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goat horn buttons

 
paul wheaton
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I'm reading something that is suggesting that when you butcher a goat, you can cut the horns into slices and use those slices as buttons. 

I suspect that the buttons won't be particularly round. 

I wonder if you have to do it on butchering day or if you can save the horns and do it some other day.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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My understanding is that horn isn't perishable.

It would be worthwhile to attend to the hide on butchering day, though...
 
paul wheaton
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tanning the hide ... something I still have never done.  And something that really needs to be experienced first hand, I think. 

I'm pretty sure that the hide can go in a freezer to be dealt with later.

So:  horns won't decay .... I suppose this is if you keep them dry?

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I actually don't know what's inside a goat horn, but I know biodynamic beliefs cause people to fill cow horns with organic matter and bury them, shallowly, for a year.  The filling decomposes, but the horn is OK at the end of the process.  My understanding is that a goat horn might have different structure, but will have similar chemistry.

Any pith inside the horn may decay if it isn't dried out, but I was assuming the buttons don't use the center of the horn.

I've heard of freezing hides, and of salting them.  I'd like to learn how some time; there are occasional workshops here in Oakland.
 
Leah Sattler
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I would imagine that you would want the horn to dry out good first. I know that you can kill a goat by bleeding out by simply chopping its horn off because  there are quite a few blood vessels that feed it, less so with cattle from my understanding. I was just watching a video showing antique furniture made from long horn cattle horns. amazing. unfortunatley they didn't give details as to the construction but there were many pieces that had been carved to fit and I imagine buttons are one of the many things that could be made of horns if you had the time and inclination.

I might have some horns some time this year. both my bucks are horned and now that they are mature its is getting rather annoying and dangerous because they are in full rut. I was thinking of banding them (the horns).
 
Emil Spoerri
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banding horns is a terrible idea IMO
remarkably cruel and inhumane plus could cause a lot of trouble down the road

I find goats without horns much more annoying as well as they are much harder to get a handle on and can still hurt you.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Leah (or anyone else): are horns a lot softer on the animal, compared to once they have dried completely?

If so, there might be a window of time where they're easier to work with, easier on the tools, less likely to split, etc.
 
Leah Sattler
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
banding horns is a terrible idea IMO
remarkably cruel and inhumane plus could cause a lot of trouble down the road

I find goats without horns much more annoying as well as they are much harder to get a handle on and can still hurt you.


I dont' expect it to be pleasant. neither is castration no matter what your method. but getting a horn in my leg, eye or face isn't either. With the few horned goats I have that scenario is ridiculously common. the only time I have been bruised by my goats was with horns. they get caught in fences too which is annoying and dangerous. it doesn't cause any trouble down the road  teh horns are gone and it heals over nicely just like when they are disbudded. I have spoken to a friend who has personally done this many times and she confirmed that  was the case with goats she has had to band horns on.

all my goats are tame and can be led....I don't need horns for that.....I also have a small child  and another on the way and her safety adn mine and my unborn daughter is much more important to me then the comfort of the goats. I recently gave away a "mooch" that showed up and had been living at my house since we moved in. he had horns and after the second time he came up behind my daughter and hooked her leg/groin while we were walking through the pasture he almost got a bullet right there. that is never a problem with my hornless goats obviously. it really sucks to bend over to feed something and have a goat yank its head back and nearly miss your face with a horn.

disciplining them for using their horns is not practical mostly because 'horn incidents" are usually not intended actions, they are accidental or instinctive. it is pretty cruel to discipline a goat for something they didnt' mean to do adn just makes them wary of you  and makes them confused  hard to handle and offensive/defensive, hence the need for horns to handle them, so to me it is a vicious circle that is created. I ahve also had my hand wedged between a goats horns (one of the bucks that I want to band) as it  spooked and took off.. almost broke my wrist.

they of course can hurt you even without them but I know from personal experience they are at least 90% less likely to do that  without horns. I hae never been really hurt by my honrless gaots and I have been hurt numerous times by my horned ones. everyone gets to make their own decision based on their particular situation. I want to be able to behave relatively casual around my goats and simply enjoy them and let my daughter help do chores.






