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View Full Version : Goat (Buck) Castrating/De-Horning/Behavior Q's



grayarabs
Jan. 16, 2010, 07:58 PM
Barn has goats including one bad buck that now has to be penned separately.
Efforts to re-home him unsuccessful. He is perhaps 3-5 years old and mixed breed. FWIW some of us are rather fond of him and wish he could be castrated and de-horned. Assume the procedures expensive and not without risk.
How expensive and what could be expected behavior-wise post surgery?
I feel ridiculous asking about this.........TIA any thoughts/suggestions/experiences.

CB/TB
Jan. 16, 2010, 08:20 PM
I haven't dealt with neutering an older buck, but I have had an adult doe ( 3+ yo)dehorned and I'd never do it again. Granted, it was 20 years ago and maybe procedures have ( hopefully) changed. This was a very large Alpine X with quite thick horns. It was done by a vet . She( I'm sure) was sedated. The horns were sawed off at the base and the root( for lack of a better word- don't know what you'd call it) was scraped out . It left holes about the diameter of a quarter. I had to keep it clean, let it scab over and slowly heal. She was miserable and maybe in pain for a few days. It was hard to tell- she ate , drank and acted normal . She was a tough girl to begin with. She did heal OK , but every so soften one of the nubs would be banged and fall off and bleed . Nasty! She lived to the ripe old age of 15+. I've had one baby buck castrated at under a week old and no big deal for him. My vet did it. Don't know if one of those elastic castrators would work on an older mature buck . I think they even make something similar for horns. Good luck.

Ghazzu
Jan. 16, 2010, 08:34 PM
An adult buck would need to be at least heavily sedated, if not anesthetized, for dehorning/castration.
Aspiration pneumonia is probably the major risk.
Yes, the goat will be somewhat miserable afterwards.

AQHA4me
Jan. 16, 2010, 09:09 PM
Dehorning a full grown goat is horrible! And this is coming from somone who lived on a dairy and helped dehorn heifers. Castrating will be possible but must be done by a vert. DO NOT use the rubber bands!!! Chances are his behaviors are all ingrained. You probably wouldn't see many behavior changes as a result.

grayarabs
Jan. 16, 2010, 09:31 PM
Thanks. He has large horns. I had assumed our hopes to turn him into a docile creature would be a bust. Looking at photos online I think he is a pygmy with agouti coloring. He is rather a handsome buck. Dang.

fivehorses
Jan. 16, 2010, 09:35 PM
I would consider castrating, but not dehorning.
I have a wether who has horns. He does not use them however. When I got him, the farmer offered to saw the horns off, but didn't have time(thank God).
When I asked my vet to do it(still being a newbie goat owner), they refused.

I am not familiar with male goats, but would think like stallions, once that testosterone stops, attitude improves~

Blinkers On
Jan. 16, 2010, 10:09 PM
Castration yes. De horning... eeesh.. Buckes are gross critters most of the time. Good luck

grayarabs
Jan. 16, 2010, 10:30 PM
He looks a lot like this:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/file:too_much_ramming.jpg

But I could swear his horns have a curve/bend in them.

I worry more about the horns -the damage they could inflict - plus getting them tangled/caught in something.

Castration with vet I think we could manage.

He is safe - in his pen - but frustrated - we wish he could go back in with the other small animals and be happier. He is just so baaaaaaaaaaad.

SLW
Jan. 16, 2010, 11:12 PM
Dehorning at this age would be extremely tough on him. We had two Saanen does who we disbudded at one week old and scurs kept coming back. When they were 18 months old we had them surgically removed. One doe bounced right back, the other was a bleeder and needed more agressive aftercare.

I've assisted during the dehorning proceedure for older goats and it really is a blunt, rough surgery. Go ahead and have the veterinarian castrate him, that will help!!

DressageFancy
Jan. 17, 2010, 01:36 AM
Dehorning at this age would be extremely tough on him. We had two Saanen does who we disbudded at one week old and scurs kept coming back. When they were 18 months old we had them surgically removed. One doe bounced right back, the other was a bleeder and needed more agressive aftercare.

I've assisted during the dehorning proceedure for older goats and it really is a blunt, rough surgery. Go ahead and have the veterinarian castrate him, that will help!!

I totally agree with the above. My next question would be who? will be in daily contact with this guy as horns are extremely dangerous to human eyes. Great care must be taken around any goat with horns as it is just too easy to get seriously hurt or even blinded by a goat who simply turns his head while your face is down level with it's (goat's) head. And you can count on children to be down on the goats level.

Obi
Jan. 17, 2010, 01:48 AM
I would look into castrating him and finding him a whether (neutered goat) to hang out with. I had two goats rehab at my farm after a dog attack a few years ago and the male (who was neutered but a bully) was quite a handful. And yes, he had horns. But between a riding bat and a pocket full of butterscotch candies, we came to an agreement and he now is much friendlier and less aggressive (he liked to ram the small children).

willowmeadow
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:13 AM
It depends on how curved his horns are, but one trick to elimate getting his horns caught in fences etc. is to tie a piece of hay string between the horns.

