Disbudding is probably the least favorite ‘chore’ of raising dairy goats! In fact, most people are surprised to learn that most goat kids (except the few that are naturally polled, that is ‘hornless‘) start growing horns a few days after they’re born. Both bucks (males) and does (females) have horns. Most people don’t want their goats to have horns (4H goat projects typically do not ‘allow’ horns, so check with your 4H Club first). Horns are safely removed when the kids are babies — from a few days to a week or two, depending on the breed and the rate of growth of the ‘horn bud’ — using a process called “disbudding” (see “Disbudding Goats” for more on this).
This year, The Hubs, [finally] made me a ‘kid disbudding box’ which is an invaluable tool for disbudding and tattooing baby goats [especially if there's only one person doing the job]. My NEW disbudding box features a Hoegger designed head piece which provides you full control and a broad base for safely supporting your hand and securing the kid’s head during disbudding.
Rather than The Hubs latching onto the kids with his ‘death grip & stranglehold’ — which is probably more frightening to the kids than the actual act of disbudding…gasp! — we used a disbudding box. The “disbudding box” is essential for keeping the kids relatively still and CALM during the process! Here’s an easy to build plan from ‘Better Hens and Gardens’ for one (the picture below shows the finished box with their goat, Ruby, inside serving as a model).
You can build your own with their ‘free’ kid disbudding box plans!
After all, we want happy goats!!!