 
Emil Spoerri
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hmn, my goats are very timid and approach humans with great caution
I have never ever seen any of them try to butt a human except they sometimes gently press against me with their horns when trying to wedge themselves closer to food
the only time I have almost been hurt by them was when they were butting another goat
even my meanest goat who constantly butts and chaises and bites other goats whenever grain is involved never ever butts humans

This is from a big meat goat ranch in texas that offers superior fainting goat breeds

DISBUDDING AND DE-HORNING GOATS

Disbudding a goat can be a dangerous . . . even life-threatening . . . medical procedure. The producer uses a very hot iron to burn the horn buds off the head of a kid that is often not more than a week old. The kid's brain can be permanently damaged by misuse of the disbudding iron. The possibility of infection is great. Tetatnus and even death may occur.

There are only two valid reasons to disbud a goat, one of which is to adapt the goat's head to fit into a milk stanchion. Horned goats present a significant problem in a milking line. The only other good reason for disbudding is when goats are housed in barns in very cold climates during much of the year. Disbudding reduces the chance of injury in such confined situations.

It is this author's opinion that every other reason given for disbudding goats is neither valid reasoning nor sound logic, including disbudding done for purposes of showing goats in fairs and other events. Adults should learn how to handle goats in a manner that puts them less at risk of getting hurt by horns. Children who are working with or living around livestock should be taught to respect the horns and learn to stay out of their way. This can be learned. If humans, both adults and kids, cannot do this, they should not be raising goats. To so drastically and dangerously modify an animal's body solely to suit one's own personal desires is unconscionable.

Horns serve legitimate purposes for the goat. Since goats are sprinters rather than long-distance runners, horns provide one of the few natural defenses against predators that this species has available to it. Meat goats, particularly those out on pasture, need every advantage that they can get in order to survive. Horns also serve as cooling mechanisms, functioning much like an automobile radiator on a hot day.

De-horning goats is just plain cruel. De-horning describes the process of cutting off horns that have already grown to significant size. Horns have an extensive blood supply running through them. Below the horns, in the skull, are large sinus cavities. Removing horns down to their base exposes the inside of the goat's head to serious infection. The very best one can hope for in such a procedure is that the goat is going to have a king-sized headache for many hours. When goats are dehorned, death from shock or infection is a definite possibility.

Treat your goats humanely. Do not disbud unless one of the two circumstances mentioned above exists. If you participate in shows, work towards removing the disbudding/de-horning rules that are so abusive of goats. Do the right thing for your goats. Do not disbud or de-horn.


 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I think we have a case of different styles of managing livestock here -- some people think that livestock exist for the good of humans -- I'm in that camp myself -- while others think that people exist for the good of the animals.  Personally, I disbud my goat kids.  As Leah said, horns get caught in the fencing -- I've had to cut up a lot of fencing to free stuck goats, and it was always the horned ones.  Horns at my place have been more dangerous to other animals than to me -- I've had a couple of sheep gored by horned goats -- but since I've had very few horned goats, that could have been more of a problem than it was.  I do not enjoy disbudding goat kids, but neither do I think it abusive.  It just is one of those things that needs to be done, done as well and as humanely as possible, but DONE.  The kids recover in seconds from the process -- they are really more upset at being held down than they are about the disbudding process itself.  Castration (and tail-docking in sheep  falls into the same category.  There is a lot about keeping livestock that isn't pleasant -- butchering, for example -- but is necessary.  Oh, and done properly, disbudding really isn't dangerous.  I've disbudded quite a few goat kids, and the biggest danger is ending up with scurs because you were too timid with the disbudding iron. 

As for how goats relate to people, if you have bottle-raised goats (as most dairy goats are) excessive friendliness is more the rule than timidity.  It's a different story with meat goats, of course, and there are people who let their dairy does raise their own kids, but you don't get nearly as much milk from them that way. 

I do have one horned goat right now.  My Nigerian Dwarf buck was supposedly disbudded, but is growing a pretty good set of horns in spite of it (a case of too much timidity with the disbudding iron).  He is the ONLY goat I've ever had deliberately use horns on me -- and he got turned upside down and sat on for a few minutes, too, the little brat.  But accidental bumps hurt just as much as unintentional ones.  If he keeps it up, he'll be looking for a new home or in the freezer.

Kathleen
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I forgot to address the topic of the original post, LOL. 

