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Goat horns

Hello everyone.
I wonder if anyome can help with some advice please?
3 of my goats (Boer & Nubian) were debudded at the vet the day after birth, they're now 5 months old and the horns have grown back a bit.  They don't look like horns, more like long finger nails, quite flat & uneven.
Can I safely trim these back, and if so, how far, and are hoof clippers suitable?
My thanks in advance,

no no cannot trim horns at all !!!!!!!......... they have to be surgically removed under anaesthetic, or burned off as a kid.

why are you worried about them being there?

I think that these maybe what are known as burrs. You get them occasionally when the debudding hasn't been done properly.

I hesitate to disagree with mogs, but the living bit in an animals horn is whats inside it. If these bits are just like toe nails growing from the side of where a horn should be, then it may be possible to trim them off but to be on the safe side,it might be best to have the vet check them out.

Thanks Mogs,
The 2 kids were burned off, and the older one had them surgically removed (big mistake - never to be repeated), all by vets, yet our other goats that were done at birth by the breeder at home have no regrowth.

The spindly little bits that are growing back are curling backwards towards the skull - too soft to even cause discomfort at the moment I think, just thought it may be better to tackle it now before they get any more solid.

For myself I'd rather have the animal with complete natural horns, makes them much easier to handle, but these belong to Mum in Law, so I do as I'm told...  She jokingly says that if we don't she'll put a hex on us.  Mogs - is this possible??

Thanks Bodger,
I am hoping this is the case - try to avoid the vet whenever possible.
We were given 2 beautiful 1 year old Nubians with full horns, they were splendid animals, and because the other goats were hornless decided to have the vet remove the horns.  The result was quite awful - the cavity in the horn appears to go all the way through to the nasal passage, the poor animals were not happy for a while.  After about 2 weeks one died of tetanus.  I was away on business so the vet got called out on a Sunday to put it down - another £120.00 plus the £160 for the original job.  Isn't there a saying that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch"?


if they are growing back into the head then the only thing you can do is use cheesewire to trim a very very small amount off the end, when they are harder. sometimes they will become loose by themselves and drop off.
put the cheeswire under the horn and saw upwards, away from the goat.....quite smelly and definately uncomfortable for the goat......

there are blood vessels in the horn, that is why they will bleed if there is an injury to them from fighting etc. and it is painful for the goat.

make sure, if you do take off a fraction from the end, that you have some bleed stop handy......but my advice is leave them alone for now, they might loosen up by themselves...several of mine did, and they just drop off.

i much prefer a goat to have horns myself, that's what nature intended them to have, unless ofcourse they are naturally polled goats.

but do as the MIL says.....dont risk her wrath.....................  

Dehorned or naturally polled animals are the way to go. The horns are at the best, a nuisance with goats when they are idoors and at their worst dangerous.

see, people say that horns on goats are a problem............i have never found them to be at all...........even when there was 60 goats here, some horned some polled, they were no prob with each other or with humans.
i had just one prob with one of the kids, she would quite often get her head stuck in the stock fencing, but she soon learned that she must not put her head thru.

goats know they have them, we know they have them, and unless you have a goat that is out of hand, and been raised not to respect humans, they are just part of the goat.......... a goat can deliver a nasty blow even without horns.!

a dog can bite,
a horse will kick and bite.....

all animals can be dangerous if the animal is not taught correctly how to respect humans and other animals.

but occasionally there are probs with horns growing back, or should i say the stumps.......not a prob to us, but can be a prob to the goat. then you need to take action as i said in the prev post, very very carefully.

Thank you both.  Will approach with caution.

Sounds like your vet is not experianced with de budding goats. They are much harder to do than calfs.

As they are burrs or scours & not proper horns I would be very surprised if these have much of a blood supply in them. Trim them little & often till you get them to a size thats comfortable for you & the goat. If you trim them little by little you will find the point that they have a small blood supply rather than cutting of loads in one go. You could have the vet remove them but its a major job & the goat will need lots of after care.

Hi Justme,
Thanks for your help.  You're right, our vets often say they'll look it up in a book when we mention goats, doesn't inspire much confidence.
As you say, there isn't enough space in the burrs for there to be much of a blood supply, so I'll do as you suggest.
Have a good weekend,

By the sounds of it what your have are scurs, not horns as such.

Hi some info here

[b]What are scurs?

   Scurs are a partial horn growth. They are not full horns, but some of the horn bud was left, and this grows some horn. The scur is usually "loose" (but no always); not as solidly attached as a "real" horn. Scurs can range from being quite small, to being quite long. They may curl around like a wood shaving or grow straight out.  All scurs are different just like all goats are different. Some can be "worse" than others. Some grow a lot, some just a little. Some are thin and some are thick.  Some break off on occasion, some do not. Some need to be trimmed, some do not.  

   Bucks very often get scurs because they have so much testosterone that even if you are sure you got a good solid copper ring early enough, they manage to grow some horn (a scur). These buck scurs can get really bad, and you have to watch that they don't curl around and grow into the goat's scull. It this case, the scurs must be trimmed.

   Trimming scurs: (We use a "wire saw" , also called an "OB saw", "Gigli saw" or Bone cutting saw ). You really only need to trim scurs if they start to curl around and start to grow into the goat's head.  The reason you trim them is so they do not cause damage to the goat. Trim no more than one inch at a time, or you risk cause a lot of bleeding. Put the goat up in your milk stand (click here for free plans to build your own) to make this task doable, because they do not like it at all.

   NEW = Scur trimming photos & description Photo Album - a must see

   When bucks fight, they sometimes break off their scurs and may bleed profusely. In this case, clean the buck off as best you can and keep in mind that it looks much worst than it is.[/b]

I had a wether that got into a tussel and had one curling scur ripped off, there was the tiniest bit of blood, the whole scur came off and left a little stumpy bit behind.

I wouldn't do it yourself, get a professional to do it.

I like Mogs don't see what the problem with horns is, I have Boers and they all have their horns,even my big brute of a buck. I find them a very useful as handlebars to hold when treating goats or trimming feet.

You hear all these horror stories about goats horns but I've yet to meet any goat owner that's had a problem, if a goat uses them against you then ya ain't trained 'em right!

Here's a link to the site I got the above info from

Oh one other thing, I may keep the goats horns on, but NEVER keep a cows on! Now that is dangerous!

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