Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to trim Saanen goat hooves

Today it was time to give our goats a pedicure, or hoof trimming. This is needed as many problems can occur due to untrimmed hooves. These hooves grow very fast and need trimming each month. Just think of it as your own finger nails and how they need tending to, and the job will be much easier.

You first have to tie her up to a post or some place her in the milking station, I just use her feeder that way she can feed while I do my duty.

You should inspect all hooves to check for damage, conditions and concerns like foot rot caused by infections.

I then pull her leg up while she balance's on her other three legs. Her head also can rest on your shoulder or arm. watch out as the dam can bite your buttons off. Also be aware that she will resist a bit but if you stay with her and hold her tight, she will relax.
  While trimming the back hooves, I just find it easier to mount the goat reversed. This way I can control the goat from moving too much.

Here you can see the hoof curling inward trapping bacteria, feces and possible twigs. Also the hoof cracks, and has the potential to split up into the sensitive area that might make the dam to walk on it awkwardly which could lead the goat to be crippled.

With a sharp knife I trim a small portion at a time until I get down to the pad. Some use special sheers or hoof trimmers, but here in the bush this knife will due. As you get down to the pad, if you are not careful, you might take too much off causing a bit of bleeding. Don't worry, it will grow back. But another indicator will be that the hoof will turn a bit pinkish showing you are getting to the blood area.

Here is one hoof trimmed for the first time in her life. As it grows out properly, I will trim it further down. I just wanted the inside hoof to grow a bit more as it was in bad shape.
 Over all it is an intense job which takes about 20 min per goat. If you go too fast or are in a hurry, you run the risk of cutting too much off.