Overgrown goat hoof issues are a big problem for goats. It’s unlikely that you will always keep up with hoof trimming. Life gets busy, bad weather occurs, goats are feisty and hard to control, and the next thing you know it’s been too long. Your goats have overgrown hooves.
Keeping up with hoof trimming should be a priority for all goat owners. The first step in the proper care of goats is learning how to perform a proper hoof trimming. I understand that it can be scary to begin cutting off hoof material on your goat. The hoof shears are very sharp, and your goat is probably not going to cooperate.
Gather Supplies for Hoof Trimming
The first steps in a successful remedy of overgrown goat hoof issues is to gather the tools for the job. You will want the hoof shears to be sharp. Struggling with a wiggly goat while trying to cut through excess hoof material is not fun. The sharp clippers will help you cut the first time, with less struggle.
Treats are helpful for keeping your goat distracted. A yummy snack also helps the goat associate hoof trimming with good things.
It is possible to trim an overgrown goat hoof without placing the goat on a stand, but it’s much easier if you have one. A simple home made milking stand is all you need, or you can purchase a metal stand from a livestock supply retailer. The goat stand will provide a way for you to secure the goat’s head and reduces movement while you trim the hooves.
What to Look for on the Overgrown Goat Hoof
Goat hooves grow from the sides down and the overgrowth folds under the hoof. The over grown goat hoof provides a place for pockets of mud, manure, and rot to hide out. It is recommended that goat hooves be trimmed every 6-8 weeks to keep this under control. If I am honest, I will tell you that I usually can get to this every 10 weeks.
Supplies for Hoof Trimming
Get ready for overgrown goat hoof care by gathering the supplies and tools. Here’s what I use.
- Hoof Shears
- Towel for wiping muddy hooves
- Hoof Pic
- Treats to distract the goat
- Milking stand or some way to hold the goat still
- Cornstarch for a blood stop if needed
Removing the Overgrown Goat Hoof Material
Once your goat is secure, run your hand down a front leg, towards the hoof and life the lower leg, while bending it at the knee joint. If necessary, wipe away mud and use the hoof pick to clear out excess mud and manure from the bottom of the foot. Be careful to not dig or scrape too hard as the center is softer tissue than the outer rim.
Once you can clearly see the over grown goat hoof material, use your clippers to trim away the excess hoof growth. The final shape should be wedge like. If your goat has extreme overgrown goat hooves, you might need to work in slow, frequent trimmings, to get the shape back to normal.
Moving on to the Back Feet
Usually I work around the goat from front foot to back feet and finish on a positive note with the remaining front foot. Once you have trimmed your goats hooves you will understand what I mean by this. Here’s the psychology behind the goat behavior.
Goats are prey animals. If a large predator was chasing the goat, the back leg is often what they will catch, and pull the goat down. The instinct when you try to grab the back leg and work on overgrown goat hoof care, is to resist. The goat will fight you, kick, and even try to jump from the stand. Be ready. This is a great time for a helper to distract your goat with treats and soft words.
Work Quickly on the Back Feet to Reduce Stress
If you are ready for this behavior you can prepare by pinning the goat more firmly against the wall, talking to reassure the goat that it is you, and working as quickly as possible. While your goat may never be completely comfortable during hoof trimming, a continued regular routine will reduce the anxiety.
Overgrown Goat Hoof Care – What Else to Look For
Examine the hoof for general good structure. Is there any odor, soft spots on the outer hoof, and rotting? Note any areas of tenderness and look for the cause. If the ground has been very wet, the goat may have early signs of hoof scald. Hoof rot has a particular smell and is caused by a fungus and a bacteria.
Healthy hooves are integral to good goat health. If a goat experiences pain when walking, it will browse less, move less, and eat less. Some goats that need overgrown goat hoof care will even begin walking on their knees. Hoof trimming is one of the most important care routines you will perform on your goats.