At just 5 days old, Bramble & Bluebell were taken to the vets to be disbudded today. It’s a necessary job but not one that we enjoy or look forward to, to say the least.
Golden Guernsey’s are naturally horned, although some are born ‘polled’ which is hornless. It is unwise to have horned and non-horned goats in the same herd, for obvious reasons. A non-horned goat would be at a great disadvantage and liable to serious injury, even during play, from a horned goat. Additionally horned goats are prone to getting themselves caught in stock fencing, hurdles etc., so many goatkeepers disbud their horned goats soon after birth.
Our Foundation Goats, Misletoe & Marigold, are both disbudded so it is important that we maintain this feature in the rest of the herd. Unfortunately the beautiful little baby goats become ‘scarred’ by two holes on their heads where the ‘buds’ are removed. This is done with a hot iron, much like a branding iron, which is either gas or electrically heated. They are anaesthetised so they don’t feel it and, like a child undergoing their vaccinations, they will never remember what was done to them, but it is not a pleasant experience for sensitive goat keepers like us!
The last time we had to do this, we both went to the vets. However on this occasion I had to go to work so the job fell on Irene’s shoulders. We were fortunate that a friendly neighbour, who has years of experience of stock keeping, accompanied Irene to the vets and took the babies in herself, saving Irene the distress.
Suffice to say, within a few hours of the babies being home they were running around the holding as if nothing had happened!!