Goat horns are partly hollow, because of the blood vessels and so on that go up the middle of them.  But at some point they do become solid, out to the tip.  You'd need a large set of horns to make big buttons, but it would be easy enough to make small ones, even by sawing tips off the horns of live goats -- wouldn't have to kill a goat just to get the horns.  You can't take very much of or it will start to bleed -- and the goat will NOT like the treatment, so you'd need someone strong to hold it still. 

Goat horn on the animal is very hard and durable and does not need any 'aging' process to make it useful for making buttons or other horn items out of it, but you'd need the horn from a large, old buck to make anything large.  Horns from young animals and from does are quite a bit smaller than cattle horns.

Kathleen
 
Emil Spoerri
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As for whether I exist for the goats or they exist for me, I do not know, but I see no reason to get rid of horns when they do not threaten me in any way and make it easier to handle stubborn goats. They also look better with horns.
Butchering a goat is much more pleasant than watching it suffer.
 
Leah Sattler
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thats is fine! in your situation it isnt' neccesary. In mine I have found it to be. different situations, different methods of management and different priorities. 

my goats are all tame and I like it that way. I often sit in the middle of the herd to just be with them. I call it my goat therapy. they nuzzle and come to get scratches and lay down beside me. I dont' even usually have to restrain them to trim their feet. I just walk out there
and do it.

alot of the 'dangerous to disbud' camp and sites like you quoted are really just trying to keep people from disbudding because they think it is cruel and aren't a very good unbiased source.  it is a cauterized wound, not open to infection. if done properly it doesn't "burn the goats brain". of course anyone can screw up a procedure and make it have bad consequences. I have never heard of any accounts of a disbudding gone bad. I have the same problem as kathleen, I am not vigourous enough and they get scurs.

as for whether it looks better, that is a matter of your personal taste. I am used to seeing goats without horns. but heck, some of my goats look weird anyway.

here are some future buttons! and what is my lovely stinky buck doing with these future buttons? scratching between them on the fencing. A common consequence of this innocent activity is tearing the whole stock panel down. 




there is not much that could make this look any weirder.
I like to tell people I am breeding aliens.



 
Emil Spoerri
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the other thing I read is you have to use some type of chemical or smelly stuff to keep skrew flies out if you got them in your area, but this is probably the right time of year to do it

 
Jennifer Smith
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I have only seen one horse actually have his eye put out by a goat horn... it was enough for me.  Between that and the fence thing, no horns allowed on my farm.
 
Emil Spoerri
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basically we are talking about shaping an animal that we care for to fit our needs when it wouldn't take much more effort to shape the environment for the needs of the animal we are caring for

it also means that the animal is a little bit better at caring for itself in my book

lots of places have dog problems and my buck is a match for most dogs is another sell

but they also just look so much nicer with horns


I mean, I am no vegetarian, but the basic logic I follow is, not how much I can be like modern agriculture, but how unlike it I can be.

Goats provide me with so much and it takes less effort on my part to give them the most natural way of life possible.

My expense is organic chicken scratch and supplements, I don't want to spend time dehorning, worrying about it or suffering the consequences, it means that the goats don't bother me and I don't bother the goats, they get fed and so do I
 
Leah Sattler
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for me it would take alot of effort to shape the enviroment to have goats with horns and my managment style would change too. I am not on any crusade trying to be different then modern ag just for the sake of being different. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. I milk my goats and trim their feet and attend to them carefully. all of which I can do without fear on their part or mine ultimately in large part because they (most) don't have horns. i have two does with horns, neither of which cause trouble and I see no reason to remove them just for the sake of it. and in fact I particulary want one to keep hers as she is crippled and needs a little extra help maintaining a spot in the pecking order. she is never even a problem in a crowding/feeding situation because she hangs back, she knows I will make sure she gets her share. poor peggy is kinda slow

I don't think anyone should do something just for the sake of it. whether dehorn your goats because it is typical or not dehorn your goats just in an effort to seperate yourself from modern ag. each situation needs to be addressed differently. I much prefer disbudding over the idea of banding or scooping, but my lamancha buck was origially destined for dinner so he didn't get disbudded. it wasn't a problem till now and he is big enough to really do some damage.

modern ag feeds lots of grain. I don't like it but I wouldn't let a goat starve that needed the extra calories just so I could say I wasn't like modern ag.  some situations .....especially high producing dairy does....need grain......they just do.  I can't spend thousands on fencing that will soon be destroyed by horned goats. I have farm sat for places with destroyed fencing. cut their goats out of the fences while they were away, and witnessed where they had been cut out and the fence patched hundreds of times before. requiring myself to put up no climb fence so I wouldn't have to dehorn them would make having them impossible for me and likely send them all to a questionable fate, and it would also put me right back in a position of depending on modern ag.



you shouldn't dehorn your goats because you don't need to.  and there is no reason to subject them to it. so it sounds like you have made a great and compassionate choice. but it is a bit insulting for someones managment choices based on logic and need to be called cruel.  I have no desire to hurt my goats. I love and appreciate them and I am very thankful to them for what they provide my family, both in products and experiences.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Leah Sattler wrote:
for me it would take alot of effort to shape the enviroment to have goats with horns and my managment style would change too...
so I wouldn't have to dehorn them would make having them impossible for me and likely send them all to a questionable fate, and it would also put me right back in a position of depending on modern ag.

I was just thinking this.  If I couldn't have a hornless goat I would not have a goat.  One less good home for a goat.  So maybe the answer is less goats in the world, but what a shame for the next generation not to be able to meet one in person.  Buttercup has been to several partys etc to meet children. 

If I had no goat nor horse, many children would grow older before meeting one and may never develope the love for the animals they could have.
 
Emil Spoerri
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I'm not here to offend, I guess it's just that I see little ways that I could justify it.

I would trust my goats with any child old enough and smart enough to deal with animals.

Mine have never even almost acted like they would hurt someone.

they come up and sniff and get petted and as soon as you exhale loudly they all book it.

they sometimes nibble on me when I have my back turned to them...

A goat without horns is hard to imagine when you only have goats with horns
 
Jennifer Smith
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I can not imagine any one of my goats hurting a person.  Fighting over feed with the horses is another story.  They can and have put out eyes on horses. 

Not to mention the fence thing.  They love to get their horns in there. 

I now may regret that the kids who do get to meet my Buttercup (all my milk goats are named Buttercup, Buttercup #3 now) will think no horns is normal.  But at least they get to see and touch a real live goat.  Find out how sweet she is. 

I found the goat a non intimidating horse like animal when we take the horses to a party.  Often after touching Buttercup they will gain courage to touch a horse.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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If I had a large acreage (huge, in fact), bigger than my goats could wander over and test the boundaries of, I would gladly leave their horns on.  I do think that horns look better, but looks isn't a good enough reason to leave them on.... Like Leah, I can't afford to have my fences destroyed, or my goat shelters (and they can and will use those horns like pry bars!).  Right now I don't have any other animals in with my goats, but if I did, and had horned goats, I'd be very concerned about the safety of the other animals.  As has been said, we each do what works best for us, and shouldn't be too critical of others who have different situations.  Which, come to think of it, is a good philosophy for life in general!

Kathleen
 
Gwen Lynn
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This is just my humble opinion, but anyone who says that they can't imagine their animal (whatever kind of animal it is...from the lowly gerbil to the horse) hurting someone isn't being realistic. I have been involved with horses, dogs, cats, gerbils, rabbits over the years. ALL animals are quite capable of hurting a human. I've been bit by all of the above, for various reasons.

They are, after all...ANIMALS! They have instincts. Horses, goats, any animal that has a flight instinct has had it for 1000's of years. It cannot ever be totally controlled. Just because you haven't seen your animal hurt someone, doesn't mean they aren't capable. Under the right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) circumstances, that flight instinct will take over. I don't care how long you've known that animal
"personally", or how much experience you have handling animals.

The best, most patient, super reliable, experienced, older gelding (horse) that I've ever known could & would mow you down (trying to flee) in circumstances where it fears for it's life. That is always there, deep down in their psyche. I have been involved with horses for 40 years. You must always have a healthy respect for that flight instinct or you will get trampled or worse. All horses are capable of spooking at a loud sudden noise. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time you will get hurt. I guarantee it. I would imagine the same goes for goats. One with horns could easily injure someone in a similar circumstance.

When I hear people say things like "he wouldn't hurt me...he loves me!" it makes me cringe. That is a fantasy, pure and simple.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Good morning Gwen,

You are right.  What I should have said is, "I couldn't imagine Buttercup hurting anyone... on purpose."  My party animals LOVE kids/people (especially if they have a cookie). 

