De horning an adult goat

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De horning an adult goat

Postby yorkshire duck » 05 Dec 2012, 13:13

Its a long story but my friend has ended up looking after someone elses 2 goats, which was supposed to be temporarily but it now seems that she may be stuck with them. She has a liscence to keep goats on her holding,has been told by defra that under the circumstances she can backdate movement liscences & can red tag them, but one of them has a horn that really needs to go, shes quite aggressive ( & always has been, not just under the present circumstances ) & the horn makes her dangerous, rather than just a nuisance.
Its a proper horn, not just a sprig, does anyone know how much it would cost to get it removed by a vet & how successfull it would be ?
We had a goat that lost a horn due to a fight with a sheep, it came off below the skull at sinus level & took months of care till he was out of the woods, the vet said he'd get over it .. or he wouldn't , he did but it was hard work. The goat in question has an aggressive temperament & maybe it would be best if she was pts now, my friend is willing to give both goats a home, but as she has children, obviously the aggressive one has to be made 'less of a threat', they'd both be securely fenced in their own area , but goats being goats you can never be sure that they'll never escape.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby nigel » 05 Dec 2012, 20:53

No idea how much it will cost. It is a serious operation as the horns are still living with a rich blood supply inside the horny casing. Barring accidents like the one you describe I've never known anyone try to dehorn an adult goat.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby chuck1 » 05 Dec 2012, 23:51

As to the cost, you'd need to get a price from the vets and you might need to shop around re. cost and even to find a vet who has the skills as so many are now small animal specialists. You need farm vets. It is quite a big op. and the horns have to be cut right back to a point where they won't grow again when there will be a big hollow in the centre which needs to be kept clean which is difficult. Probably a general anaesthetic will be needed as restraint of an adult goat is difficult and local anaesthesia doesn't work well.
It is possible to trim them back quite a way yourself using cheese wire which is attached to wood at both ends to make handles. Even to do this needs a lot of strength, both to cut with the wire and to restrain the goat.
Goats that are aggressive seldom change and the expense and the trauma to human and goat may not in the end achieve the goal.
Well reared female goats are seldom aggressive and most are dehorned in the first week after birth. Male goats are much more unpredictable and can turn aggressive, especially in the autumn which is the mating season.
Based on my experience of 29 years with goats, I would not take on an aggressive goat, especially if there are vulnerable humans around and as you state, they are notoriously difficult to contain.
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Postby nigel » 06 Dec 2012, 21:09

I agree with chuck1, an aggressive goat is unlikely to change. You may with time be able gentle them a little but never enough to trust them with children and as they are superlative escape artists I would be reluctant to home the aggressive goat in your friends position. I'm not sure under the circumstances it's worth the risk. The only reason I would think twice is with goats being a herd animal a single goat is usually an unhappy goat.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby Henwife » 07 Dec 2012, 08:32

Sadly the answer is probably to slaughter. Rules no longer allow you to get the local hunt to shoot and use the carcass for hound food (at least I assume they don't), but I really wouldn't advise keeping an aggressive goat. i she already has goats on the holding then the question of company for the other one is solved, otherwise get her in kid and hope she has at least one nanny kid.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby Chris Kurzfeld » 07 Dec 2012, 09:59

I think they do Henwife - a friend recently had them come for one of her horses that wasn't going to recover :( - don't know about goats though.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby Henwife » 07 Dec 2012, 10:45

As the local hunt used to take my casualties or surplus males, then perhaps they still do
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby chuck1 » 08 Dec 2012, 00:46

While it is always advised to keep more than one, more often than not, one will survive well on it's own. Many times I have been asked to find a companion because one has been left on it's own and by the time I'd managed to find one (few days usually) the owner told me the other one had settled and they would rather not have another. So if you want to have the aggressive one put down, I'd take that option.
Hunts are still taking carcasses and will put stock down but now charge as they need to balance their books.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby brooksidepoultry » 09 Dec 2012, 22:31

I'm pretty certain hunts do they still do with horses & stock that died of normal circumstances like age & not disease or have been shot - obs not pts & couldn't you have her de-horned like you do like with cattle which are normally done with some horn showing & calves like kids are de-budded but some bullocks & heifers & even adults have huge horns when de-horned of course only get a well known large animal vet to do it pref with experience in goats & failing that are the red tags- meat tags??? If so would it be worth getting another goat for company for the other & sending this 1 for slaughter & eating her if your friend could face it? x
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby Henwife » 10 Dec 2012, 08:20

I imagine the single horn at an odd angle is the result of a poor disbudding when very young. It happens. My concern would be with the goat's temperament. My goats were all good tempered (and horned), put up with the children learning to milk, and trustworthy. I'm afraid I wouldn't keep or try to rehome any livestock that I considered an accident waiting to happen. As has been mentioned, if a goat can get somewhere it shouldn't it will.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby goatlady » 11 Dec 2012, 18:42

Sorry to come to this a bit late, but I agree with those who say she has to go. All my goats are horned, which isn't generally a problem. An aggressive female won't change, and will be a danger at some point. I had one for a while, and we sent her for slaughter at 18 months. The meat was very good. There is plenty you can do with the meat from adult goats.

Personally, I would never keep a single goat.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby yorkshire duck » 12 Dec 2012, 11:28

Red tags are replacement tags for ones that have been lost, the other( nice tempered ) goat still has her original pink tag , registering her to my friends holding when the paperwork comes through. The other goat is booked in on friday to have the horn removed, its our usual large animal vet who will be doing this,hes been our vet for 30 odd years & we trust his judgement implicitly, he says he'll take the horn down as far as he can & cauterise the site,& after that we'll need to follow usual wound care practices untill its fully healed.
She should be far less of a threat with just a 'stub', & hopefully her original owner might just make the right decision regarding her future, its such a shame that she has to go through this at all, but her owner has lost her home through no fault of herself( so needed to rehome the goats ) & is in bits & needs some time to get to grips what is best for her pets.We already have another goat so the nice tempered girl would not be alone should it come to this
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby brooksidepoultry » 12 Dec 2012, 20:23

Hi I hate to throw a spanner in the works but I spoke to one of the senior head vets at our practice today asking about it & he's been qualified & working in large & small animal work for over 40 years & he said don't even attempt to dehorn an adult goat because of the huge cavity / hole in the head that will be left will be very likely to cause infection & possibly to the brain & that they should only be de-budded as kids up to 2-3 days old any older is a no go area :shock: cattle I think can be de-horned when older due to the much larger heads & skulls so the holes aren't as big but on something a goats size it is a considerable chunk out of the head / skull! If you cant deal with her I'd advise slaughter - sorry to confuse you even more x
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby Henwife » 12 Dec 2012, 22:56

I suspect you may be confusing de-horning with disbudding. If the vet is going to "take it down as far as he can" I would assume this to mean cutting through rather than uprooting. This will leave a stub of whatever length the vet feels appropriate, but not the sharp and misshapen growth she presently has. Think of limb amputation (OK, I know the composition is different); major surgery, careful attention to wound cleanliness and dressing, and all is usually OK.
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Re: De horning an adult goat

Postby chuck1 » 12 Dec 2012, 23:40

Adult horns are cut just above the surface of the head. There is blood loss and a considerable cavity is left which needs to be kept reasonably clean. If an experienced vet is prepared to take it on, it should be OK.
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