Do you think female goats have horns or not? If you’re not sure if female goats have horns, then this article is for you. Goats are a delightful and playful addition to lots of barnyards for many people all over the world. There are lots of myths and misconceptions about female goats in general.
One misconception about female goats is that they do not have horns. There are lots of animals in which only the males grow horns or antlers. While some; For example, male and female cattles, male and female caribous have horns.
However, do female goats have horns or none at all? Have you ever wondered if all female goats have horns or some have, and some don’t? Keep reading because, in this article, we have answers to all your female goat’s horn-related questions.
Do Female Goats Have Horns?
Yes, female goats have horns. There are lots of myths about female goats not having horns; this is wrong! People believe only male goats have horns. Female goats do have horns as well. However, female goat horns are usually shorter and smaller than male horns in most cases.
Horns vary by breeds, the absence of horns on a goat shouldn’t be used to determine the gender of a goat as some factors cause missing horns on a goat.
Some breeds of goats do not have horns at all as they are naturally polled (hornless). Also, some people who have pet goats might want to dehorn their goats in order not to hurt the kids or for some personal reasons.
How Goat’s Horns Is Beneficial To Them?
There have been lots of debates on some goat forums about the functions of goat’s horns. Their horns serve two main functions:
1. Air Conditioning.
This is not a typical function well known by lots of people. Goat horns act as an air conditioning system or thermoregulation during hot weather.
Goats’ horns are not under their skin layer, so the horns are exposed to the air. When the weather is hot, their blood is pumped through their body, moves through many vessels in the horns, and cools off. The goat’s body is returned to normal or lower body temperature.
So, the horns on goats help regulate body temperature…cool, right?!
2. Communications and protection.
Goats use horns to protect themselves and their babies from other animals or attackers. Goats make use of their horns to communicate by butting. Their two sharp horns serve as a defense mechanism.
Goats show affections or play by butting. When a goat is threatened or frightened, the horn communication tends to be more aggressive. You will notice whenever a goat is threatened; such goat will lower its head and flatten its ears toward the object or attacker.
Do All Goats Have Horns?
As earlier explained in this article, all goat breeds have horns’ both females and males. However, there are common myths that male goats have horns, but female goats don’t have horns.
There are some reasons or explanations why some goats lack horns, or their horns didn’t grow. The reason could be the goat has been dehorned, disbudded, or naturally polled.
It is a process of removing a goat’s horn, and it is one of the most dislike works on a goat farm. This process helps in preventing injuries to farm owners and other herd members.
The best time to carry out this process is when the goat is between 4 days and 14-days old. The horn buds on the baby goat’s head, sometimes called horn buttons, are removed. The horn buds are burned, cut, and then cauterized (seared).
The best thing about the disbudding process is that the young goat recovers quickly and lives a perfect life after that.
The majority of goats in the United States today are born naturally with horns, and a lot of dairy goat owners dehorn them when they are still babies for various reasons.
The process of removing goat horns when they have attached to the skull is referred to as dehorning. We highly recommend that this process be avoided by all means except for a good reason and with a veterinarian’s help. It is an invasive procedure that carries lots of risks for the goat.
Removing horns from an adult goat tends to leave the goat’s skull open to infestation by maggots, flies and can lead to infection and causes excess bleeding.
Producers and breeders are encouraged to plan properly disbudding to avoid any need in the future to dehorn adult goats.
Adult goats with horns shouldn’t be dehorned as it can be avoided if they are causing injuries to handlers, other animals or becoming stuck in the housing components.
To manage these issues, breeders and producers need to segregate the horned goats from hornless goats, wear them protective rubbers, and modify housing features.
As a result of genetic traits, a goat can be born without horn buds. Any breed of goat that is naturally born with a horn is called a polled goat.
In recent times, the desire for people to raise and breed polled goats is increasing. Scientifically speaking, the absence of horns on goats is a dominant trait.
Can I Disbud a month-old goat?
It is highly recommended to disbud kid goats at 4 to 12 days of age, as earlier stated. However, the most effective way to keep off horn from goats is to disbud the baby goat burn the buds with a hot iron before turning one month old.
An ideal disbudding tool needs to have a tip between 3/4″ to 1″ in diameter.
Why Is A Goat Born Polled?
A goat is born polled as a result of genetic traits. The traits are expressed through genes, and each of the genes is made of 2 alleles, namely:
- Recessive alleles
- Dominant alleles
American Goat Society Horn Genetics Breakdown
Below is general breakdown source
|(A) dominant allele for a polled goat, while (a) recessive allele for horns.|
|AA||A hornless polled goat that does not carry the gene for horns.|
|Aa||A hornless polled (A) goat carries a recessive (a) gene for horns.|
|aa||A goat with horns.|
Since horns are a recessive trait, both the adult male and female goat must carry the horn gene to produce offspring with horns.
Here are results and chances of breeding the types of horned and polled goats
|Horned goat (aa) x Horned Goat (aa) =||100% chance horned offspring (aa)|
|Polled Goat (AA) x Polled Goat (AA) =||100% chance of polled offspring (AA)|
|Polled Goat (Aa) x Polled Goat (Aa) =||75% polled (Aa or AA) and 25% horned (aa)|
|Polled Goat (Aa) x Horned Goat (aa) =||50% chance of horned offspring|
The most effective way to produce a polled offspring is to breed two polled goats together. For more breakdown, use this Punnett square
Do Polled Goats Have Bumps?
Yes, of course, polled goats have bumps. You will notice two rounded nubs or bumps that you can even feel and see in place of the missing horns.
You can differentiate the very young polled kids among horned kids with the lack of “swirl” hair where the horn buttons (buds) would have been situated.
Do All Goat Breeds Have Horns?
Technically yes, all breeds of goats have horns. However, some goat breeds have a high chance that they are bred polled or would be disbudded. For example;
1. Dairy Goats. Dairy goats have a high chance of getting their horns removed, making them easier to milk and safer to handle.
2. Nubian goats. Since Nubian goat’s long ears have the same effect as the horns, which helps to cool the goat’s blood in hot weather, they have a high chance of been disbud
How Do You Make Goat Horns Safe?
For farmers, producers, and goat owners who want to keep their goat’s horn safe and intact, here are some ways to keep them safe and protected without the need to remove these horns.
1. Rubber Bicycle Handle Guards. I have seen lots of people using rubber bicycle handle guards on their goat horns to protect and keep them safe.
2. Duct Tape. I have used this in the past because I have a small pet dog, and also, my kids love playing around with this pet goat and Since I don’t want my kids hurt and my little dog. So, I made use of duct tape, and it stays put.
3. Tenis Balls can also be helpful.
Conclusion – Do Female Goats Have Horns?
Now, you realize that female goats have horns. However, some factors can cause a goat to lose its horns. Please, if you love our article, kindly help us to share it.