Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why We Trim Goat Hooves.....

Since small farm girl asked about why we trim the goat hooves and what would happen if we didn't.. I thought I would blog about it...

So here it is....

Why We trim Goat Hooves....

For one thing they are like our fingernails. They grow all the time. Most goats are indigenous either to Rocky or Dry areas. Then we take them out of their natural habitat and take them all over the world.. Goats were one of the first animals to be Domesticated by humans over 4000 years ago. We as in the Human race, have used them for Meat,Milk, Hide and as pack animals too....

Okay back to hooves... So when the goats are climbing rocks and scraping at tree bark they naturally trim their hooves.. If its a dry area they tend to grind down and flake off easier.

But when you have a wet or humid area the hooves tend to grow more... Then if you dry lot your goats or they have deep bedding there is nothing to hinder the growth of the hoof.. They can get mud and things packed in the hoof and then the outer wall starts closing in around the gunk.. It can lead to lameness and disease.. The primary disease most owners fear is Hoof Rot.. Once they get it, it is hard to get rid of and requires alot of work to get it completely taken care of.. There is also hoof scald not as serious as hoof rot. They can also chip off chunks if they get to long, cause it to go deep and get sore.. Then it would be open for some kind of infection to get in.


Fias Co Farm has a great tutorial on trimming hooves! It helped me when I was learning...


I had a rock pile at one place for them to climb on and it helped. The last place was to wet everywhere and I was constantly needing to trim.. Very hard to keep up with.. Here I have a nice little rock ledge in the pasture. The goats absolutely adore that spot! They dig at it,climb it and sleep in it.. I have a picture on my Other PC of it.. I would love to add a stack of concrete blocks or rock in their lot to encourage the climbing. I have yet to get it done.

I used a small set of pruning shears for a few years. They got dull real quick and may have made it through 1-2 trimmings before needing sharpened.. I finally bought a pair of Goat hoof trimmers From Jeffers Livestock Supply.. Ooo they are great! It cut my time trimming in half.. I have since added the wood rasp this last time and they look so nice!!

I trim it to be even with the hairline on the hoof. Its an easy guideline. I have had them jerk at the wrong time, deciding they were done when I wasn't and made them bleed.. I have had to wrestle a few to get them to cooperate. I trim about every six weeks. If its a dry summer I can usually let it go for about 8 weeks.. If you keep them in good shape trimming becomes less of a chore. Sometimes in the spring if its really wet you have to trim about once a month and it can be only certain goats that have trouble with it.

On the milkers its much easier because before or after milking you can trim a few each day and not worry about luring them into place.. Of course my goats will follow a bucket just about anywhere!!! I have even thrown gravel in the bucket in a pinch and rattle it to get them to follow.. Collars also come in handy if you have a reluctant goat.. We try to teach all of ours to lead with the collar. Some of them still fight it but most will follow us.

A goat/milk stand makes it much easier for most of them. A bucket of grain helps out even more with most.. even though some are more interested in what You are doing than what is in the bucket.. Some can't decide.... Some are just trying to escape because the free food has to be a trick!!

So that is basically why we trim goat hooves......

5 comments:

tree ocean said...

The ones in the pic look like a job well done! I can't spy a straight line to save my life so I should try to file afterwards...

since yours are all done maybe i should take a before pic of Nic for you to show the difference...lol I am dreading him (this afternoon hopefully)

Feral Female said...

Very nice explanation of why we trim our goats hooves. I have to agree that a pair of well made hoof trimmers is worth it`s weight in gold!

Mrs. Bee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Bee said...

I think blogger doesn't like me today...one more time...
Thank you for the good tips on trimming hooves. I won't tell Hubby I read it or he'll let me do it from now on!!
May I copy your Eat Sleep Feed Goats pic? It is SO true and I only have 6!

small farm girl said...

Thanks Tonia. Now I know. I've always heard about people trimming hooves on goats, now I know why.

Thanks,

sfg