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Friday, April 18, 2008

it begins . . .

It's time to start disbudding. Here's how it goes: Imagine someone took a thumb-sized cylinder of copper and heated it in the very flames of Mordor, then attached it to the handle of Zeus's curling iron. That's called a disbudding iron.

We have to kill and cauterize all the horn-growing cells in the goat's head, otherwise it will get horns like Tilde has, because I did such a crap job of disbudding last year. But in my defense, it's one of the most horrible things I've ever had to do to a living creature. Aside from the deer that I smooshed in December.

John is the kid restrainer, and I have to do the burning. I take the iron and place it with the horn bud in the center of the 800* cylinder, and rock it all around until there is a nice copper-colored ring around the horn. Sounds easy, right? Not so, for behold:
See how the ring around his horn is NOT copper colored? I don't know what the deal is, but every time I think I've gone down to the skull, and every time it turns out I didn't do it long enough. Keep in mind that all this time the kid is SCREAMING and trying like the dickens to get away, and both John and I are trying to keep from being burned on the iron. Sucks. I hate it so much. We did Traci's baby tonight, and afterward he took his little* foot and scratched off the little* horn bud in the center and started bleeding. He was making sad little* noises, and I'm pretty sure I've ruined him.

*Edited to add: You can tell I was freaked out because I used the same adjective three times in those last two sentences. I will compose myself.

8 comments:

THE WILKER CLAN said...

guess i'm old fashioned i like de-horning animals so the next time one grows its horns out... bust it off just like i know you can Laynie WW

All8 said...

Definitely one of my least favorite things to do too. Green cheerios next?

I have a link on my blog that you have to check out.

highdeekay said...

ok, so here I am showing my ignorance for all to read. Why can't you let them grow horns? Will they fight with them? Go ahead and say "duh" or whatever. I can take it!

Layne said...

No green cheerios for us--I will post about that fun process in a few weeks!

Layne said...

Also I read that post--seriously, this is what I'm talking about. Why can't people just not be greedy resource pigs in the first place?

Bamamoma--we don't let them grow horns because it's dangerous to us and them. Pack goats and meat goats usually have them left on, but not dairy goats.

Nate, Claire & Norah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate, Claire & Norah said...

Does it hurt them or is it like trimming your fingernails?

highdeekay said...

Thanks, that was a very kind "duh." :)