Heads, Horns, and Hierarchy

The anatomy of goat horns, a multipurpose tool for overall health.

Heads, Horns, and Hierarchy
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes Most goats have horns naturally. While horns on males are more pronounced, females also have them. They are used as tools to scratch, dig, forage, fight, and defend. Goats don’t sweat, so horns are also used to dissipate body heat since the blood supply is very close to the surface.  Unlike antlers, which are made of bone alone, the horn has two parts: bone and keratin.  Horns on goats develop from a bud of horn cells under the skin, over the skull, called ossicones. From this bud, a bony core develops, and a sheath of keratin grows around it. Keratin has the same composition as fingernails. While antlers are shed and regrown every year, horn is not shed but continues to grow for the lifetime of the goat.  While not as reliable an indicator as teeth, a goat’s age can be approximated by horn

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