Goat Hoof Trimming
How To Avoid Hoof Rot And Scald
The condition of a goat's hooves is important to its health.
Hooves are continuously growing. Under natural conditions, goats live in mountainous regions. The ground is normally rocky and the goats are constantly climbing, which wears down the hooves naturally. Domesticated goats do not have this benefit.
It is the goat keeper’s responsibility to take care of the hooves.
Hoof care is done roughly every 4 to 6 weeks.
Timing depends on how fast the hoof grows, and this is an individual trait. This means that each goat's hooves grow at a unique rate.
When the hooves are overgrown, they will need to be trimmed. Goats do not like to stand for too long in one place, so if you wait too long, it will take a long time to finish trimming and cause unnecessary stress to your goat.
The best place to perform this trimming is in a milk stand, or stanchion, where the goat can be kept occupied with food and, at the same time, is well secured and is at a comfortable height for you to work.
Procedure: After securing your goat, remove any dirt, manure or debris, including stones from underneath the soles with a knife, or any other suitable tool.
Wash the soles with water and soap. This is for two reasons: (1) To prevent infection, should the hooves be cut too deeply and (2) Dirt will dull clippers very quickly.
Using the clippers, or a knife to cut away excess hoof, be careful not to go too deep to cause bleeding.
You want to avoid trimming too much off the back of the hooves to avoid slipper foot, which is where their feet goes back on the heels.
The goal of hoof care is, of course, healthy hooves.
There are some health problems that can crop up from time to time. These include Hoof Rot and Scald, which are both highly contagious. Fusobacterium nodosum and Actinomyces pyogenes are common bacteria which can lead to these problems. Hoof Rot is especially difficult to get rid of once it occurs.
Hoof Rot is characterized by a black, necrotic area between the "toes" of the hooves with a foul odour.
The first symptom shown is usually lameness.
Scald also takes place between the "toes," although it is usually due to an area of moisture that does not dry.
This can be caused by wet grass, for example.
These problems can be treated with antibacterial foot baths, however goats do not like to get wet. Also, these products tend to stain the goat's hair, which can be a problem if the hair is to be sold.
6th March 2016
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