The Goat Conference

Not for the Squeamish

Yes, Ron and I have some of the most exciting dates. Last weekend we tromped through 20 gardens at the Oregon Gardens and this weekend I drug brought Ron with me to the Goat Conference. I know. Romantic, huh?

It all started with this cutie. 1 week old goat kid. I’m sorry, I don’t know his name. All I can tell you was that he was sweet and at this point he had no idea what was about to happen to him. Poor guy. He didn’t realize that he was the demonstration on disbudding, which if you don’t know what that is, is burning rings into his little head around his horn buds. Fortunate for him, another older guy got to demonstrate castration. Sorry. I didn’t take a picture of that. I know…you’re disappointed.

So, why disbud the babes? In the dairy goat world horns are not acceptable. Those utters that give that precious milk are to be protected at all costs. I’ve heard that horns can be pretty dangerous to humans too. The good news is disbudding doesn’t hurt the kid too much. So I’ve been told. Their horns have not attached to their skull yet we learned. That’s why you do it when they are little guys, before real horns grow.

In this photo, the instructor has just finished shaving the hair around the little guy’s buds. This is to cut the smoke and the smell, apparently. A few minutes after the disbudding demo, they pulled out the unfortunate castration victim fellow. He was 5 weeks old and you couldn’t even tell he’d been shaved and burned on his cute little head. See, it’s fine. It’s just a little burning. And he only screams a little bit.

Okay, he looks like a cute little puppy. I had to snap a shot of his cuteness.

Here our instructor is showing the technique she uses when she is disbudding with no helper. Notice the ‘pee pad’ on her lap. She says the boys always pee on her when she’s doing this. This little guy was a real gentleman though. That pad stayed completely dry. I think he was enjoying this little snuggle until…

it started to feel a bit warm on his head. Yes, people, that is smoke you see.

I don’t know. She said this was easy. But it looks tricky to me. Hold the baby’s head down with one hand, turn the dehorning iron for 5 seconds with the other. And yes, the little fellow did cry out. Poor guy. You know what though? As soon as she let go of his head, he stopped. She said they probably don’t like their head being held more than the burning. Hmmm. Yes, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.

Whew! First bud done. Or so we thought. Unfortunately for the boys, they tend to have bigger buds than the girls. So they require 2 burnings per bud. Oh, boy.

Here’s what it looked like when the first burn was done. We were told that if after 5 seconds the ring is copper colored, you’ve done it. If it is white or black, you have to go at it again. Ugh!

“Not happy. I thought we were cuddling.”

This is our brave fellow with the two burn rings on the first bud. He really had stopped crying by this time. Oh, if you ever get a chance, ask Ron to do his “kid crying” imitation. He does it perfectly. It’s amazing how many animal imitations this man has added to his repertoire since moving to the farm.

Okay, you may want to turn away while this picture is showing. This is the of baby goat’s buds. I know, gross, huh? But this is a documentary. I had to document it.

He’s saying, “Um. Can we stop with the goat torture now?”

Sorry, buddy. On to bud #2.

Now we can stop ’cause you’re all done. Don’t worry, when your little hair grows back, you’ll be cute as button again. The ladies won’t think any less of you.

Notice he won’t look at the camera anymore.

This was the beginning of the tatooing demonstration, where they squish through the little guy’s ear with this pliers looking thingy with little metal spikes. The metal spikes have the initials of the farm or the number of the goat. This year is the year of B. So each left ear of the baby goats will have a B and then the number they happen to be on the tatooing assembly line. This is so you can keep track of your goats, and for pedigree stuff. Our girls were bred to an unregistered buck, so I’m not thinking tatooing is on our to do list this year.

Our second class was on Finding Parasites in goat poo. Yes, it’s true. We actually paid money to do this. The funny thing (well, not really ha, ha funny) is  I’ve  already done this at home, but I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right. And this was nice because I didn’t have to follow my goats around for any hour so I could ‘catch’ their poo. Someone had already done it for us.

Yep. Poor Ron! Another perfect date with your beautiful wife! How do you keep your hands off of her?

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About kathleen

I'm a stay at home chicken momma with 2 boys and a very understanding husband. In December of '09, we moved to our dream farm. I'm excited to try to become more self-sufficient. So far I have 1 rooster, 9 chickens, 2 goats (some babies on their way this spring), 1 llama, a dog, and a cat. Come along and join us, as we city-slickers figure out how to make our own homestead. You're sure to be entertained.
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4 Responses to The Goat Conference

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m so sad for that cute little guy. That must have been hard to watch. I understand the reason, but ouch!

  2. kathleen says:

    Last year when I saw this done, I was amazed at the kid. As soon as they put him on the ground, he was jumping and frolicking with the other baby goats like nothing had happen. The owner of this particular goat said she can’t do it herself. She pays someone (the instructor actually) to come and do all of her baby goats. Hmmm. Not a bad idea.

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