For some people, homesteading is scary. You have to deal with animals, plants, and a whole new different lifestyle. Well, one thing I’m learning to overcome is the fear of trimming my goats’ hooves. That may not sound like a scary thing, but I hate running the risk of hurting one of my animals.
So trimming their hooves was always a really scary thing to me, until I learned how to do it correctly. That is why I’m going to share with you how to properly trim your goat’s hooves. That way you can do it safely and your goats can be healthy and vibrant.
Here is how you trim your goat’s hooves:
What You’ll Need:
1. Place the Goat on the Milking Stand
Goats are not huge fans of having their hooves trimmed. So for their safety and yours it is a good idea to place them on a milking stand while performing this task.
Which means, you’ll need to first make sure you have a milking stand on hand. If not, this is a great resource for building your own milking stand.
Once you have the milking stand ready, you’ll need to place a favorite grain in the bucket of the stand to encourage the goat to be happy while on the milking stand.
For my goats, sweet feed is a must on a milking stand. They rarely get sweet feed so it is a big deal when it comes out.
So whatever treat keeps your goats happy is what you’ll want to use. Once you have your goat secured on the milking stand, you’re ready to begin.
2. Let Them Pitch a Fit
When you begin the hoof trimming process you’ll want to grab the hoof that you’re working on and bend it at the knee. This is so you can have a better grip and be in a better position to work on the hoof itself.
However, your goat probably is not going to like this. Let’s be real for a second. You are making them stand on three hooves which probably isn’t the most comfortable position for them.
And you’re interrupting their snack.
So naturally, they are going to be a little peeved. It is better to let them stomp their feet and try to flop you off of their hoof before beginning the trimming process.
As I mentioned before, I was always terribly afraid of cutting to close to the quick of the hoof. If they are fighting against you, it ups your chances of it actually happening. That is why it is better to let them get their fit out of the way before beginning the actual trimming process.
3. Start at the Front and Work Around
This is a preference, but you’ll need to pick a rhythm to trim the hooves in. If you start at the front and then go to the back hoof.
Then over to the other back hoof and finish on the opposite front hoof, then you aren’t having to moving so much. For me, starting in the front and working around is just a smoother method.
But truly, it is your call. If you find a better trimming rhythm for you, then by all means, go for it.
So once you have picked the hoof that you are going to start with and your goat is over their fit of awkwardness, then you’ll need to bend the hoof back at the knee.
Then you’ll line the clippers up with the overgrown part of the hoof and clip that part off. There are a few details that will help you not to trim the hoof too close, but I’ll discuss those in greater detail further down in this post.
4. Sit Behind the Goat to Trim Back Hooves
When you move around to the backside of the goat, you’ll want to sit behind the goat instead of beside it. It just makes for an easier time trimming in my opinion.
So again, when you get situated, you’ll want to bend the hoof at the knee so you have a better grip for trimming.
Then begin to slowly trim the overgrown part of the hoof (the front wall) down to where it should be. That is when it is even with the rest of the hoof.
Also, you should trim the heel gradually as well. You’ll want to clip it down until it is even with the sole of the hoof.
5. Start Trimming…Slowly
This is the trick to properly trimming goat hooves. You’ll need to trim the hooves very slowly. Instead of going in with the hoof clippers and snipping away, you’ll want to make smooth, shallow strokes so you don’t cut too close.
Then you’ll get the hooves nice and even without causing the goat to bleed.
However, it is obvious when you are getting close to the quick (which is the blood flow in the hoof.) You’ll realize it because the hoof begins to turn pink. When you see any sign of pink on the hoof, then you’ll know to quit trimming because you are getting close.
But if you do end up getting too close on the goat’s hoof, don’t panic. Instead, sprinkle a healthy dose of the Blood Stop Powder on the hoof and it should help stop the blood quickly.
Other Trimming Options:
Nothing will really take the place of the proper trimming techniques for trimming goats’ hooves. If you don’t trim your goats’ hooves, they could potentially get to the point where they can no longer walk properly.
However, if you trim their hooves unevenly, it can leave them struggling to walk too. So here are a few alternatives to traditional trimming that may help you to prolong your trimming times.
1. Cinder Blocks