There more than two hundred breeds of goats in the world, ranging in size from the enormous Anglo-Nubian to the diminutive Nigerian dwarf. Some of the distinguishing factors between male and female goats are subtle enough that it may take a side-by-side comparison of both genders of the same breed. Other differences can vary depending on age and whether or not a male goat has been castrated. Read on to find out if all goats, whether male or female, have horns.
Both male and female goats have horns. Both have hollow horns, but the horns of a male goat grow longer and appear thicker than those of a female goat. Horns vary in shapes and sizes depending on the breed, and some genetic lines are naturally polled, which means that they do not have horns at all, regardless of whether they’re male or female. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there have been incidents of polycerate goats, meaning that they have more than the typical two horns. Some male and female goats are dehorned to reduce the occurrences of injuries to one another, and their human handlers.
Do Nubian Goats Have Horns?
While there are some horn-free varieties, most Nubian goats will naturally sprout horns unless they are dehorned when they’re younger than three weeks old. Both bucks (males) and does (females) develop horns – bucks’ horns can grow up to 2 feet long.
Nubian goats grow brown or black horns that grow backward along either side of the neck toward the body, eventually curling facing outward. Horns begin to sprout in both bucks and does when they’re as young as 3 weeks old, and bucks’ horns grow about 8-10 inches in the first year. As Nubian bucks age, their horns become corrugated with growth rings.
When a Nubian goat’s horns are dehorned with a hot iron when it’s still a kid, it can grow deformed horns around the edges of its horn buds referred to as scurs. Scurs are fragile and can break easily when the goat gets the natural urge to butt its head against something. Consider repeating the dehorning process as soon as you notice scurs starting to protrude.
Do Nigerian Dwarf Goats Have Horns?
Most Nigerian dwarf goats are born with horn buds, regardless of gender, unless they’re naturally polled. If a breeder chooses to leave the horn buds intact, they will begin to grow and break through the skin just days after birth and will turn into horns as the goat matures. The horns grow at a rapid pace, which is why disbanding kids early on is crucial if you want a Nigerian dwarf goat without horns.
Do Pygmy Goats Have Horns?
Both male and female pygmy goats have horns unless they carry the hornless gene. Although these goats are small in size, they are known to deliver a painful butt or accidental jab to handlers as well as their companions when excited. As a result, you may want to have the horns removed through a process known as disbudding.
Disbudding should be done by an experienced vet under a general anesthetic as pygmy goats have thin skulls and probing too deep during the surgery can cause encephalitis, which is a condition that causes inflammation of the brain tissue. There is also the possibility of a small amount of regrowth occurring but this often breaks off again and is rarely a cause for concern.
Do Mountain Goats Have Horns?
Both male and female mountain goats have slender, black, pointed horns that are about 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) long. They do not shed their horns, unlike the antlers of moose, elk, and deer- annual growth rings increase the horn size. A mountain goat’s horns help you determine the age of the goat in the same way that the scales of a fish or the rings of a tree do.
Seasonal rings typically form on a mountain goat’s horns each year. The horns of the goat will have one less ring than its age. So, a goat that is two years old will have one ring on its horns, a three-year-old goat will have two rings, and so on. Female mountain goats have a big curve at the tip of their horns while male ones have a slow curve along the entire length.
Do Lamancha Goats Have Horns?
Both bucks and does of this goat species have horns, although bucks have larger horns. In most cases, a Lamancha goat’s horns are disbudded before two weeks of age. However, if they are left to grow, they will naturally curl backward like smaller versions of the horns found on bighorn sheep.
Do Goats’ Horns Grow Back?
Normally, a goat’s horns won’t grow back after disbudding. This is because disbudding a kid involves burning through the skin as well as the horn bud, consequently stopping the blood supply to the horn buds before they start to properly grow, which causes them to fall off. If they do end up growing back the small rudimentary horn growths are known as scurs. Scurs are more likely to occur in goats that are disbudded incorrectly or disbudded too late.
Scurs are generally only attached to the skin, not the skull, so a goat can cast them off by sparring with other goats or rubbing their heads on fences. Scurs are more likely to occur in bucks, as the scurs are helped along by testosterone. Additionally, because horns grow wider at the base as the kid grows, and the growth is faster in male goats, getting all of it can pose a challenge. Scurs are also more likely to occur in particular goat breeds than in others – alpines, in particular, are more prone to scurs.
Unless scurs are exceptionally large, they aren’t usually a cause for concern. That said, they may cause a lot of bleeding when they break off. If that happens, spray the affected area with Blue-Kote to help prevent infection and keep a close eye on the wound. Exceptionally large scurs can be a danger to handlers and other goats.
Another issue is that a scur can start to grow towards the goat’s eye. In such cases, you may need to have your vet cut part of the scur off every so often. If the damage from a broken scur is extensive, or if the bleeding doesn’t stop, you should cauterize it with a disbudding or contact your vet.
Do Goats’ Horns Fall Off?
A goat’s horns will not naturally fall off. They’ll only fall off if you’re dishorning or removing scurs. Fully grown horns will not fall on their own unless they break.
Do Goats Feel Pain in Their Horns?
The horn of the goat contains extremely sensitive tissue that is made up of hair, nerves, and blood vessels. The structure is rigid and solid to prevent painful damage by accident or otherwise – the exterior coating of the horn appears to be relatively insensitive.
On the other hand, the interior and root areas (where the dense nerve matter is found) are tender as the skin beneath the human fingernail. If you’ve accidentally driven a splinter under your nail you can attest to how painful it is – that sensation would increase exponentially in the severing of a mature goat’s horn tissue.
Can You Cut a Goat’s Horns Off?
A goat’s horns can be cut off by a vet or highly experienced handlers. At the point where the goat’s horn is attached to its skull, there are two full layers of bone forming the floor and roof of the frontal sinus. Immediately under the floor of the frontal sinus, you’ll find the brain cavity. Since the base of a goat’s horn is considerably broad, you need to make a curved cut so that only the outer layer of the skull is removed.
Can I Trim My Goat’s Horns?
Trimming a goat’s horns is a task that requires a lot of expertise and care. Here are some tips on how to do it properly.
- Identify scurs. These partial horn growths that must be trimmed when found – use a bone saw to trim them off in 1-ich segments.
- Make sure to trim off only 1-inch sections of a goat’s horns at a time. Trimming more than an inch may strike a blood vessel, causing severe bleeding.
- Use a commercial electric disbudding iron to trim the horns. You can find one at most farmer’s depots and farm supply stores. Make a point of consulting with a vet about the best way to go about ironing down the specific goat’s horns.
What Goats Don’t Have Horns?
A polled goat is naturally born without horns. Polled goats can be of any breed. Budding is not required for these goats. In place of horns, they usually have two rounded nubs or bumps that you can feel, but they won’t grow into buds.
Newborn or very young polled kids can be differentiated among their horned counterparts by the lack of a swirl of hair where the horn bud would usually come in. most horned kids will have these hair swirls where the buds are expected to break through the skin; polled kids normally lack the swirls.
When Do Baby Goats Start Getting Horns?
Baby goats are born with horn buds. Depending on the breed, horns can start to show through the hair anywhere from 4 days old to 10 days old.
When Do Goats’ Horns Stop Growing?
If they’re left intact, a goat’s horns will continue to grow throughout their life. You can determine a goat’s age by counting the annual growth rings.
How Long Do Goats’ Horns Grow?
A goat’s horns can grow until they’re about eight to twelve inches long.
How Fast Do Goats’ Horns Grow?
Bucks typically grow their horns faster and will need disbudding sooner, while does can wait a bit longer.