How not to de-horn goats.

You are riding on the range. Suddenly, Bad Nosed Bill rides up behind you and asks, “Would you like me to shoot a hole in your head?” What do you say dear?

from What Do You Say Dear? by Sesyle Joslin

There is a reason the devil has horns in most popular depictions. Horns are scary. Goats also have horns. The remedy for this condition involves holding a tiny cute baby goat down and burning the heck out of the horn buds. And I, wimp of the year, klutz extraordinaire, didn’t quite get the heck burnt out of the horn buds I did.

The vet quoted me a reasonable price to sedate them and burn them. Ah ha! Problem solved, thought I. Down they will go to the vet, the vet will fix my stupid bumbling error, and it will be all better.

The vet gave them a sedative and they staggered and went down within minutes. Then she clipped off the existing horn so that we could get to the bud. This left a hole, as in two extra holes, in the heads of Tani and Othello. The holes are into the sinus cavity, perhaps no worse than having a couple extra nostrils, but it is a bit disconcerting. (Read Shannon was silently freaking out while gazing deeply into the brain of her goat.) The vet then held a burning hot iron onto the bud and burned it, careful not to leave the iron applied too long, again and again, until the job was done correctly. (Think smoke from burning hair, blood, and a screaming writhing baby goat held on the ground by two respectable middle-class women.)

This is the only picture available of this joyful experience. I wish you could really see down into the hole; it was quite fascinating.

The vet instructed me to pack the holes with gauze, and keep it fly sprayed. Don’t want any guests! Large animal vets earn every penny they make. This was my first experience with a large animal vet and I was very impressed with her. It must be an incredibly demanding life.

If you plug a goat head hole with gauze, the goat will probably knock it out.

If the goat knocks it gauze out, it will probably get hay in its head.

If it gets hay in its head you are going to need to take it out, for this you will need tweezers, and a big strong man to hold the goat down.

If you put a hole in a goats head maybe you should patch it. For this you will want super glue… and vet tape.

Life is full of new experiences. Try to avoid this one.

Lessons learned:

1.It may seem cruel to hold a baby goat down and burn the heck out of it, but it is nothing compared to what will happen if you have to do it again later.

2. If one is going to keep animals, one should procure a bottle of strong drink, regardless of religious background.

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