Disbudding and Ear Tagging

We all have our own reasons for disbudding. Some prefer goats with horns, others don't.

It is a personal preference. 

However, it was recommended to me by my Vet to disbud for safety. Especially around children. 

It only takes one accidental slip or one deliberate act, to cause a major injury. Goats are also less likely to get heads caught in fences (it's not to say it won't happen) 

Disbudding is not a race. Please be guided by the animals behaviour. If they are worried, calm them first before proceeding. You want to make it as easy as possible. 

Preparing for disbudding:

Before Haircut

1 Before Haircut

After Haircut

2 After Haircut

Wrap your goat or put in a goat holding box. 

3 Wrapping

First Burn: 

X30 is held on and rotated for 3-5 seconds. Notice the COPPER ring starting and bud in the middle. 

4 1st Burn

Second Burn: 

X30 rotated again for 3-5 seconds. You are looking to get a WHITE ring all the way around the bud. 

5 2nd burn

At this stage of the disbudding, you can either flick the bud off with the end of your iron, or use a spoon to lift off the bud. 

6 Lift bud off

Wait about 30 seconds to see if any 'bleeders' appear. 

7 Look for bleeding

These are live vessels that will still supply blood to the horn area. A quick cauterize over that section of bleeding will stop it. Wait again, and if all looks clear, spray Alushield or Betadine onto the raw area. 

8 Alushield

It takes approximately 6- 8 weeks for the hair to grow back over the area of the disbudding.


Equipment used:

Rhinehart X30 Electric Disbudder. Minimal fuss. Very high heat. Great results. 

Clippers: We just purchased the cheap human hair clippers. Easy to use on short hairs on top of head. 

Disbud Equipment

Rhinehart X30 Electric Dehorner and ST-200 Stepdown Transformer 240V to 110V

Ear Tagging:

We Tag the ear straight away after disbudding. This is because the ear is more supple and easier to break through.

Step 1: Clean front and back of ear with methalyated spirits

1 Clean ear

Step 2: Put tag in device, dip end of tag in methalyated spirits. Note the pointy end of the tag goes through the top of the ear and comes out on the underside.

2 Tag in device


Step 3: The correct position in the ear is between the 2 veins shown below.


Step 4: This is the position to tag correctly (preferbaly higher up in the ear) as below.


Step 5: Keep head still and squeeze the trigger. Depending on which Tag you are using the spike should always be pointing down. We then cut the tag to allow it to swing and the ear to grow un-hindered. We then gently turn both sides of the tag to ensure nothing is caught and spray with Cetrigen.



Goat tagged and disbudded

Disbudded and Tagged goat

Ear tag equipment

Ear Tagging Equipment

Cetrigen spray

Cetrigen Spray

© The Dillons 2015