Goats need to have strong feet and legs to survive. Overgrown hooves can cause goats pain and suffering. Goats with overgrown hooves may not be able to move to where the feed may be located. "Wild" goats keep their hooves in good shape by wearing the hooves off on the rough rocks. A "domesticated" goat must rely on her owner to keep it's hooves in good condition. A domesticated goat will need its hooves trimmed ideally every 3 - 4 months, but at least 2 times a year.
When kids are born they have perfect feet. The line of the hoof is parallel to the Hair line of the foot. When trimming the hooves of goats, try to keep this parallel line between hoof and hairline. The hoof should also be trimmed so that it is flat and level on the bottom.
To trim a goat's hooves, one of the following tools is needed, a hoof nipper, a pocket knife, or a pair of pruning shears. (Use extreme caution when working with sharp tools.) A rasp will also be required to make a smooth finish on the hooves.
- Restrain the goat, and lift the first hoof to be trimmed. Always fold the leg with the natural movement of the joints of the leg.
- Using the tool of your choice slowly remove pieces of the overgrown hoof. When you see pink, (on the hoof), STOP, if you cut any farther the animal will bleed.
- Cut off all of the hoof that has grown down from the sides, and folded over. If a good job has been done, the hoof will be flat and level.
- Use a hoof rasp to make a smooth finish on the hooves.
- If the animal should bleed, you will need to wash the hoof off, and soak the hoof in hydrogen peroxide, or any other disinfecting solution.
Repeat this process as necessary and your goat will have a solid foundation on which to thrive.