Darcy, to de-horn or not to de-horn?

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Darcy is getting worse every day, as soon as she get out into the field in the morning she has her head out through the wire and is stuck there until someone gets her out. The problem is as soon as you take her out she is back in again. And while she is in there she screams continually for the whole day.

The only solution going forward is to have her horns removed, and for an adult goat this is quite a big painful task. She should have been dis-budded when she was a few weeks out and it would have been done permanently but when we got her at 6 months she already had horns.

The options are to wait until the vet comes to do the cattle TB tests in December or do it ourselves. The vet will just saw them off or cut them off with a large tree loppers. I've been advised from goat owners that if I take this route she will never be the same again, the shock will scar her indefinitely.

The other option I came across was to use castration bands to remove them. According to a website I found, horns on older goats can be removed using this method and causing as little stress as possible to the goat. It involves tightening some copper wire around the base of the horn and placing 2 castration bands below this, the wire helps to stop the bands sliding up and off the horn. They say most horns fall off in around 5 weeks. Its a great article http://www.littlecudchewers.com/Dehorning%20Older%20Goats.htm

So this evening after milking I decided to get Donovan and Fabio to help out in de-horning my first adult goat. We started off by shaving the hair from around the base of the horns, trying to get as low to the skull as possible.

After shaving off the hair I placed a band of copper wire around each horn. I used a pliers to tighten it and Darcy really let us know her discomfort with lots of loud bahhhhh's. After the wire was secured in place we managed to get on two castration bands on each horn.

I put some tape around each horn to help keep them in place. She sounded like she was in a lot of pain so I gave her some aspirin and this should help with the pain. She may need some more in the morning. I think I'll leave her in the stables for the next few weeks until the horns fall off as removing her head from the fence is hard enough and with the bands on it will be even harder. This will also be a good opportunity to wean Archie from her as he no longer need to suckle.

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