I've used it on older sale-barn goats that were not dehorned. It helped prevent the "Blaaaaaaaah" save-me-I've-got-my-head-stuck-in-the-fence-and-can't-get-out-yells. ;)

Sabovee
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:47 AM
Why would you need to dehorn him? I have a nice herd of goats, many of them have horns... they've never been a problem. If he's butting dehorning him isn't going to stop that. If you're worried about butting you can get one of these....
http://www.sheepman.com/ecommerce/ecomm_product_details.asp?prodid=518&source=cat&catid=56

I wouldn't worry about him getting caught in stuff - unless you have American wire fencing, they usually know where their horns are... We rarely see any of ours get caught in stuff.


I'd look into castrating him, but dehorning him at this age to me is ?

JSwan
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:55 AM
I'd consider castration (using a vet because of the risk and pain involved) but not dehorning.

This time of year would be a good time to castrate - no flies.

All my goats have/had their horns.

CB/TB
Jan. 17, 2010, 12:06 PM
Sfter reading what kind of goat /size he was I'd think castration- OK , but leave the horns. Over the years I've had several goats that came with horns and were fine with the horses. Most of them were "mutts' , probably half pygmy and whatever else was in the barnyard. They were smaller than the goats I have now and their horns curved back and weren't that thick. If the horns are that big an issue, maybe duct tape some rubber balls to the ends( tennis balls). Something similar to what we see on oxen?

pj
Jan. 17, 2010, 12:13 PM
Once had a gal on my goat list tell how a large horned buck attacked her and evidently intended to kill her. She said the only thing that saved her was the buck's horns!! She held on to dear life to his horns which kept him from getting any actual licks in til someone came to help her. Lots of scrapes but alive and no broken bones.

In spite of that I don't like bucks with horns although I've had several. Our's were trained as kids to stop whatever they were doing when we sharpely said ACCK!! First they got a verbal command and then water squirted in their faces. Most didn't like that a bit. For the harder headed ones a switch across the nose made believers out of them.

Horns on any goats, bucks or does, are really not a good idea if they are going to be handled by small children. Even the kindest doe can damage a child beyond repair by accident.

I, too, would have a vet castrate your bad little buddy and get him a wether friend. He would be much happier with a friend and not hankering for the ladies.

lcw579
Jan. 17, 2010, 01:28 PM
If the horns are that big an issue, maybe duct tape some rubber balls to the ends( tennis balls). Something similar to what we see on oxen?

That's what I was thinking. I would think castrating would help too. FWIW the goat that terrorized us as children had been dehorned as a baby so I would work on some of the suggestions others have made to stop the butting if that is the major issue.

If he looks like the goat in that picture than he really is adorable!

f4leggin
Jan. 17, 2010, 02:30 PM
I have had 4 adult does dehorned - it is a horrible procedure (but they are asleep) and the after care is tough - but I have a hornless herd, so getting dehorned was part of what they had to do to be rescued.

It takes about a month to heal, they are heavily bandaged and he would need to be isolated at least the first week. The bandages are changed once a week. 3 of mine healed up nicely and on schedule - one had some problems healing (took much longer). I noticed definite depression/pain in two of the four.

Although it is awful - it's not the end of the world. If the choice is between this procedure and his long term well being - it may be the right thing to do. I swore I wouldn't do it again after the first one, but then a few years later, I did the other three.

It costs about 150 a goat.

Jill

rideagoldenpony
Jan. 17, 2010, 02:55 PM
I can't imagine dehorning an adult. It would be a rather unpleasant and traumatic procedure, I think. Ick.

I don't remember the reason, but I had a discussion about castrating adult buck goats with my vet a couple of years ago and she told me she would NOT do it, as it is an extremely bloody and hard procedure.

Banding is definitely NOT an option for an adult.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

fivehorses
Jan. 17, 2010, 04:22 PM
My goat has similar horns to the pic you posted.
The round kind like that are not bad at all. Its the pointy kind that I think can inflict a serious wound.

Agree and thanks for the link to sheepman supply that horns are not going to stop a goat that butts.
A friend has a female dehorned who is way more of a butter than my horned wether.

I can't let my dogs out near her goat, the female, sans horns butts the heck out of my dogs, who are use to my sweet horned wether!

equusus
Jan. 17, 2010, 05:13 PM
Definitely have vet castrate, should not be a big deal.

As far as horns go, dehorning a mature goat is a pretty rough procedure.
HOWEVER, you can saw the horns down to half size or less and they will be less sharp and dangerous. And it doesn't hurt the goat.

Referred to as "tipping".

fivehorses
Jan. 17, 2010, 06:23 PM
As far as horns go, dehorning a mature goat is a pretty rough procedure.
HOWEVER, you can saw the horns down to half size or less and they will be less sharp and dangerous. And it doesn't hurt the goat.

".

