My billy goat has been disbudded as a kid but now has a badly misshapen horn growth. Can I have it removed again?

Anke Sieker says: Adult goats cannot be de-horned. Goat kids are disbudded when they are about a week old, the operation can carried out up to one month of age. Sometimes the area burned off by the vet is not large enough and in males in particular some horn re-growth is common. The ‘scurs’, as they are referred to, can grow in the most impossible shape, curling back into or even coming down towards the front of the head. The scurs are often loose and brittle, so (play) fighting, butting hurdles or similar messing about can cause them to break off. This can lead to quite substantial bleeding, but usually it looks more alarming than it actually is. Some wound powder, or the more old-fashioned cornflour, will quickly stop the bleeding. If this occurs in warm weather it is advisable to either spray the area with plaster tar or keep the animal inside until the danger from flies is past.

If the horn growth is more solid, then a careful cutting with (cheese)wire will reduce its size. This procedure will need at least two people and the goat must be securely restrained. Most vets will be able to help, or a neighbouring cattle farmer may also be quite experienced in this type of horn cutting. Any sharp edges can be filed off.

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