Blood, Sweat and Tears

Last summer I missed the narrow window to paste horn buds so in the fall I tried banding horns. Unfortunately, I didn’t band low enough on every goat, and as the horn grew the band ended up closer to the tip so I only lost tips on some horns. On other horns the bands broke and I didn’t replace them so the horns remained.

Here is Thyme, one of last summer’s kids, with one horn that lost the tip and the other horn intact.

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This photo was taken June 28 of this year right after I rebanded her.

In the past few days I noticed that one horn was getting loose. It it important when banding not to pull on or try to remove a horn but to let it fall off on its own so I took special care when putting her on the milk stand not to bump her horns on the head gate.

This morning though, she stuck her head through the fence near a corner and then through the second cattle panel. There is no way to dislodge a stuck goat without handling the horns and I started with the “non-loose” horn. I had just put my hand on the horn when I heard a loud crack and the horn came off in my hand. Since it didn’t fall off on its own, the blood supply was still active. Luckily I didn’t get an arterial spurt as much as just a welling up of blood. This, of course, freaked out Thyme and she pulled back. Since she was still stuck in the fence, all she did was hit her other horn which also popped off. Thyme was able to pull out of the fence then – no pesky horns – and I had to go catch her to see how bad the bleeding was and treat it.

Here she is with blood running down her face.

Resized_20160816_092732 (2) Thyme wo horns

And here are both the horns – detached at the base very neatly.

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I’ve gone ahead and purchased a disbudding iron but since the first one came damaged, I have three kids that I’ll need to band in a few weeks. I had rebanded Chai at the same time so expect her horns to fall off in the next week or two. Garfunkel, who I banded after the paste didn’t work, lost one horn a couple of weeks ago and broke the other band so I’ll reband him when I do the other kids. Banding is a slower process but does work if you are able to replace any broken bands and make sure you get the bands placed properly to start off.



  1. Normally the horns will just fall off after the bands have cut off the blood supply and there should be minimal pain involved. The whole process can take anywhere from a month up to four months, depending on horn size and time of year. In this case, since the horns were not quite ready to come off on their own but were traumatically removed, I suspect the pain was higher. She is fine though. The bleeding has stopped and she is eating and drinking well, and not showing signs of distress. Getting stuck in fences is one of the main reasons I don’t like horned goats – this was just unfortunate timing.

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