Much like yours and mine, goats’ toes require maintenance – but unlike you and me, they are unprotected from the elements, so extra care needs to be taken in making sure they’re trimmed well and often.
Unfortunately, whenever I’m trimming hooves, my hands are kind of full, and I feel a little silly asking my husband to come out and take pictures instead of working for his real job, so here’s a photo of him modeling the milk stand where the hoof trimming takes place.
Today, a gal that’s been coming out to the farm to learn about goats got to help out with trimming the hooves of our entire herd. It took two hours, but everyone got a pedicure: Abigail, Buckbuck, Sketti, Star, Hefe, Peach, Zelda, Cosmo and little Luna. That’s 36 hooves! We couldn’t find my favorite tool of all time (pictured here), so we used a set of tree pruners and a couple of different knives. There are official tools, and then there are the tools that work for you. Whatever does the job best is what you should use.
Trimming hooves isn’t hard, but there is technique to learn: what healthy hoof material looks like, side wall vs. pad, what the quick looks like, and the most important one of all – holding onto a hoof, and a knife, without stabbing yourself, while a goat is kicking repeatedly. I realize that sentence was overwrought and had lots of grammatical errors, but I feel it got the point across.
At any rate, no stabbings occurred, despite a few close calls with Sketti and Star. Luna was too tiny to fit her head into the grain bucket, so she got a pile of grain on the floor of the stand. Peach was as mellow and unperturbed as Buckbuck (seriously, you can do anything to them if there’s grain involved, even moreso than with Abigail). Cosmo… well, little boy Cosmo needed cuddles while his hooves were being trimmed. He required hugs, and pets, and a loving bosom to lay his little head upon while his delicate hooves were being done. My visitor bravely volunteered to snuggle him while I trimmed, and I deeply regret not having taken photos while he took solace in the cuddles.
I really enjoyed showing my friend how to trim hooves, and the goats are all now free from overgrowth, hoof rot, and cracked hooves. It was a definite good day.