As you know, we have a new baby goat here on the ranch. By default….and because I’ve become attached to this precious thing, her name has become – Cuddles! Pathetic I know….but true nonetheless!
Goats naturally grow horns…but for the safety of the other ranch animals…as well as those that work with the goats, it is customary to “debud” the babies sometime between a few days old and three weeks old. Well, yesterday, the time came for “Cuddles” to be debudded. We did our research and found another goat person in our area that has about 55-60 goats and has alot of experience. From talking with them, we found out that the United States is the only “civilized” country that does not require the goat to be sedated for this procedure.
Before you think…..”what’s the big deal”….let me explain the procedure. To debud the goat…they literally take a hot and I mean BRANDING hot iron/tool and burn the place where the horns are starting to appear….right down to the roots. Because there are nerves there…….the goat definitely feels pain. I had tried to do research and had even watched videos of the procedure trying to “cowboy up” for it…but couldn’t stomach the thought of doing it the way that it appeared most people did this procedure. Fortunately, we ran across this local guy…and he told us that he used a local vet to sedate the baby and then injected numbing medicine into the horn areas….and then, and ONLY then, did he do the procedure.
SO, being the wimp that I am…..I helped J load up the baby goat and drove to the baseball field where John, at the end of practice, took J and the goat up to the vet and the “goat man”. J said it was really funny….the baby was standing when they gave her the injection and almost immediately just fell over asleep…..the next thing Cuddles remembers is waking up on a rug in our sunroom and she doesn’t remember anything else. She woke up about an hour after the procedure….starting bleating……stood up and started looking for her mom, Tallulah. J took her back out to the barn…..where she nursed and acted as if nothing had ever happened.
The remnants of the horns will fall off over the next two weeks and that will be the end of this rather distressing part of raising goats! Again, I’m SO glad we found someone that did the procedure this way and so humanely. I’m NOT an animal rights activists….but I’m not a sadist either…and this just felt like the better way to handle it. : )
So, that’s today’s learning experience for this “beginning rancher’s wife.”