Not for the Faint of Heart

Reader Contribution by Lisa Doucette
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OK, you’ve been forewarned!

The photographs you are about to see are not pretty.

So go to someone else’s blog this time if you’re squeamish.

OK, you were warned.

This post is about disbudding.

It’s a super controversial subject among goat farmers, animal rights activists, etc., etc.

I know some people don’t mind goats with horns and they say that if the goat isn’t nasty that it’s not an issue, but guess what … in my opinion, horns are an issue.

I have my son to think about and the other children who come to visit to think about also. Their safety is my No. 1 priority. Also our main buyers are 4-H’ers and the goats need to be disbudded.

Several years ago, I mean 15+ years ago, I had a goat with horns. He was the most docile wether you’ve ever seen. One day I had to give him his mani-pedi. Everything was going well when I turned my head and he turned his head at the same time. Then I usually wore contact lenses. I never wore glasses. But for some reason I wore my glasses that day. Thank goodness I wore my glasses! Because the tip of the horn hit me smack dab in the middle of my eye! It was all innocent. But if I had been wearing my contacts I would have lost my eye.

I swore never again to have a horned goat. And for a long time I never owned a goat after that.

So here goes. This is how you disbud a goat kid.

I thought of doing a video and putting it on YouTube but then I thought that might not be a good idea.

Disbudding should be taught hands-on. Not on YouTube.

It’s dangerous and should only be taught by someone with years of experience. I cannot stress this enough!

The lady who taught Dave had 25 years of experience. She was retiring from the goat business and she wanted someone to carry on the work. He didn’t learn it on YouTube.

I’m just putting the photographs on here so people can see what disbudding is all about.

First you take the kid and place it in a disbudding box. Never, ever try and do this with someone holding the kid. EVER!

We shave the kid’s head. I call it the reverse mohawk. The reason we do this is because it saves on the time that the iron has to be on the kid. The iron burns the buds right away instead of having to pass through the fur first. Honestly, the kids scream more about being confined in the box and having their hair cut than they do having their buds burned.

The iron is hot! Make sure it’s hot. We have lots of iron marks all over the barn, to make sure the iron is hot enough. It heats to 1500 degrees. The iron is placed on the bud for 5 to 8 seconds, then taken off to let the head cool off. We do this two or three times. Also we scrape the middle of the bud to make sure the iron gets to that point. When you put the iron on the bud, you have to do it gently, yet some pressure. Not enough pressure and you won’t get anything, too much and you’ll go through the skull!! That’s why it’s so important to have someone teach you and not a video. YouTube is good for learning how to make bread and such things … not disbudding goats!

This way we get no scurs.

The most important thing is to make sure you get a copper ring. That kills the bud.

We usually don’t get scurs after. The only time is when it’s a male and he doesn’t get banded right away. My theory is that the testosterone must kick in and cause the scurs. But that’s just my personal theory.

Banding is … well, that’s another post on its own.

After it’s all done, they don’t seem any worse for wear. But like I’ve said before, don’t try this without having been shown by someone that’s done it many times before.

Have a Blessed Day.


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