Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Baby Goats have an unpleasant day

Our baby goats, Molly and Patty, had an unpleasant day today. It was dehorning day. French Alpine Goats naturally grow horns. In the wild they serve an important purpose. But in our small herd, confined and protected as they are, they are a hazard. Left to grow they will quickly become instruments of harm to other goats and to people. We don't allow horned animals in our herd for that reason. It is very difficult to remove the horns from an adult goat. Traumatic and sometimes life-threatening (both for the goat and for the person trying to remove the horns.) We dehorn the goats when they are very young. Usually between 3 days and 3 weeks old. Younger is better.

We use an electric dehorner which cauterises the growth points of the horns. They never grow, and after a couple of weeks the nub that would have grown into a horn sluffs off and hair grows over it. It is painful for the baby, but it is quick, effective, and they recover within minutes.
They were back out playing in less than half an hour.
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