The reason I do the parties and such is to promote the love of animals to the next generation.  It is not a paying gig and not a job for any but the most personable of critters.

But to get back on topic...

Paul,

Would goat horns be close to deer horns in makeup?  I had a pair of boots that had deer horn buttons.  I have seen deer horn carved into a variety of usefull objects. 
 
Leah Sattler
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although disbudding is my choice......it obviously makes it hard to eventually have horns to make cool stuff with! in the right circumstances those horns could provide material to make useful and beautiful items!

I have never tried to saw or cut horns personally. I wonder what the best method of shaping them would be? an OB saw is usually the choice for just hacking them off from my understanding(I couldn't bring myself to do this while they were alive but some people do :cry after that I picture using a grinder to get the desired shape........ I can imagine all kinds of neat things that could come from horns.

I totally agree with gwen. any animal can hurt us. they don't have much forethought or capacity for compassion. it is up to us to provide domestic animals the safest circumstances possible in any given situation for both themselves and us!

jennifer - it sounds like you have a good handle on understanding that it takes a certain kind of animal that is as trustworthy as possible for kids and parties and such. having worked around lots of little kids and school horses I know that those animals can be worth their weight in gold. i get a little nostalgic thinking of all those old horses that are so tolerant and that I could (as much as possible) trust to show little ones the ropes around horses.


my daughter loves helping with the goats. and she is gaining valuable experience learning how to deal with prey animals. skills working around animals like this can be hard to develop as an adult. it becomes instinctive when they learn to deal with them from little on.


she helps me train them to the milk stand and learn to tolerate handling of their udder. she feeds all the ones that need to be locked up for whatever reason.....like the ones that are little twits and won't stay in the hotwire....still


and she can love on them all she wants without me worrying that she will lose an eye in a flash.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Leah, those are great pictures! Thanks so much for posting them! Your daughter is getting to be such a big girl!

Jennifer, I truly appreciate your realistic attitude, and I apologize; sometimes I do get a little...um...over-passionate. I have seen so many people get hurt (by horses, mainly) because they let their emotions overrun their abilities to think practically.

I think spreading practical information to future generations about animal husbandry is a very valuable education, and many kids don't get that opportunity without people like you. In my experience, I would advise anyone who allows the general public on their property to study and learn the liability laws in their state. Make sure you do the best to protect yourself in case of an accident.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Wow, so hard to say everything completely. "I should have said "my animals love people and RESPECT me" 

They respct people in general, but me... they would no more run me over  to get away from the bogerman as any thinking animal, including children.  Each horse, child, or goat, has their unique place in the herd, and who they would run over.  Even if the herd for the day is a bunch of cake eating, girl scout/cowgirls. 
 
Gwen Lynn
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Jennifer, I'm glad you have the respect of your herd & just to be clear, when I said, "protect yourself in case of an accident", I was referring to lawsuits. People are just lawsuit crazy these days. Seems to be worse than ever. People will take you to court over the fact that they tripped over a tree root on your property. It's insane.

You're right, it's hard to say everything completely, when posting on a forum. It's also difficult to know what someone may interpret from what has been written.
 
Jennifer Smith
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To get this back on topic...

How about bone buttons?  I have had several dresses with shell buttons that I still have the buttons from. 

I have seen deer horn made into lots of stuff and I would think goat horn would be just the same?

Kitchen utensils, knives, ladels, forks/spoons etc., pocket knives, smoking pipes, jewlery, all kinds of stuff.
 
Leah Sattler
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this stuff isn't made from goat horns but longhorns. still cool

http://www.longhornmuseum.com/HornFurnitureChairs.htm
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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paul wheaton wrote:I suspect that the buttons won't be particularly round.


If they're cut from the side, they can be as round as you're able to cut.  A drill press is probably the way to go: four holes in the center, and then a plug cutter to cut the button itself out.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Goat horn is more like cow horn than deer antler.  Antlers are like bone, while horn is, well, horn, LOL.  It's a somewhat plastic material, and used to be made into a lot of things that are made of plastic now.

