Saturday, April 9, 2011

Disbudding is Terrible!

The day that I have been dreading finally arrived, it was time to disbud the young bucklings. Alexander is a few days older than Becca Boo's "Little Man" so I selected him to go first. I warmed up the disbudding iron and tested it on a piece of wood to make sure it was ready, this whole process really had me worried. I first shaved the top of Alex's head so the little horn buds would be exposed. The Commander held Alex down using a towel over his body and rested his head on a pillow. It broke my heart when I touched the iron to his head and he cried out.

I was able to get nice copper colored circles around his buds and the "dead" caps popped right off when I was done, no bleeding. I sprayed the spots with "Blue Kote" when I was done to prevent infection and bug infestation.

Alex was back to his happy little self shortly after the process was over, but that didn't make me feel any better.

It was Little Man's turn next and his head was much smaller, making the job a lot more difficult. I applied the iron and once again there was heart breaking cries. The other goats were calling back and going crazy, thank goodness we had the forethought to make sure Sara was in the house.

A while later Little Man was happy and playing in the pen with everyone else. The Commander told me that he couldn't shake the smell of burning hair, he didn't like this any more than I did. Thank goodness the sheep get to keep their horns. I have been on a food binge and alcohol frenzy ever since finishing up, I can't wait for tomorrow.


  1. Amen to this is a horrible job! I did it a few weeks ago and thought all was good, but now it appears the boys are growing horns anyway. (sigh)
    Sounds like you will have better luck.

  2. I would have been in tears myself. You are a braver woman than I am.

    Pamela Jo

  3. I knew there was a reason we raise sheep who have no horns at our house. But I am proud of you! I put my first "scrappie" tag on a lamb today and my daughter did one also... It's the baby steps of livestock ownership...

  4. Oh heartbreak. Well, a little pain now saves them from a lot of pain in the future. Hopefully they know they are better off without horns.

  5. Oh....poor babies and poor you! You are tougher than me, I just couldn't do......thank goodness my first 2 boys were polled and the next 2 where not born here and already disbudded when I brought them home!

  6. Oh my goodness-I'm so glad I never had to do this to my sheep either. My heart breaks for you having to do it-go figure they don't even remember it now and it will be remembered by u for a long time! It was hard enough to go thru labor and delivery with goat 2 days ago!! Good job all around!!

  7. Sometimes I am glad I didn't disbud Bill. (As much as it would help!) The boys sound like they are going to be okay, and to me it looks like you did a good job.

  8. Michaela - That is awful news! I have read (at Critter Farm) that you can try again but it is a tough decision.

    TJL - I am thankful that I have an entire year to work my courage up for the next round, it isn't easy.

    RHFJ - I forgot about still having to tattoo their ears! Oh no, and yes I will need to tag the lambs as well.

    VGC - That is what I keep telling myself, I just want everyone to be happy and healthy.

    Niece - I'm sure it won't be easier next time but I will be better prepared and hopefully more skillful.

    Rain - That is the one consolation their not remembering. If they were afraid of me from here out I would never be able to do it again. I love snuggling those little guys.

    Autumn - I hope I did a good job, thank you.

  9. You are brave! It was a needed job, and sometimes we just have to do tough things on a farm. The baby boys will be fine, and it's better you did it and got it over with! More power to you! Stay strong and keep your head up!!! Now I'm going to go have a drink for you! Oh, wait, it's 9am, maybe not just yet...


  10. Oh you are far braver then I!
    I'm so glad our sheep are naturally polled,docking tails is bad enough.

  11. Lynn - The Kahlua I had last night was really tasty!

    Farmer - I still have to band the boys so more unpleasantness to follow. I wish I was brave instead of scared.

  12. It IS the most God awful thing in the world. Not only the smell but the crying. I had nightmares for ages afterwards. That was many years ago and I still remember it well, When I had my wether done someone else did it and I couldn't even be there, I hid with my fingers in my ears. Yea, I'm a chicken at heart.

    You might want to think about making a disbudding box if you think this is something that may become a regular part of your program. I'm not sure if it makes it any easier though.

    Hopefully you all recover soon.

  13. Oh, I'm so proud of you! This is a really tough job and, having been "the holder" in a repeat job, I know how emotionally wrenching this is.
    I'm about to have my morning coffee - I'll be toasting you! :-)

  14. marchwind - I looked at some disbudding boxes but the Nigerian kids are so small that I don't think it would be much help. The boys were outside today hopping around and happy, I was really relieved.

    Danni - Thanks for the toast! The Commander told me he did not enjoy holding the little guys heads because they were so small and fragile, but he didn't want to trade jobs either.

  15. Well at least it's behind you that's the main thing. I had to read the end of your post twice, lol, enjoy your food and drinking, you deserve it, to recover and to celebrate!

  16. LuckyBunny - I may just have to do the same again tonight, just to be sure I'm really over it!

  17. oh no! sorry baby! but you did a great job. have some donuts.

  18. You did good!
    With my sisters goats we just let the horns grow, and they didn't get to big but you had to watch out for them.


  19. OFG - If we had a ewe this year I was considering the name Ohio since you provided the initial interest in goats with your A+ dairy goat grade last year.

    Leontien - If I have any hope for finding homes for my Nigerians they have to be disbudded, it is the breed standard. I hated causing them pain, it really made me sad.