Thursday, September 13, 2007


Well it's all done. The babies have been dehorned
It was truly revolting so don't read on if you're easily upset.
I know that I certainly feel ill.
The horns had to come off. Dairy does can inflict really nasty injuries on each other if they retain their protuberances.
They get cauterised ... with red hot irons heated in the wood heater.
Can you imagine the smell?
Well, whatever you are imagining it was worse... and the noise. The vet warned me that the babies would bawl at the pain. Did I want to go hide at the other end of the house? Yes I did but no I didn't do it.
My stomach was as clenched as it used to be when one of the children needed a blood test or something else nastily invasive.
They stopped crying almost immediately and their poor concerned mummy has been reuninited with them - she checked them over minutely - but I still feel queasy and of course the burn smell is going to linger for a while.
Anyway I'm just heating them up a bottle for some comfort snuzzling.
There won't be any photos. Trust me, you don't want to see them.


crazyhaberdasher said...

Oh dear! I am really feel for them and for you....what a thing to go through for the babies and yourself. Will it take long to heal?

catsmum said...

I have no idea, but all the books/local goat experts agreed that it had to be done at 3,5, or no more than 7 days - depending on who you were talking to. This was the only day the vet could fit it in before next Tuesday which would be 8 days... and it's that whole maternal 'hating to see something small and vulnerable in pain' thing. The evt had a yr 9 work experience kid in tow and I thought she was going to start crying at one stage.

catsmum said...

and of course that typo should've read VET

Bells said...

oh how awful. For good, I'm sure, but awful all the same. Give them lots of love.

Alice said...

Oh dear, you were such a brave 'mummy' to stay and see your 'babies' through their ordeal.

Not sure if I should tell you this or not - but of course I will !!!

I hope times have changed but many years ago (back when I worked on the farm) our cows would be dehorned after they calved the first time, usually several cows would be done together. They were bailed up in the cattle crush and the horns were cut off close to the head by a vicious looking tool with long handles for leverage.

It was horrible to see the animals with blood running down their faces. Most of them stopped bleeding fairly quickly and the wounds healed in a few days.

I was glad when we changed to dehorning the young calves instead. From memory the surface of the horn bud was gently rubbed with sandpaper and a couple of flakes of caustic soda placed on the abrasion, which destroyed the nerve centre of the horn. That may sound revolting too but it only stung for a little while - I know this because I often had caustic soda burns on my hands when I became a bit careless in my everyday work.

Susan - please feel free to delete this comment if you feel it will upset readers, or even yourself.

The One and Only Nadie said...

How are my girls doing now? Glad I missed that bit.

Everyone at work thinks they're gorgeous (as they should). Its my week for cute animal babies, at the end of my shift I got to snuggle with a 5 week old wallaby who is currently attending night shifts with his carer. He's just old enough to have started venturing out of his 'pouch', very cute!

Jejune said...

Poor little things - I'm glad they recovered quickly - probably more quickly than you did! It's hard being a mum, no matter what species the baby.

Robbyn said...

I'm glad you stayed with the kids. I would have found it upsetting too, but I kind of think that's the deal you make when you take them on - animals, that is. I always feel like I owe it to them.

TinkingBell said...

Bravery all around (I thought they painted stuff on the horn - but maybe it's the caustic soda thing) - Awful to say, but maybe better that than the potential injuries!

The One and Only Nadie said...

Much better than the damage they could cause, especially if they take after Rosie in size, given that Robbyn (other resident goat) is a much smaller breed.

I wonder why they don't do the caustic soda thing with goats? Maybe it depends on the vet.

catsmum said...

Nope. All the books/websites/vets/knowledgeable goat people all say hot irons. Goats horns are dufferent than cows I guess.