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Goat (Buck) Castrating/De-Horning/Behavior Q's

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  • Goat (Buck) Castrating/De-Horning/Behavior Q's

    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.

  • #2
    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.


    • #3
      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.
      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


      • #4

        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.


        • Original Poster

          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.


          • #6
            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~
            save lives...spay/neuter/geld


            • #7
              Castration yes. De horning... eeesh.. Buckes are gross critters most of the time. Good luck


              • Original Poster

                He looks a lot like this:


                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.


                • #9
                  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!!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SLW View Post
                    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.


                    • #11
                      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).
                      Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous


                      • #12
                        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.


                        • #13
                          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....

                          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 ?
                          True North Dressage
                          Select Cheval Canadiens for dressage and eventing


                          • #14
                            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.
                            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                            -Rudyard Kipling


                            • #15
                              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?


                              • #16
                                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.
                                Last edited by pj; Jan. 17, 2010, 12:16 PM. Reason: added last paragraph
                                You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by CB/TB View Post
                                  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!


                                  • #18
                                    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.



                                    • #19
                                      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!
                                      Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
                                      Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


                                      • #20
                                        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!
                                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld