The decision to disbud goats varies among goat owners. Most goats will develop horns unless they are naturally polled.

Dairy goats are commonly disbudded. Horned and disbudded goats should not be kept together.

Disbudding needs to be done at the right time or scurs (small horns) will develop.

We apply an electric disbudding iron to the horn buds when the goat is very young. Bucks are normally disbudded at 3 days of age while does vary from 7 to 10 days of age just when the bud starts to erupt and can be easily felt.

Nerve endings are not fully developed before ten days of age and disbudding at that time causes less pain to the goat.

To disbud, place the circular ring of the disbudding iron over the horn buds for 10 seconds while turning the iron (we use the small goat tip for Nigerians on the iron). Look for a copper-colored ring to appear. If a solid copper-colored ring is not visable around the bud, reburn for an additional 5 seconds turning the iron. Make sure the ring is solid with no breaks. If necessary, allow the head to cool and reburn an additional 5 seconds. Then to finish the job, lay the disbudding iron on its side and burn the bud that is inside of the copper ring with the side of the disbudding iron. This burning of the bud does not hurt the goat. Spray the burned area with an antiseptic.

Keep a check on the horn buds; and, if you see regrowth, disbud again. Disbudding boxes are available to hold the goat while they are being disbudded or smaller kids can be held in your lap.

Also, some owners use clippers to trim the hair around the bud to lessen the smell of hair burning and to be able to locate the horn bud easier.

Disbudding is not for the "faint of heart". Get an experienced goat owner to show you how to properly disbud or solicit the services of a veterinarian. Disbud your goat in the right time period to get a good smooth head. Do not use chemical pastes to disbud a goat -- they are dangerous, more painful and do not work!
Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, LLC
Farmstead Goat Dairy
3255 Buffalo Creek Farm Road
Germanton, NC 27019