Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scurs


For those who do not torture themselves by owning goats; scurs are what you get if you do not completely kill out the horn bud when disbudding. This happens quite often in Bucks because of their hard headedness and large horn base. My own dear Cooter has a really nice scur going on right now.

Scurs come and go, they are normally somewhat like a loose tooth, you can jiggle them around a little bit. Cooter doesn't like it but we try to loosen them on occasion, he usually knocks them off himself without too much help from us but the one that he has now is getting quite large. They are actually incomplete horns without a solid foundation.

They can bleed profusely when they are knocked off, leaving him looking pretty mistreated. I always try to put a little blue medicine on the open sore, he doesn't like that either but then the only things that he really does like are does, food and a good scratching on his neck and horn area.

When you mention dehorning or disbudding to goat minded people, they usually have very strong opinions one way or the other. There are those who would never disbud because they feel that nature intended goats to have horns. They also would never ever put a baby animal through that much pain for 60 seconds. However, these same people do sometimes circumcise their male children. They also feel that horns are there for goats to protect themselves and so on...

The other side of this issue, which includes yours truly, believes that horns are dangerous to humans, grandchildren and even the goats themselves. Goats are experts on sticking there heads in unusual places and mine get their heads stuck even without horns to entangle them. They can also injure their herd mates, human caregivers and human children by accidentally catching them with a horn.

As far as goats protecting themselves with horns go, I believe that a pack of dogs or coyotes don't make the distinction, the horned goats taste just as good. Horned goats also run from danger just the same as unhorned goats do.

I strongly believe in disbudding, dehorning an adult goat is another matter. I would not purchase a goat with horns but if the occasion did arise that I came into possession of a horned goat, I would not try to dehorn it. I would however attempt to blunt the sharp ends.

Even a blunted, loose scur can cause you problems, as demonstrated by Cooter and his human caregiver. I had gone out to feed the rascal and he, being his impatient self was trying to help me pour the feed into the feed pan. I was bent over and he is pretty tall and we somehow got our heads together. His thick, hooked, three inch scur weaved itself into a portion of the front of my hair that was pulled back in a bun. I also had a hair clasp in the front of my hair and the scur was between my tender scalp and the clasp.

I tried to straighten up and was attached to Cooter who was by this time trying to inhale the food in the feed pan. I am not much of one to say that animals are kind, gentle, intelligent and have human emotions but Cooter did feel the pressure on the scur and instead of jerking away like he normally does when we touch his scurs, he actually moved with me.

I just knew that at any moment he would pull away to continue eating but he raised his head and let me untangle us without jerking me bald. It took me several seconds to free myself and I was even to the point of trying to take my hair down but I finally got loose. For once, I was impressed by Cooter's kindness, intelligence, gentleness and human emotions. But what I really believe is that he was in as much of a predicament as I was in and he knew that if he jerked away it would cause him great pain. So, I still give him points for intelligence.
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