This has been a topic of interest of mine since I first saw the study. I have always hated the idea of disbudding my goat kids (burning the horn buds so no horns will grow) and contemplated even doing it at all. But after a lot of reading, it seems to be the general consensus that it is a must for dairy goats. It keeps them from getting stuck in fences, hurting you as you are working in close quarters, and hurting their herd mates that are hornless. I am trying to add a polled (naturally hornless) buck to my herd so I can at least have some kids I don't have to worry about this with, but I'm still on a waiting list.
So when I saw this study I was very intruiged. They made it sound like there was very little if any pain and it worked great. I started a facebook group to find other goat owners that were interested and/or attempting this technique so we could all learn from each other. I had to good fortunte to have someone that knew a vet that was trying this technique to learn more about it, and she was local! I brought Jupiter to her today and she did the injections. I'm going to use this post as a way to keep track of the procedure and progress. So check back for updates!
01Mar2016 - Injection day (Day 1)
Goat - Jupiter, doeling, mini mancha, age 7 days, 10.5lb
Horn buds - 14x14mm
Clove oil - Sigma food grade
Amount - 0.075ml
Syringe - 20g
Location of injection - roughly 11:00 based on 12:00 being the center back, under horn bud, middle of bud
Reaction - goat yelled when vet held her head, before injection even made. The yelling continued throughout injection but stopped immediately after.
Notes - Vet held needle in skin for a second before injecting a small amount, paused, injected another small amount, paused again, etc until the full amount had been injected. On Jupiter's left side, a little oil may have been lost due to her head turning before the injection was complete. Immediately upon completion Jupiter acted like nothing had happened. Upon returning home Jupiter was acting like her usual self, bouncing around then plopping down exhausted. Mom had no trouble with the smell of clove oil and accepted Jupiter immediately.
Immediately after second injection
02Mar2016 - Day 2
No apparent pain. Running and playing as usual. Very social with humans, including new visitors today, and the other goats. No change in appearance. She is very hard to get a picture of when she's excited to see you!
03Mar2016 - Day 3
No change. Still no visible swelling. Horn buds look slightly drier. No changes in behavior.
Was able to get one picture.
04Mar2016 - Day 4
Same as day 3. Slightly drier looking buds. No signs of pain. No pictures
05Mar2016 - Day 5
06Mar2016 - Day 6
Measured horn buds. 11mm, dry looking. Hair is growing back.
07Mar2016 - Day 7
08Mar2016 - Day 8
Still looking dry.
09Mar2016 - Day 9
Buds look significantly drier. Goat's left bud seems like a little more growth is happening. Right bud has no growth and is very dry.
3/14/16 - Day 14
I got a closer inspection today and the left side definitely has a small horn bud. I started rubbing a drop of clove oil on the bud today. A lady in the Clove Oil group on Facebook says she has had luck just rubbing clove oil in every other day, so I'm hoping to arrest the development. It will be a good comparison between rubbing and injecting. Not ideal, but still will be interesting.
3/15/16 - Day 15
Definitely a little bit of horn growing on the side that had oil leak out (left). I was able to get a few pics but you can't really see the horn too well. You can see how dry and scaly it looks though. This is normal. Left pictured on left, right on right.
3/20/16 - Day 20
Her left bud definitely started growing a horn. I started putting oil on it every other day and today the little bud fell off. I'll keep an eye and see if either side continues to grow.
Day 46 - 4/15/2016
After that small horn fell off it scabbed over and looked ok for awhile. Then a small scur started growing out from under the hair line towards the midline of her head. I have continued putting oil on it, though admittedly not as regularly as I should have due to a blizzard we had. So there is now a small scur there. The area was very dry and flaky yesterday and seems to possibly have broken the tip off the horn. The last 2 weeks I have been putting 2-3 drops of oil on each side every day.
This first pic was taken 5 days ago. The scur in the back is the one in question. You can also see a very small something in the front. This feels lumpy but nothing has grown so far. The pic makes it look larger than in person.
This pic was taken 1 day ago. You can see the horn itself doesn't look as nice. The top looks broken off and the edges aren't as well defined.