Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

To have horns or no horns? That is the question ;>)

My doeling is polled and my whether was supposed to be dis-budded. The dis-budding did not take and now he has little stubby horns. The lady I bought him from told me to bring him back and she would notch and band them. I spoke to my vet and he just said it was really just what I would prefer. If he wanted to butt he would do it with or without horns. I just really hate the thought of putting him in pain. I really hated the thought of dis-budding but that was going to be done before I got him, so it wasn't like I was doing it (funny logic I know). My fence is 2x4 squares so he should not be able to get caught in it. He does try to butt my doe but he'll still do that with or without horns. What do you guys think? I just don't want to hurt my baby but didn't know if there was a good reason to remove the horns.


Also what do you guys do to keep ticks off your goats? They are really bad here this year. I've picked ticks off all our animals AND kids AND children too many times already!  Thanks you guys!!

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There are lot of good reasons to disbud, and plenty of reasons not to. It truly is a personal decision. Here are the reasons I would:

  1. Impalement. Headbutting with horns can injure you, and any goats you house a horned goat with.
  2. They are also easy for goats to get stuck in fences with. Head goes THROUGH the hole, won't come back out because of the horns. I've read of people's goats hanging themselves in panic over this.

Those are my two biggest reasons to be sure my disbudding takes the first time.

Without knowing how old your little guy is, I'll give you a few reasons NOT to disbud.

The main one, you mentioned...

  1. Pain. The older your guys gets, the more painful it will be.
  2. It's not natural.

There are ways around disbudding... one of which is to cut holes in tennis balls and put them on the ends of your goat's horns. I've also seen pics of people duct taping a stick between the horns that hang a little past the sides to keep their goats from putting their heads through fences.


Long story short. If it were me... and the kid in Q was still fairly young... I would complete the disbud.


They are about 2 months old right now. The breeder said she would notch the horns and put a band (like you use to castrate) on the horns. I've heard it can make a hole in the head, does that grow over? The horns are only about 2-3 inches tall right now. The fencing I have right now can only fit their nose in so they can't get stuck. I'm worried about the butting. Eventually I'm hoping they will be able to co-mingle with my dogs (2 pugs and a small mixed breed), but this will happen when they get bigger and older. Right now they are curious of each other, their fences border and they look at each other. I don't want to take my dogs to the vet b/c they have been butted and they were hurt. Thanks!!
It's not the butting per say that you have to worry about... it's getting caught with the TIPS of those suckers... you can  (or pets can) be gored with those puppies. I just saw an example today of a goat with tennis balls on their horns, and now I can't find it!!
OMG, i'm going to have my wether's horns banded soon and I am really scared for him. He was disbudded but it didn't take. I'm scared that this won't work or he'll get an infection or it'll hurt. I'm so attached to him and I've become a total pushover when it comes to my two babies. What can I give him for pain after? And what should I look for after?

Personally I would take him to a vet and have it done. If this breeder messed up to the point that they're 2-3 inches long, that's pretty bad. And are they really horns, or are they flat like tortilla chips? How long has the breeder been raising goats and disbudding? I don't actually have much faith in your vet either if the only thing he mentioned was butting.


Scurs are not usually a big deal and can be dealt with in a number of ways. However, I would not have horns on my farm again. Someone gave me two horned pygoras when I first moved out here nine years ago, and after three months I gave them back because I was seriously afraid they were going to kill my other goats. The straw that broke the camels back was when I saw the wether hook his horns under the belly of a pregnant doe and lift her off the ground. Their horns are meant to be weapons, and they do learn to use them as such.


Perhaps you should post a picture of his head.

Here is a pic of his horns. Please ignore his ears, right before we got him he got out and a dog "loved" all the hair off his ears. They are scabbed but they are dry and peeling off. They're ugly but getting better.


I'm going to call my vet about the horns. He goes to the stockyard and has other people who have goats that he sees. I think he also does house calls. He probably has done this before but I'll call him and ask. 


Posting photos here in the thread for you, Jessica...

Whoever thought they disbudded him didn't do anything. Those are horns. Whoever said "the disbudding didn't take" is clueless. I would talk to the vet about this. The sooner, the better.
That's what I was thinking... Does this breeder have so many goats that one of them slipped through the cracks, or were they trying to pawn a goat off? Seems fishy to me. I know the people I get my goats from wouldn't have SAID they disbudded and not have done it, and I know they wouldn't have THOUGHT they did and not have done it either. There's visible signs a goat has been disbudded. My newest goat is 2 months old, disbudded very young (I think a week or two? Have to check the papers and they're not close by) and 1 and 1/2 months later, you can still tell.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:
Whoever thought they disbudded him didn't do anything. Those are horns. Whoever said "the disbudding didn't take" is clueless. I would talk to the vet about this. The sooner, the better.
She only has a few goats, she's just starting out with her herd. This go round she had triplets, she said she has disbudded before but probably only once. I don't think she would lie to me but sometimes people do. She said she has friends she talk to and mentors her with her goats. But it still makes me uneasy to think she might be messing with his horns and not know what she is doing. They are definitely going to have to be taken care of, he butted the back of my leg for the first time a few days ago. I don't want anyone or thing to get hurt.
I don't think she's lying when she said she disbudded once before. If she sold those kids, the buyer might have just lived with the horns or had their vet take care of them. The vast majority of people buy kids and you never hear from them again. And talking to people is not the way to learn to disbud. She doesn't know what she's doing, and she needs more face-to-face instruction from a knowledgable person. She probably just read about banding horns online and now wants to try it. From the pictures, it looks like she just put the iron directly on top of the horn bud but didn't turn it sideways to burn the whole top of the horn bud. I know more than one person who did that with their first goats and thought they had disbudded.
I sure hope that it's just inexperience then!! I'm really lucky that even though I have never disbudded, I'll be able to go to my breeder and learn first hand how to do it.

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