It's time for the goats to get their hooves trimmed again so I thought I'd share a few pictures and the basics of how we care for hooves around here. I should start off by saying that I am far from a pro at this. I learned to trim hooves from videos and pictures with a little help from our wonderful local large animal vet. You'll see that each of our goats, the motley crew that the are, present a different challenge.
Since most of the goats are used to getting up on the milk stand, that is where I decided to do the trimming. I like to give them a bucket with a mix of feed, course alfalfa hay, and even some alfalfa cubes just to keep them occupied and unconcerned about what's happening to their feet.
I don't think Josie's feet were ever trimmed before we got her. She used to get these deep craters in the pads of her hooves. I'm glad to see that with lots of good care, her hooves are looking much more healthy.
Dr. Naylor's Hoof 'n Heel.
When we first got our sheep, pretty much every one of them was suffering from some pretty bad hoof rot on at least one foot. Using the Hoof 'n Heel and trimming back those problem areas did a great job of virtually eliminating the problem in our flock in a matter of a few months.
Once it is cut back as far as I am able to cut, I treat the pocket. Sometimes I will then pack the area with either hoof tar or a thick lanolin ointment to try and keep out moisture and debris.
With a hoof like this, I will make a note to check it again in a few weeks to make sure it is growing out properly. It may need more trimming and treatment before the bad area grows out. As you can see with Josie's feet, we have had a lot of success in turning very bad feet into normal healthy ones by staying on top of the trimming.
I should note that hoof trimming does not hurt the goats unless you cut back past the pink to the blood supply. If you cut too deep, they will bleed just like a dog whose nails have been cut too short.
Even though our girls should be used to having their feet done, they still do a fair amount of squirming and kicking when their feet are handled. I tend to just hang on and wait them out. They eventually settle down enough that I can work. Some of the sheep have to be laid on their side for this. While I was trying to take pictures, Thea managed to get a good whack at my new camera. Whoopi once kicked me right in the nose so use caution!