We love our goats. If you’ve been following on facebook, you know that two of our does have kidded, and now we have four spritely little goatlings running around our place.
They’re so much fun to watching bounding around, just looking so happy.
That’s why I hate the thought of disbudding so much. Nobody wants to hurt their animals. Especially not their baby animals.
In many ways, caring for animals, is a lot like having small children. You do things for their own good, but there’s no way for them to know that.
That’s why bleeding hearts who want to come out to your farm and tell you how you should or shouldn’t take care of your animals are such a problem.
They don’t know what’s good for the animals. They only see what looks on the surface to be inhumane. I commend the tender heartedness, but I also think folks should know we don’t do things to our animals just to be mean.
In the past, we have let some of our goatlings grow horns, but we’ve realized what a mistake that is, and do our best to get them disbudded at an early age now.
Explaining to someone that the hot iron kills the nerve very quickly so that they don’t feel pain after it’s done, may come accross as heartless, but would you think it was cruel of me if I told you that I had to wrestle a sick animal down to give it a shot of medicine? That hurts too.
Why do goats need to be disbudded?
- They hurt eachother. goats play and fight pretty roughly, and horns can cause a lot of Vet bills. we’ve realized that it’s better to cause a few seconds of pain now, than risk a lot of agony later on.
- They get tangled up. Goats love to get in any available briar patches, stick their heads through fences… they’re very creative in finding ways to get stuck! Horns multiply that problem manyfold.
As Pat Coleby says in her book Natural Goat Care, the only time a goat should be allowed to have horns is if you know it will be kept out “on the range” somewhere where it has no hope of protection from a human or stock dog - and one could argue that that’s not a very humane aproach to goatkeeping. Horns don’t belong on a small operation.
So, earlier this week, we got the disbudding iron out, and heated it up. I held my ears while the kids gave a little yelp, then, the kids was released, and she bounded back to her mamma as if nothing had ever happened.
Her herd mates will never have to worry about being gored by her, and I can let my children play with her without fear.