Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Scur be gone

This gross thing is a scur. A scur is a part of a horn that wasn't burned completely when a goat was being dehorned.

This scur is about as big around as an adult thumb and if stretched out would be about six inches. It has been growing in this twisted way because it hit the top of the goat's head and then started to turn back upward.

It's owner, Elizabeth, was the leader of our herd. This spring, after she had her babies, we have been keeping her inside so that she can nurse her kid during the day. Now that we are working on weaning the babes we put her outside with the rest of the goats and keep her baby in. Desdemona is a little 3 1/2 month old girl out with her mom that we don't want to get pregnant, hence, the boys and girls have to be separated as they are old enough the reproduce.
Elizabeth gets out in the corral yesterday and realizes that her position of leader has been taken over by someone else. This did not sit well with her at all. She starts fighting with who ever was closest, letting the others know she is back and ready to take her rightful place in the herd. When goats fight for dominance, they rear up on their back legs and smash their heads together. Dad looks out and sees that Elizabeth has blood on her head. Looking closer he sees that her scur has broken off. She still has a little stump there so we are assuming that it will grow back again.
The goats that were born here have horns. We don't have a dehorner, they are quite a large expense. Dehorning is also not a pleasant task. It has to be done when the goat is very young and the horn bud needs to be burnt down to the skull. The goat screams and it smells horrible. We had two of our goats done by someone else before and I couldn't even watch. That was when we were first starting with goats and I was more squemish, I would probably be able to now. It is also a talent to get the whole horn and not make these scurs. Even people who have dehorned many goats sometimes leave a scur. The horns also make good handle bars for steering them into their houses at night. If a goat goes to the fair to be shown for 4-H they have to be dehorned, so a dehorner could be in our future.

No comments: