Study shows clove oil can be used to dehorn baby goats

goat milk

Dehorning — or disbudding — baby goats can be scary and traumatizing — both to the owners and the goats.

Disbudding, for the uninitiated, is the process of using heat — or a caustic paste — to prevent the growth of horns on goats.

While some goat owners do not disbud their baby goats, many do, as both a requirement to show the goats (many organizations require goats to be disbudded to enter them into competition) and as a safety requirement: Horned goats can cause injury to each other during disagreements and displays of dominance.

In addition, horned goats can get caught and injured in fencing.

Most of the time, disbudding goats involves contacting a vet, or experienced herdsman (herdsperson?) to use a heat gun to burn the tissue where the horns would grow, killing it.

If done improperly, however, the process can lead to infection and physical trauma, both of which can lead to death.

The procedure also requires aftercare, which can be difficult and time consuming for goat owners to maintain over a period of time.

Iranian scientist, however, have recently published a paper suggesting that injections of clove oil can be used to disbud goats with much less physical trauma and pain to the animals.

In a paper published by scientists with Urmia University, veterinarians concluded that the procedure can prevent horn growth in goats.

According to the paper, which can be found online here, five-day old goat kids had clove oil (0.2 mL) injected into their horn buds.

The oil stopped horn growth in the goats, according to the paper.

The paper stated the oil is believed to stop tissue growth at proper concentrations.

The conclusions were as follows:

According to the results of this study injection of clove essence can be an effective method to stop horn growth without any undesirable effects on clinical parameters. This technique is easy for the operator and less stressful for the kids.

If true, clove oil injections could present goat owners and vets a method for disbudding goat kids safely and with much fewer complications.

Next: Goatpacking in the Back Country

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Melissa has a background in marketing, brand management, graphic design and photography. She left corporate America to pursue her dream of living a simpler life. Simpler doesn’t always mean easier but she enjoys every minute on her small homestead. She loves to cook, practice herbalism and gardening. Her passion is spreading the word about sustainable living and sharing her love of herbalism and living from scratch.

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