Build a Disbudding Box
Maxine Kinne

My disbudding box is a novel design. It was copied from the one owned by John Gorman, the dairy goat breeder who disbudded my goats before he so expertly taught me how to do it. Its short, wide design accommodates both small and large breeds.
Made of 1 x 12 pine shelving, which does not splinter, it has a hinged lid. A latch installed on the side opposite the hinges can keep a kid from popping the lid open. With or without a latch, you sit on the box to disbud.

Two 4" x 6" pieces of wood cut the width of the box are very handy. One at the rear keeps small kids from sliding too far back. Another one placed so that the kid's belly rests on it keep it from laying down. If the kid lies down or slides too far backward, it is often necessary to open the box and reposition it. The wooden blocks are removable for disbudding larger kids.

The small neck hole keeps most kids from retracting their heads, yet it is large enough for large breeds. The shelf under the neck hole is for resting the hand which holds the kid's head during disbudding. This prevents pushing the kid's neck down onto the neck hole which might cause injury. A slightly larger neck hole could be cut into the back panel for disbudding or retouching a job on a larger kid that can still fit in the box.

My mentor wore an oven mitt on the hand that held the kid's head to avoid getting burned if the iron slipped. A mitt can interfere with control, and I have been unable to use one. Don't get irked at kids for accidents - disbudding is the most unpleasant experience for them so far. Visit your local aloe vera plant for first aid.

After the iron is completely cool, it can be stored in the box with other supplies, like blood stopper, antiseptic powder, paper towels, wire brush, and other disbudding equipment you collect.

The front legs of most are folded back at the knees as they are placed in the box. This is an unhappy experience, but the sooner the job is done, the sooner they return to their normal routine.

The first thing a kid does when it rejoins its mother after disbudding is to try to nurse. Mothers always sniff the kids, and sometimes the strange disbudding odor makes them reluctant to nurse for a while. It is a rare mother who won't accept her kid after a few hours.

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