Disbudding vs Dehorning Goats

I have been fascinated with goats since the moment we introduced them to our farm. They are a multi-purpose adorable pet. From keeping the brush down, breeding for extra income, having a source of fresh milk (or meat in desperation), all the way to providing companionship after a hard day. At this point they are family. 

Until recently,  I didn’t know the difference between disbudding vs. dehorning or the controversial nature of the topic in general. So I dug deeper and here are some amazing facts I’ve found. 

???? Goat horns are permanent and grow throughout the life of the goat. They are not shed and if broken or damaged it will likely remain deformed. 

???? Mature goat horns are partially hollow and have blood vessels in them. They help the goats regulate their body temperature in the heat.  With or without horns, you will find the goats sweating or panting (like dogs) to cool off. 

???? Disbudding involves removing the horn bud before it attaches to the frontal sinus between 4-10 days of age. It’s usually done with a hot iron or caustic paste. 

????  Dehorning involves removing the horn after it attaches to the sinus and receives blood supply. This is considered a “cosmetic dehorn” and is more commonly done in cows.

We actually came home to Tori, one of our horned goats, with a broken horn at the base of her skull. I’m not sure what happened but I believe it may have formed improperly and she damaged it fainting or head butting . It was pretty traumatic as I had to remove it the rest of the way and isolate and treat her for several weeks. She has earned the nickname unicorn and miraculously she has a horn starting to grow back!  

I find these animals absolutely fascinating. I love scratching their horns and watching them grow. However, there is no “goat-judging” at Tooth Acres Farm. We’re behind you 100% if you decide to let your goats have horns or disbud them for safety concerns.  

What are your thoughts on disbudding vs dehorning goats?

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Meet Tooth Acre Farms

Welcome to Tooth Acre Farms — the home of Ariel and Ben Wood, three boys, a barn cat, a bunch of goats, ducks, chickens, guinea fowl, three loyal livestock guard dogs, hard work, mud, and so many reasons to smile.

We founded our rural West Virginia farm in 2020 with a dream to create a simpler sustainable joyful life for our family. As first-generation farmers we’re learning our way around homesteading, raising goats, harvesting honey, farming our 30 acres of land, and developing body care products with all-natural ingredients.

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