Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Dehorn Goats

Removing Scurs From Goats

This particular job is not a one-person event so I called on David Quilinderino to provide some muscle. One of the toughest jobs on our farm is "horn duty". I do not like disbudding baby goats, nor do I like removing horns that were left to grow naturally on older goats and I most dislike removing scurs from goats. Scurs are not full horns but partial horn growth. They usually occur when a part of the horn bud remained after disbudding the goat as a baby. It happens all of the time and is a normal chore if your raise goats. Scurs tend to curl as they grow, usually headed toward the goat’s skull. It’s important to keep scurs trimmed on a regular basis, they can become uncomfortable for the goat and dangerous if left to grow without trimming. Making sure the goat is held steady is necessary when working on the head of the goat. A milking stand works very nice for this purpose and helps the goat feel most secure. There are a variety of tools one can use to remove the scur. I normally use a wire saw so I can accomplish the cutting by pulling instead of using a saw that cuts by pushing. I have heard of an electric dremel tool being used. I am sure it can be a real time-saver but I am not confident enough in my ability to hold the goat's head still to use a power tool. On this goat, a hacksaw was used on Mattie's scurs. Mattie is a Nigerian Dwarf, 6 year old buck and dreads scur removal as much as I do. Just a little blood, a few goat screams and it was all over.


  1. Thank you! I was wondering how long I had to wait for my doe to bump and rub her own scurs off. She's knocked them off before but they grew back. The few people I've talked to about them suggested that since they're loose, and not pushing on her skull, I should just wait for her to take care of them again.

  2. I agree. This guy in the photo had his scur curl back to his head, I had to do something.

  3. Another problem with scurs is that they break off and bleed like crazy! We had been using a wire saw to cut off the one that kept growing into my buck's head, but somehow he broke it off during a snowstorm. Blood matted down his face and into his beard! Took over 12 hours to get the bleeding stopped. Try to dehorn well and if you can't, then get someone who knows how to do it. Selling off all the babies that have been dehorned and never seeing them grow up doesn't give you a chance to see how well your dehorning job was done.