Goat Hoof Care
You may have heard the saying, "He's as sure-footed as a mountain goat," which refers to someone who has great balance. This equation of balance with goats comes from the fact that goats have strong feet and legs, and they indeed have good balance that allows them to climb along steep hills and narrow mountain pathways. Hooves on a goat are very important to the goat's overall health, so trimming your goats' hooves every 3 - 4 months, or at least twice per year, is vital to preventing painful hoof overgrowth.
How to Trim Goat Hooves
Here are some tips for how to trim your goat's hooves:
- Have hoof nipper, pocket knife or pair of pruning shears handy. You will also need a rasp.
- Restrain the goat and position the animal so that you can easily access all four hooves.
- Be careful not to bend the goat's leg in the wrong direction as you are working.
- Use caution when working with sharp tools for the safety of both you and the goat.
- Using the tool of your choice, slowly and methodically trim away excess pieces of the overgrown hoof.
- STOP when you can see pink coloring on the hoof. This means you are getting close to the goat's cuticle and the animal will feel it.
- When trimming your goat's hooves, keep in mind how the goat's hooves looked when the goat was a kid. The hair line above the foot should be parallel to the bottom line of the hoof.
- Hooves should be flat and level on the bottom.
- Once you feel good about the shape of the hoof, use the rasp to smooth it down so that there are no jagged edges.
- If you accidentally trim too far and cause the goat to bleed, wash the hoof and soak in hydrogen peroxide or some other type of disinfecting solution.