Take our experience over the past 8 weeks. Let's start with the 'buck tip'. The tip for the Rhinehart 50X especially designed for bucks. The very same tip that is supposed to prevent problems with de-budding bucklings. A great way to avoid scurs on bucks.............
BUT...........yes there is always a but isn't there?
The buck tip is too large for our Kinder bucks, especially when you consider Kinder bucks need to be de-budded at 5-7 days of age.
Why do we bring this up? Because we have that 'learning the hard way' about us. We hope by sharing, even our mistakes, we will help you avoid them as well as those amazing kid critters we all love so much.
Seeing those adorable, OH SO SMALL, heads and picturing a 1000 degree hot iron just made it so very difficult to become motivated. Daily feeling their heads, saying "Not through the skin yet." So when faced with 8 kid critters to do this year, we have to confess - we procrastinated. Waiting until 8-11 days on the bucks and 18-21 days for the doelings. Oh, how we kick ourselves! We know we need to do it at the right time, the 'been there, done that' makes us even more frustrated with ourselves.
So, knowing that, we should not have been surprised when we had to...........what?
Re-do the de-budding of course.
We also know that the older they are, the more uncomfortable the de-budding is for the kids, as well as taking longer to heal. How do we know this? Personal experience, research. We find personally that de-budding again on older kids is harder on them, period.
Shaking their heads more, constantly trying to scratch, those little 'OUCH I HIT MY HEAD' cries, taking longer to heal, etc. Research has shown that their pain response increases with age. Not just for de-budding, but for castration as well. Knowing all this, yet we waited.
While kicking ourselves in the butt as hard as we can, we call our vet to schedule a time that he can come and sedate our kids to re-do what should have been done correctly the first time. We take responsibility for our procrastination, as we continue to berate
ourselves for it.
How do you know if you have to de-bud again?
And when do you have to re-do a de-budding?
Those really are trick questions you know and we say it depends. Not the remark you wanted was it? But it does depend. We have found that even with experience in the 'what not to do' department, there are still times when we aren't sure until the horn does indeed start to grow. Often times there are tell tale signs that it may need to be re-done. When the burn scab seems to be ever so higher than a few days before or when the scab comes off and you see the boney nub growing underneath. When a nub just doesn't seem to heal right, or when a kids head butting behavior is more than 'their' normal - constantly rubbing their heads on any object they can find. Each time something different led us to know that is was indeed time to do it again. No one time has it been the same thing with each kid.
We have had horn growth appear as quick as 3 days and as long after a de-budding as a couple of months. We have had the beautiful copper ring and the horn bud 'pop off' just perfectly and still had to re-do on one kid or another, with a vet as our witness!
Again, not necessarily what you wanted to hear was it?
Our point is this, no matter how hard it is to do, or how reluctant you may be, the best time to de-bud is at 5-7 days for bucks and the first 5-12 days for does. It isn't easy choosing to de-bud them that young, believe us, we know. The Procrastination Crew ourselves this year. But to be the best job with the least amount of stress to those adorable bundles of jumps and bleats is to do them when it will be most effective, which is as soon as possible.
But we had the copper ring! Honest! So have we, and the little cap popped off so nicely into our hands, yet re-doing de-budding was necessary. A damaged horn bud is far more dangerous for them then having horns or not having horns.
Even when all is perfect, and you did everything right, there still may come a time when you will need to re-do it. Understand that this may not be as uncommon as you think. We hate having to do the deed, let alone doing it twice or more! (UPDATE: we no longer have a vet come out for redo's) We will confess also that we never re-do a de-budding without the vet being present and providing a light sedation. Kid goats do not handle a strong sedation well at all and we would never do that without the vet being present to use a 'reversal drug' just in case. A sedation too strong can give you the 'floppy neck' kid that will lay on their side and not their stomach. That can also affect their breathing and be more risky to the kid then the actual de-budding. Again, not necessarily what you wanted to hear is it?
So, we'll just use the iron longer next time! We have had the copper ring at 3 seconds, at 5 seconds, and still needed to re-do a de-budding. So using the iron over 5 seconds or more than twice on each side is NOT an option. Follow the manufacturers' warning on this. Honestly, we risk much as it is de-budding our broad, we know what a hot iron held to long on a kid will do. Their skulls are still developing! With the Rhinehart 50X, never do more than 5 seconds at a time, do both sided twice, we've even done it three times each side. Remember our Kitchi? Kitchi means 'brave' BTW. What better name for our little trooper after the vets cruel de-budding! The fact that he still loves humans so very much, says a lot about our white, black browed wonderful wether.
De-budding will continue to be a hot topic on every goat list there is. For many it will continue to be a strongly discussed issue with emotions running high. If nothing else, take this from our good
and bad decisions..........
All you can do is the best you can. Be as compassionate and caring of the animals in your care as you can. And even if you have to re-do a de-budding, it can be done, however reluctantly it may be, up to four months of age. Use common sense, accept responsibility for your part in it, and acknowledge that all is not perfect - nor are we.
Finally, remember that you are human. Learn from your mistakes. Believe us when we say, 'been there, did that', even as we cringe ever so slightly. Those wonderful kid bundles still love us, regardless of de-budding or castration and because we adore them................LESSON LEARNED!
We won't procrastinate again!
Cherish the gifts you have been given........