You could get round buttons from goat horns if your goats have round horns.  Not all of them do.  Some are funny shapes in cross-section, often kind of flattened.  Although, towards the points does tend to be more roundish even on the goats with flattened horns.  I've seen buttons made from slices of antler, which works well.  With horn, you'll probably be able to do it with tip sections, but if you use material from the part of the horn that is hollow, you'd have to cut your shapes out of the horn wall.  That could be done.  Cow horn used to be used for a multitude of things, including spoons and combs.  Goat horn is usually smaller than cow horn so wasn't used as much, plus it's most likely going to be dark colored, while some cow horns are at least partly white.  Former historical re-enactor here.

Kathleen

 
paul wheaton
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Goats ...  I'm not too keen on raising anymore .... and yet I get asked about raising goats all the time.  So a few things to add ....

One very good reason to de-horn goats:  kids cannot show goats at the fair unless they have been dehorned. 

Another great reason:  the bucks stink less.  And I suspect that there are a few folks reading this that think a little odor on the farm is no big deal.  But we're talking about standing a hundred yards away - outside and you are looking for opportunities to increase this distance.  The stink is just THAT strong. 

Now for the flip side:  I don't wanna ever dehorn a goat again. 

For the longest time, all of my goat babies got to keep their horns.  The downsides of them keeping the horns were all far less than the one downside of me removing the horns. 

And then when I would get a buck, I would get a dehorned buckling.  When pregnancy was obvious, the buckling was sold.  Maybe only 2% of the stink of a year old buck with horns.

But all of these problems (and more!) go away by just not keeping goats! 
 
Leah Sattler
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bucks are still stinky with horns. some people cauterize the glands when they are disbudding (near the hornbuds) though and that will destink them somewhat. but...they grow up to pee all over themselves so I never saw a point! if I was squeezing by with goat raising in close proximity to neighbors i would consider it necessary to keep the peace.  bucks are nasty creatures indeed.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I've seen some good toggles made from the tips of horns.

Might you have meant toggles (like the Amish use), rather than buttons?
 
Emil Spoerri
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I thought about this some, no by buck goat would never be able to harm me as long as I was standing up. He never tries to harm me and the only time he ever bucks at all is when he is eating and it's more of a distracted clean swing and a miss than bucking.
the face is the only danger as long as I am wearing bluejeans
 
                  
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Paul-

Getting back to your original question about using goat horn to make things... all you have to do is ask a horn worker for a little tutorial. Most people these days work with cow horn but the material is the same. (It's the same stuff as your finger nails.) Horn can be cut, stamped, molded, turned, engraved, dyed... And it doesn't have to look "primitive" when you're done with it. I own several very elegant pieces of horn work, old and new.

Go here http://www.hornguild.org/ and send a message to be put in contact with someone near you if you really want to learn.  They'll welcome you with open arms. (And most are really nice folks.)
 
Emerson White
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I'm a little behind the curve here, but did anyone else notice that the guy who breeds fainting goats based his entire argument about how goats need there horns was based on self defense? Does he realize that he is breeding goats that are completely defenseless? Goats need their muscles to work when startled much more than their horns. Also mentioning the age of the kids being dehorned was a red hearing and an appeal to emotion, which is logically fallacious.

Back on topic- I think I've seen some goat horns that would make wonderful handles for wood working tools.

Traditionally round buttons were made using a spade bit and a thin piece of stock (in this case horn) and if needed a second small hole was drilled beside the center hole to sew the button on. If you cut the horn in slices with a saw I'd imagine you would get a bunch of horn rings, maybe perfect for the dog to chew on, but not very useful for buttons (maybe a loop for a toggle?).
 
                              
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My apologies for reviving an old topic...
I wanted add, inside a goat's horn, at the base and several inches inside, is thin porous bone. The horn can be laid out to dry somewhere cool and dry where insects can't get to it and the tissues inside the horn 'case' will properly dry and harden with no rotting.
Alternatively, depending on your project, you can set the horn out in the sun FOR the bugs and maggots and they will thoroughly clean out any tissues in the horn leaving you the bone center and that hard outer case.
I've only had about an inch and a half of pure through and through horn endings, though I suppose that depends on the size.

I agree about not simply chopping the horn off with a saw as goats have nerve endings in their horns. Instead I would recommend gradually cutting off any nerves and eventually the horn using castration bands. They will sometimes need to be replaced every couple of weeks as they loose elasticity.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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