One of the perils of working with goats can be dealing with their sharp horns. The horns not only make goats difficult to work with, but they can also injure other goats. Another difficulty working around horned goats is that the goats tend to get their heads caught in fences and feeders.
However, disbudding can remove those horns when it is performed at a very young age. Disbudding is the process of removing the horns when they are mere buds erupting from the young kid's skull. Disbudding should be done when kids are very young, usually between one and two weeks of age.
The first step in disbudding is to numb the region around the horn buds using an anesthetic. This will make disbudding a painless procedure.
Place the kid in a box such as this one to properly restrain the goat during the disbudding procedure. The box will keep the goat the body of the goat still and the lip on the end of the box allows the person performing the disbudding to restrain the kid's head.
Use the smallest tip on an electric or gas dehorner for proper dehorning. This will remove the horns and cauterize the buds to prevent any blood loss. Never use a cup dehorning tool. This tool can crush the skull on a young kid.
Carefully press the electric dehorner onto the buds for up to 20 seconds. Twist the dehorning tool to cut through the skin to the skull. This will prevent any regrowth of the horns.
Wait a few seconds after removing the dehorner and then remove the horn buds. Allow the kids a few days to heal before working with the kids and/or their mothers.
While dehorning is not the most pleasant process for goat producers, it produces kids who are much safer to work around and who are less likely to find themselves caught in fences or feeders. They are also less likely to injure other animals.