We don’t want a life of discomfort for our goats, do we? If you have chosen your goats and prepared for your goats, you know one of the regularly occurring events in goat herd maintenance is making sure your goats always have nicely trimmed hooves. Learning how to trim goat hooves is an essential part of goat ownership.
Why Should You Trim Goat Hooves
Having nicely trimmed hooves is not just for their own goat vanity either. Goat hoof care is important for the goats health.
Trimming goats hooves will help ensure that your goat maintains their health. A goat whose hooves are not trimmed properly or regularly can have the potential to get founder, hoof rot, or just be generally uncomfortable.
We usually start checking our goats hooves to see if they need to be trimmed around 8 weeks of age. They may not need a trimming that young, but that is when you will want to start checking.
How Often Will You Be Trimming Goats Hooves?
Hoof trimming timing will depend on your individual goats as well as their environment. For example, if they have lots of rocks and rough surfaces to climb on their hooves will naturally be shorter and you will not have to trim as often.
You might want to make some fun DIY goat toys so that you an spend less time trimming goat hooves.
Sometimes, it just depends on the individual goat, how often you will need to trim your goat’s hooves. Just like people’s fingernails, different goats hooves grow at different rates. So, you will need to keep an eye on your goats to get an idea of when to trim your goats hooves.
We usually look at trimming our goats hooves about 4 – 6 weeks before our kidding season starts. And during the rest of the year, we usually do a check every month or so.
That is because we have a decently rough terrain that keeps their hooves ground down pretty well. You may want to trim every 2 – 4 weeks depending on what their area looks like.
Goat Hoof Trimming Supplies:
Trimming goats hooves is easy. However, you will need at least a few supplies to get the job done.
Goat Hoof Trimmers
The one basic supply you will definitely need is a pair of goat hoof trimmers. We love this pair from Zenport. They are reasonably priced, but heavy duty enough to last a long time.
Second, you need a hoof pick.
Lastly, you will need to know how to restrain a goat for hoof trimming. There are a few ways both of which require a supply. First (and probably easiest) is to use a milk stand to restrain you goat for hoof trimming. But you can also use a collar and lead and tie the lead to the fence or other solid structure to help hold your goat in place while trimming your goats feet
How to Trim Your Goats Hooves:
Here is the exact process we use when trimming our goats hooves. This method will work whether you are just trimming for maintenance or if your goat’s hooves are overgrown.
1. You’ll need to restrain your goat for hoof trimming.
We generally restrain our goats on the milk stand.
Restraining your goats for when you trim your goats hooves helps to keep them calm and give you more control while you are trimming.
Instead of using a milk stand, you can also stand over them and have the same results. This generally depends on the temperament of your goat.
Or you can use a collar and lead and tie the lead to a solid structure.
Giving them some treats, or food will help keep them calm during the hoof trimming time.
2. Next you’ll need to check your goat hooves.
Look at the top of your goat’s hooves.
You will notice a light line around where the hair of the leg meets the hoof. This is the coronary band and will act as a guide line when you start to trim your goat hooves.
3. Take one leg and look at the bottom.
If the hoof needs trimming you will see the hoof come to a point and almost appear to curve inward.
This is all excess. When you are doing hoof trimming you will need to remove all of this excess or overgrowth.
4. Use your hoof pick.
Before you start learning how to trim goat hooves, you need to get them clean.
Using your hoof pick, gently remove dirt and debris from the cavity created by the hoof walls. If you don’t clean the goat hooves out before doing your hoof trimming it makes it a lot harder to see what you are doing. Also, it is not good to leave your goat hooves super dirty.
5. Start doing your hoof trimming.
Once the area is clear of dirt and debris, take your goat hoof trimmers and cut the excess hoof off using the coronary band as a straight line of sight.
6. You will want to trim as close to the sole of the foot as possible.
In order to be properly trimming your goats hooves, you will want to cut as much of the excess hoof off as you can. This means to cut as close to the sole as possible.
You want to trim slowly though, do not take off big chunks all at once.
7. Don’t trim too much off!
When you trim your goats hooves do be careful not to cut into the goat’s quick. Because, if you do, it can be painful for the goat and may cause bleeding. You will know that you are getting close when you see a slight pink tone in the hoof.
When you trim your goats hooves, if bleeding does occur, you can stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the area and then disinfect as needed.
Repeat this process for trimming all your goats hooves and you will have a happier more comfortable goat.
Remember, the more often you trim your goat’s hooves, the easier it will be every time you do it. We aim for once a month, but check periodically between trimmings.
If you have any questions or comments on how to trim your goats hooves, leave them below. We’d love to hear what you think.