Dehorning goats is widely debated among homesteaders.
Many like to keep their goats looking as natural as possible, while others find horns problematic.
All goats, including Nigerian Dwarf Goats, have little spats and fights as they enter maturity.
When they still have their horns, they injure themselves and others in the goat herd.
Whatever reason you choose to dehorn your goats, it helps to know the best size dehorner to get the job done.
Using the right size is an essential part of dehorning. The ½” inch dehorner is the best size for Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Larger dehorners are unnecessary and smaller sizes won’t get the job done. Dehorners also come in ⅜” and ¼” inch sizes, but these will not fully disbud Nigerian Dwarf kids.
There are many reasons to disbud or dehorn Nigerian Dwarf goats.
Doing it while young causes the least amount of pain and complications.
Let’s look more into why ½” inch is the best size dehorner for Nigerian dwarfs.
What Is The Best Size Dehorner For Nigerian Dwarf Goats?
Dehorning a goat is an easy process once you get its hang. It is best to do this to the baby goat because the horns tend to get too big to work with a dehorning iron.
Even though Nigerian Dwarf kid goats are smaller than standard breeds, you’ll still want to use a ½” inch dehorner.
This helps to get the horn off the kid’s head.
The right size dehorning hot iron will fit completely around the horn bud.
If it is too small, say ⅜” or ¼” inch, the goat disbudding iron won’t effectively burn the horn off.
This often leads to unnecessary pain.
De-budding goats is sometimes an unpleasant process as it does cause the kid goat a bit of pain.
Making sure you get it right the first time is essential.
Nigerian goats also feature on our list of quiet goat breeds.
What Are Dehorning And Disbudding?
Dehorning and disbudding are the processes of removing the horns on goats.
Hornless goats tend to cause fewer injuries to themselves and others as they age.
Having a herd of horn-free goats means you won’t have as many bloody fights or emergency vet visits.
The disbudder size places a vital role in the disbudding process as the wrong size will not get the job done.
Nigerian Dwarf goats and pygmy goats are considerably smaller than other goat breeds, but they still grow horns.
Some people opt not to dehorn or disbud their goats because they find it cruel.
While it may not be the most fun process, it is a great way to prohibit injuries further down the line.
Why Should You Dehorn Your Goats?
Dehorning your goats is ultimately a personal decision.
If you only have one or two goats on your homestead, the need to get rid of the horns may not be as warranted.
Goats like to headbutt and fight to establish dominance and hierarchy.
While this is part of owning a goat herd, the horns often cause serious injuries to both parties.
Some people dehorn their goats because they have children around.
While a headbutt from a goat is not fun, it hurts a lot less when they are hornless goats.
Whether or not to dehorn is ultimately left up to the individual goat owner.
If you have a large herd of goats, dehorning is a great way to prevent more injuries and pain.
If you do decide to dehorn goats, it’s best to do it when they are very young, and the buds are just starting to grow.
This makes the process much less painful.
Adult goats also have more fully formed horns which are considerably more difficult to remove.
There usually isn’t a big enough disbudder size to fully burn off the horn in these cases.
Bigger horns also have a more lengthy healing time.
How To Dehorn Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Once you’ve decided to dehorn your goats, you’ll need to gather the materials to get the job done.
Here is what you will need to successfully dehorn your goats:
- A quality dehorner, the Portasol is a popular and effective option for goat owners looking to dehorn at home.
- A goat disbudding holding box; this keeps the goat still while you burn the buds and remove the horns.
- Heavy-duty gloves capable of withstanding high heat.
- Hair clippers to remove fur around the budding horns.
Once you have all your materials together, it’s time to start.
Remove Hair Around Budding Horns
The first thing you’ll need to do is use hair clippers to remove the fur around the bud.
This will prohibit any unnecessary burning.
Place Goat Kid In Holding Box
You’ll need a helper to hold the baby goat in the holding box.
Ideally, you want to conduct the dehorning process in the first two weeks of their life to keep it as easy for you and the goat as possible.
The holding box will keep the goat stable while you remove the horns.
Place Hot Iron On Bud
Take your pre-heating hot iron and place it around the horn bud.
Rotate the iron for 3-4 seconds for females or 5 seconds for males.
Make sure to allow the iron to heat up for about 10 minutes or so before this step.
Use A Utility Knife To Remove Horn
Use a knife to cut the horn off.
The iron should make this very easy.
Repeat On Other Side
Conduct this same process on the other budding horn.
Cauterize The Cut
Use the hot horn to cauterize the cut.
Usually, there is no bleeding but do not be alarmed if there is some blood.
Allow Heal Time
Let the cut cool off for a day or so.
Make sure to watch for any signs of infection.
Some people treat the area with a salve or ointment to help heal.