While we are pretty proficient in all things farming, there are always firsts. I’ve been gardening for a couple of decades, but a lot of firsts happened when we started adding livestock. Mind you, none of it is hard, but if you are a perfectionist like me, failure is never an option. From chickens, to pigs, to broiler birds, to rescuing donkeys, to raising turkeys, each has had its unique set of variables and challenges. As we believe in raising our animals humanely, the last thing we want to see is any of them suffering.
So it is with our goats. They require a certain amount of care that the other critters don’t. Right now our poor bucks are turning themselves inside out because of their fall rut. They stop eating, lose weight, pee all over themselves, stink to high heaven, and when Tank got to breed Cumin this past Sunday, Dozer practically came through a chain link fence because he wasn’t included. I guess I was like that in High School too. Who can blame him? Pretty sure Cumin is a hottie in goat terms.
Baby goats needed to be dis-budded (horns removed). Horns are dangerous and as the rest of our flock had them removed, so too must the new little kids. I must have fretted over this for several days (and nights). Conceptually I knew how, and I’ve been around cattle that were dehorned and neutered as well, but the tool today was in MY hand, and failure was not an option. God forbid I burn them badly and have to report that to my female task mistress.
Suffice it to say that the worry ended up being worse than the actual task. Yes, it’s a painful ordeal for the little babies, but within 15 minutes they were back with momma and hopping around.
Now this procedure isn’t something I took pictures of. The horns get burned off and the gizmo one uses is about 1000 degrees (not conducive to photography). Our farm helper was out here too and the last thing I wanted to do was brand her hand with a goat dis-budder.
If you are interested in real farm tasks watch the video below. This woman is using the exact equipment we have. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how things went. Time will tell if any of the horns grow back; Yet one more skill tucked into the quiver. Next up…… castration. Joy.
On a happier note, we start milking momma Ginger on Thursday.
This video is a little unsettling. I don’t really care if you pass out watching it, just realize that this is farming.
Oh, there are many things I miss about the past in my career, but after going to school with others who raised livestock, I am pleased to be a horticulturist.