How to Trim Goat Hooves

Last Updated: 17.07.19

 

Goats are animals that have some particular needs, therefore choosing the right feeder can be important, but if you want more information on this, you can check it out here. In terms of ensuring their proper maintenance, another thing you will need to do is to regularly trim their hooves.

This is a very effective way to prevent any infections that might otherwise appear, as well as to ensure the comfort of these animals. In case you’ve never done this before, you might be a little overwhelmed about the idea. However, you should not worry, since the process is pretty straightforward and, depending on your goat’s willingness, it might not be that hard to do.

As a general rule, you should be gentle, take your time with this task, and avoid any kind of trimming into the hoof’s pink area. With this mind, let’s take a look at what steps you need to take in order to effectively do this.

 

Materials

Before you start, you should make sure that you have everything you need in terms of materials and tools, and that they are within reach. Since it’s only natural for an animal to not be a fan of this process, you might have some difficulties in grabbing clippers or brushes if the goat keeps moving around.

The first thing you will need is a brush that you can use to clean and dust off the goat’s foot before starting the actual trimming part. A rasp also comes in handy, since hooves need to be leveled with the ground, which means that you will need to flatten them. You should be able to get a rasp at one of the livestock stores in your area, or you can purchase one online.

Another pretty important part of the necessary gear consists of gloves. Since these animals can get messy, you will want to protect your hands in the process. As you’re probably adding things to a shopping list, don’t forget about the clippers you’ll need.

 

 

There are two different types that you should get, a hoof knife and hoof shears. Of course, both of these need to be sharpened and in top shape for the task.

Another product that, while optional, might prove to be useful is some blood-stop powder. Of course, you will do your best to avoid any such situations, but in case you do accidentally cut a bit too deep, you need to be prepared to treat that area with something. This powder should also be a available at a local store.

 

Getting ready  

Once you have everything you need, the next step of the process is to soften the hooves, since it’s much easier to get the job done like that. You can wait for a rain and then proceed to trimming them. However, if you don’t have that time, you can simply dampen some grass with a hose and allow your goats to spend some time there.

After this, you will need to restrain the animal, and the way to do this depends a lot on various factors. One is the goat’s temperament, while others might depend on the space you have available. If you are dealing with a docile representative of these usually active creatures, then you can use a milking stand.

Make sure that you take all the necessary measures to prevent the goat from falling off. However, if you are not as lucky and your goat has a strong temperament, then you can tie him or her to a fence. In case it’s possible, you should get another person to help you out as you lift the feet for cleaning and trimming.

 

Getting to the cleaning part

You cannot really see what you are supposed to do if the hooves are covered in mud, so you need to clean them before doing any kind of trimming. That’s where the brush mentioned earlier comes in handy. Use it to remove any dirt, manure, or mud that might be on the exterior.

The hoof’s interior is just as important, so gently lift it up and pick out any kind of mud, rocks, or dirt that might be trapped there. Be careful and thorough in this process, since it’s crucial for you to see what and where you will be trimming.

 

Trimming

The hooves can easily become overgrown when the animals are kept within a farm or another domestic setting, since this environment doesn’t involve challenges otherwise met in the wild, such as jumping or climbing.

Therefore, when you are done with the cleaning step, you are ready to begin the trimming one. The front of the nail is the first stop, and you need to use the hoof shears here. You can proceed to clipping at the tip of the front nails and keep doing that until a white surface emerges.

 

 

Once you do see this surface, you need to stop the clipping part, since if you reach a pink layer, there’s a chance to make the goat bleed. In terms of the way you clip, you should do this in a straight line, since the goat’s hooves will need to be leveled to the ground.

Next, you can move towards cutting along each side of the nail, using the same tool. Since each foot has two toes, and two heels on each of them, you’ll need to clip around every one of these, following the same rule and stopping when you reach the white part.

 

Leveling the bottom

This step of the trimming process matters a lot since leveling the hooves allows goats to walk smoothly. For this part, you’ll need to use either the rasp or the knife. If you choose the first alternative, you need to make the movements starting from the heel towards the toe, while if you use a knife it’s the other way around.

Through multiple strokes, proceed to removing thin layers one after the other, until the hooves are flat and the goat is able to comfortably step on them.

 

 

 

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