Goat Hoof trimming – updated February 2013

Goat Hoof Trimming
by Carrie Eastman

I’ve learned more since I first posted about trimming.  This is revised as of February 2013. 
I have collected reference photos of ideal wild hooves, trimming tools and anatomy on Pinterest.  http://pinterest.com/oakhillfainters/goat-hoof-care/
Your tools are important.  Some prefer hoof trimmers, some small pruning scissors, some snub-nosed wire cutters.  My preferred tools are a hoof trimmer and a pocket rasp. 
It is also good to be prepared with some blood stop/styptic powder, Yunan Pao, and/or my favorite liquid trace minerals, in case you cause some bleeding.
Take the time to read through the articles, particularly the ones discussing corrective trims.
Watch how your goat stands and walks before you start to trim.
Take pictures.  This helps you remember how your goat stood before the trim.

One of my favorite trimming articles:  http://fiascofarm.com/goats/hoof-trim-rf.htm
Excellent corrective trimming article with pictures: http://www.gorge-usboergoats.com/hoof_trimming.htm

This article gets into some corrective trimming for goats that turn out or turn in:  http://www.barnonemeatgoats.com/hooftrimming.html
Some more at the end of this article on corrective trimming:  http://www.goatworld.com/articles/feet/hooftrimming.shtml

A VERY important note about some of these reference articles:  Several authors refer to the shape of a newborn’s hooves as the guide for future trimming, and the justification for the popular high-heeled trim that creates a box shaped hoof.  This is incorrect!  The shape of the newborn’s hooves changes as soon as the tendons start getting used.

Here are some before and after pictures starring Dreamer.  In the front shot, notice that his stance is a little wider after the trim.  He’s still turning out a bit in front.  I took off all I could this trim, so I’ll retouch in a week and see if we can get those toes back where they belong.  He used to be perfectly straight, so this is a result of going too long between trims.  In the rear shot, before the trim he was a bit down in pasterns, probably because his hooves were too long.  After the trim, his pasterns are back up and you can see more daylight between his hocks.  The ground is very soft after all the rain and with the loose hay, which also makes it harder to judge the changes.  Standing them on firm ground to check your work is a good idea.
Next time I’ll get some before and after video to show movement.

Happy Trimming!

Carrie and the Oak Hill gang

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

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