So you've disbudded all your goats, but wait--is that a horn?? NOPE that is a 'scur.' In this blog we are going to touch up on scurs, what they are, and what you can do about them...
Scurs modeled by VCH SunCatcher Ascension 'Ace' before his were removed.
So first thing is first WHAT is a Scur??
A 'scur' is horn tissue that essentially survived the dehorning process. Especially for does, but in bucks scurs are more common, and a bit more complicated. Buck horns are shaped differently than doe horns, often wider, and more oval shaped. This can cause significant issues when it comes to disbudding.
Producers often use a larger size iron, and burn in a 'figure 8 pattern' to destroy the horn tissue, and horn ridge when disbudding bucks. However, hormones can also play a significant role in scur development. BUCKS even after being disbudded, can and often do develop scurs. Thankfully though, because there is not enough tissue to form into a full horn, scurs are generally easy to maintain and are mostly hollow.
Scur maintenance is just as important for your goats as is anything else, and is one of the 'perks' of buck ownership. Being at higher risk for scur development-- learning to maintain scurs is an invaluable skill to have on hand. Scurs can be any shape. Long, Flat, tall and spikey, or look just like a regular horn. The difference between scurs and horns is that often the blood supply is only 1" off the scalp for a scur, unlike a full horn where blood vessels fill the horn up to about 1-1.5 inches from the tip.
Scur Maintenance: What to do:
Most scurs are harmless and don't usually grow over 3 inches. And bucks in rut usually knock their scurs off during sparing. However if a scur grows longer than 3 inches, or starts to curl down to the neck, head, or into the eyes they can become a hazard, and should be managed manually. Goats with scurs exceeding 1 inch may be disqualified from showing as well, so keeping up on scurs in the herd can be important for many reasons.
Scurs can be trimmed off, then filled down. Usually by cutting the scur about 1.5 inches above the scalp with an OB saw. If it starts to bleed it is cauterized with a disbudding iron.
We maintain our scurs by cutting, and for scurs that exceed 3", using the banding method to 'pinch' the scur off. Using the banding method (if done right) completely removes the scur, and it will not grow back.
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