“Normally when we disbud, we do it before the bud even comes out of the skin,” Suriyah said. “When the kids are about a week old or so, if they are really small sometimes a bit older. But if you wait too long, they are too big/hard to hold and the buds are a lot harder to burn off.”
Disbudding is done when the horn buds are one inch long or less. A hot iron is used to burn the horn at the skull causing, in most cases, retardation of growth. The bud falls off and if all goes well, the horn does not grow back.
The smell is unpleasant but the goats tolerate it much better than dehorning and it doesn’t require sedation. Generally disbudding is done when the weather is mild in order to avoid problems with flies in hot weather and respiratory infections when it’s cold.