Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Goats & Sheep With Horns

I just posted about the disbudding of kids and lambs, but what about adults that already have horns? How do I deal with them? Well, that depends upon the individual animal. 

Bucky is a smarty and is wise enough to understand the value and use of his horns. I often see him using them to scratch his back. He's been known to rip barbed wire right off the t-posts and take down electric fencing using those horns. He's worked on gates and other barriers trying to escape. Not that he hates being where he is, but he's a goat full of curiosity, just doing goat things. His most dangerous habits are using his horns on others. He will bash other goats and sheep. I've seen him try to jab the horse and donkeys. And many a time he's been successful in jabbing me. 

Harley on the other hand seldom uses his horns. First of all, they are far larger than Bucky's, so they aren't as versatile. But he's never tried to butt or jab with them. 

Neither Nanny nor Honami use their horns for anything but scratching their backs. But both do have a history of getting their heads caught in fences. They will stick their noses just about anywhere. 

Except for Harley, I've had to do something about the horns because of dangerous problems. Bucky cause injuries, thus his horns need balls or knobs on the ends. Nanny and Honami need rods attached to the horns to prevent them from being caught in the fencing. 

A neighbor has a goat who is horned and lives with four non-horned pasture mates. She has resorted to balling the horns to prevent injuries to the pasture mates. 

I don't know if you can buy horn knobs for goats, but I've heard of people using all sorts of things in place of commercial knobs. Balls work. So do the smallest kong dog chew toys. They just need to be attached in some way to the horns. I heard of gorilla glue and liquid nails being used. Some people try using various tapes. And others will screw the ball or kong to the horns. But care must be taken when using screws because only the last inch or so is dead horn. Further back is sensitive, blood fed quick. 

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