I beg to disagree. The only difference is you are cutting off a smaller area, kind of related to cutting off your leg at your thigh, where its thickest or at your ankle where its thinner...still going to hurt, still dealing with live tissue inside those horns.

I don't find the curved back horns to be that dangerous, its the kind that stick out straight that can jab you. The curved kind are not really any different or hurtful than a goat or sheep butting you with its head. Its all going to hurt, but not jab you.

grayarabs
Jan. 17, 2010, 06:36 PM
Equus - that is interesting - I was kinda wondering about something like that.
How similar are horns to hooves for "tipping"? Wonder how much could be sawed off without hitting "the quick" blood etc. Will research this.

(Years ago we had a doe with horns -and she was always in with my very sweet tolerant, tiny gelding. She followed him everywhere - bedded down with him - and was always getting into his bucket. I wrapped the end of her horns with duct tape - like little balls. Wasn't taking any chances with her horns and his eyes.
I guess some folks thought I was nuts. That silly goat would get in the trailer when I would load my horse to go to lessons and no way was she getting out.
So she often just went with us).

grayarabs
Jan. 17, 2010, 06:39 PM
Yes would be a difference in straight vs bent horns. I'll have to make a closer inspection tomorrow when I can finally make it to the barn.

equusus
Jan. 17, 2010, 07:09 PM
Usually when tipping just the 3 or 4 inches or so at the end of the horn is taken off. I have NEVER hit any blood when tipping, but if you go too far you will.
The vet who castrates him can probably tip the horns, too.

f4leggin
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:13 AM
BTW - one of the side effects of the procedure (in my goats cases) is that they don't butt anymore. Mainly is because it is so so painful the first time they try it after being dehorned and continues to be very painful for quite awhile after. By the time they are healed, they know not to do it - because it hurts.

It really humbles them. That's one of the reasons people say it's such a rough procedure.

Invite
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:34 AM
Definitely have vet castrate, should not be a big deal.

As far as horns go, dehorning a mature goat is a pretty rough procedure.
HOWEVER, you can saw the horns down to half size or less and they will be less sharp and dangerous. And it doesn't hurt the goat.

Referred to as "tipping".

My goats had their horns tipped. The horns are fantastic handles when you need to grab one of them. I *believe* the horns actually become part of the goat's skull, so it is major surgery and very bloody. I read in a goat book that the horns help enable a goat to regulate his/her body temp especially in the heat...I'm not sure how true this is, but our former goats (euthanized @13yrs) did not have horns and they panted a great deal more then my current goats do in the summer and they seemed to shiver much more often in the winter.

Ghazzu
Jan. 18, 2010, 12:10 PM
It's a rough procedure because, if done without general anesthesia, it's painful as hell, even with a local block.
If done under GA, there's the risk of aspiration (difficult to completely empty the GI tract of a ruminant, even with prolonged fasting.)
And you wind up with an open frontal sinus after you remove the horns.

f4leggin
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:44 PM
Mine were done with GA - so, I doubt they felt the procedure. Even someone who dropped their goat off and picked it up hours later would know this is something not to be done without much thought (BTW - I was there for the whole thing....) The reason I keep posting about it is because in spite of the unnaturalness of the procedure - if it is a quality or quantity of life issue - it's shouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities. And that was the spirit of the OP's question.

Watermark Farm
Jan. 18, 2010, 10:18 PM
I had an older buck castrated and "horn reduction" done (lol). I trailered him to a large animal clinic, where they knocked him out completely for castration. Because he had a full set of horns and dehorning-disbudding was not possible, the vet used a wire saw to saw off his horns down to just above the live tissue, which gave him about 4" of horn left. Enough so that his horns were short and blunt and safer for horses and humans. The horns continued to grow over the years, but always had blunt ends.

He was sore after, and had to stay in a clean stall and get pain meds and antibiotics for a few days after.

His bucky behavior lessened, as did the smell. He did retain some frisky 'buckiness' similar to a late-cute gelding, and he smelled more than a typical wether, but overall he was just fine. He did retain the buck mane/cape and beard. He was a wonderful goat, very friendly and good with horses. We eventually lost him to CAE...

Watermark Farm
Jan. 18, 2010, 10:25 PM
I read in a goat book that the horns help enable a goat to regulate his/her body temp especially in the heat...I'm not sure how true this is, but our former goats (euthanized @13yrs) did not have horns and they panted a great deal more then my current goats do in the summer and they seemed to shiver much more often in the winter.

This is interesting! I did not know this. We had two goats, one with tipped horns and one that I had had disbudded as a baby. The disbudded goat had a terrible time with cold and would shiver under 40 degrees, so had to wear a blanket in the winter.

Invite
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:04 PM
This is interesting! I did not know this. We had two goats, one with tipped horns and one that I had had disbudded as a baby. The disbudded goat had a terrible time with cold and would shiver under 40 degrees, so had to wear a blanket in the winter.

My 2 with tipped horns will stand outside and have a layer of snow on their backs with no shivering. They really do seem to pant less in the hot weather, too. I think Luis Gonzales and Daisy Duke would eat blankets!!!