will be at it again. Your goats are darling : )

    1. I would miss the babies too, but not the work... :)

  3. You have some great looking goats, Sandra. Yes, disbudding is a very, very yucky job, but I would still take it over having horns any day.


    1. Thanks!
      We are excited to have more doe kids this year. Last year bucks...
      I have had goats with horns when we raised Spanish Goats, too many close calls.


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