Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Horns or No Horns That is the Question

I was asked why some goats have horns and others don't. As you all can see from my head shots I do not have horns while all of the other goats on the Happy Goats Farm do. I will now take the time to explain this to you. When a goat is just a kid the goat farm owner decides whether they are going to have a horned goat farm or a hornless goat farm. There are various reasons for each choice. My former owners obviously were of the hornless decision. It is not a happy memory to lose ones horns but there are very good reasons for doing it. As you can see from the photos that have been shown in my blog Michael and Luke like to butt each other. Buck horns are particularly thick and strong and they can hurt each other and they have been known to hurt the publicist and the male person with a surprise charge. Also little horn buds are very sharp and can damage a mama goat's udder during nursing when the kids pokes too hard to start the milk. You can just start to see baby Sarah's horn buds in this photo.

The people who had me directly before the publicist were of a mind to dehorn Abby when she was born but were inexperienced and as you can see, well, Abby has horns. The photo shows Abby with her kid Nora a few days after Nora was born. Her horn buds aren't showing yet. The male person was also somewhat poor at dehorning so the decision around the Happy Goats Farm was to have horned goats. This leaves me as the lone hornless goat in a horned goat world. So I am at somewhat of a disadvantage but I manage to hold my own.

The reasoning for having horned goats, especially in a place like Montana where there are predators who like to eat goats - can you imagine such a horrible thing?! - is that the goat has a method of protection. The horns are good for butting and for gouging. That does not sound nice I know, but if one is being attacked one has a right to defend oneself, right? We don't worry too much about that here on the Happy Goats Farm because we have a nice safe barn to go into every night.
Here is another photo of Michael and Luke getting ready to butt each other. They do this a lot when they have their play time.

Buck horns are much stronger and thicker than doe horns. Part of all that play head butting the boys do is practice for when they are going to try and impress us ladies. The strongest buck usually wins and the well, let's not go into the size of the horns. This is a family blog.

I hope this has helped to answer the question about goats and horns.


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