Today the man came to disbud the kids. Disbudding is pretty horrible, I'm sad to tell you. A very hot tool is pressed to where the little horn buds were already erupting, and the kids cry piteously. It makes me sick to my stomach. The man is as kind as he can be, cuddling the kids tenderly and placing them next to their mamas when the ordeal is finished. I stand around with my heart in my throat. To my amazement, the kids quickly nurse then begin to frolic about. They nap a little, then play some more. They must experience pain, but they act pretty normal.
I have tried keeping the horns intact, but they present several problems. Horns get stuck in fences. Horned goats HURT goats without horns. Horned goats can hurt me, without even trying. This fact was pressed home to me a few years ago when we kept a few kids with horns. One ran to greet me, thrusting his head up to rub his face on mine. His horn very narrowly missed piercing my eye. And few people want to buy a kid with horns. So, the man comes when I have kids and does the deed. He does not like it. I do not like it. The kids certainly do not like it. But it improves their quality of life in the long run. Also, the man tells me that he has a theory that that area of the goats head probably does not have the nerve structure that we might expect. After all, goats are prone to head butting each other, hard! I find this thought comforting, and know that my grown up goats, without horns, live pretty cushy lives.
The kids do a lot of running and leaping, twisting and bucking, dancing and frolicking.
And all of it is enchanting.
They are starting to nibble solid foods. Spruce trees give them fresh breath.
And energy for leaping.
I am not getting much done these days. My time is well spent watching kids play.