Goat Hoof Care
Hoof Rot And Hoof Maintenance For Goats
Goat's hooves are constantly growing and need periodic and regular checking.
How often to check depends on the rate of growth and this is different for every goat.
Usually it is a good idea to check every two to six weeks.
If the hooves become overgrown, they can cause problems for the goat, especially to the goat's joints and legs and can even affect their back.
Also, the act of trimming can become a major job with very overgrown hooves because goats do not like standing for long periods of time.
A hoofing kit should be kept to trim your goats' hooves, which consists of hoof shears and a sharp knife, together with clear Purple or Gentian plant based spray, to stop any bleeding, help seal any wound, and to further prevent bacteria from entering any wounds.
Lavender oil can also be used as an antiseptic, after the hoof is trimmed.
Different breeds of goats have different shapes to their hooves, for example, the Guernsey goats have hooves which slightly turn up at the front.
When you are trimming their feet you want to avoid making them look like a pair of clogs.
Also, the pad of skin under the hooves varies between breeds. For example, Pygmies have a hard pad, which can also be pared very carefully, to avoid cutting any blood vessels.
After placing the goat securely in a goat stanchion, first, you clean the hoof.
It is a good idea to wash the goat's feet thoroughly to remove all the dirt before you start hoof trimming, so that you do not introduce bacteria or germs, or blunt your knife by cutting dirt.
Make sure to remove any packed dirt, or manure from between the two "toes" of the hooves.
Then you trim away any of the excess growth.
You need to make sure that you give a nice flat hoof surface that has good contact with the ground without cutting too much away resulting in bleeding.
If the hoof is uneven with the ground, it will cause the goat to step wrong and result in similar problems as overgrown hooves.
When you start to see pink, you will want to stop cutting.
Some people prefer to use straight-edged or serrated shears, or trimmers while others like to use a very sharp knife to cut the excess hoof away.
One problem that can affect goat’s hooves is called Hoof Rot.
This is a very painful affliction that causes limping and the skin between the two "toes" to become black and necrotic, with an unpleasant odour.
Goats can get Hoof Rot from the soil, where it can live for about three weeks.
It is very difficult to get rid of once it enters the herd.
If you suspect Hoof Rot in your goats, contact your veterinarian.
5th March 2016
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