Horn searing


My friend A emailed me regarding my goats the other day:
“How do you deal with the fact of their unbelievable cuteness? I can barely stand to look at the photos. So soft! So sweet! AAARRGHH!
It’s tough, but somehow I’ve been coping.
Yesterday was a horrible, sad day. But it was a necessary thing. I put a cage in the backseat of our truck, lined it with straw, then stole Bebe’s babies away for a few hours. I drove to Cotati–about an hour north of Oakland–while the babies slept in back. At the animal hospital, Dr. Dotti, a large animal vet was scrubbing up after delivering a calf. It was all very James Herriott. The calf lived, there was blood everywhere and a happy mama cow chewed her cud as if this was all just another day. A woman chatted with me about her horse’s dental work, and when I told her why I was there–to get the goats horns disbudded–she said, oh that’s no big deal! Then why was I sweating, and feeling awful?
I tucked a goat under each arm and Dr. Dotti’s assistant showed me where to take them and shaved their heads. The horn buds were very small, just starting to mound up. He said two weeks is the perfect timing for disbudding. Dr. Dotti warmed up the disbudding iron (looked like an evil curling iron), and we chatted about how amazing it is that the Nigerian Dwarf goats are considered a dairy breed now, about Bebe, the birth, and the necessity of disbudding. It’s really best for the goats–and my neighbors–because the horns will get caught up in fences, gouge my other animals, and worst of all–might gouge out the eye of one of the many neighborhood kids who come by to play with the goats. So, it was with grim determination that I took Orla and Georgina in.

Poor little boobers, they screamed like kittens when he touched their little horn buds with the iron. Dr. Dotti did a great job, moving back and forth, letting them get a break. In all it took about 5 minutes for each of them. My heart was beating as fast as theirs once it was all over. When he was done he sprayed the seared part with antibacterial ointment. Within minutes, they were frisking around in the back of the truck like nothing happened. Luckily, they don’t have mirrors. And when I returned them to a grateful Bebe, she acted like she didn’t notice. Typical mom.

9 responses to “Horn searing

  1. C(h)ristine

    they are such troopers!

  2. Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the GPS, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://gps-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug.

  3. Would love to see your farm. I’m in Oakland (Lake Merritt). Let me know how to get in touch. -Chris

  4. So the baby goats – CUTE KIDS – are you gonna, you know? Eat them?

  5. Novella Carpenter

    chris: i’ll probably start doing a monthly tour of the farm–will keep you posted.
    yatima: hell no, these are valuable milkers! males are generally eaten or sold as pets, though. i was lucky bebe had two girls.

  6. By coincidence I was just in Healdsburg at a friend’s goat farm – they make French-style artisan cheese. They have their goats put under general anesthesia to have them debudded. I think it will be 57 kids this spring…

  7. Much as I love goat meat, I have to say yay! Be milky, babies!

  8. abdul rahim

    well, it seems like a waste not to eat them. halal goats are tasty.

  9. Novella Carpenter

    abdul: i agree. and goat meat is all the rage in foodie circles these days. i’m hoping we’ll get at least one male when we breed bebe and orla next year.

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