Hoof trimming is a necessary task, especially for goats that are bound for the show ring. Goats in the show pen need to be trimmed every 21-30 days. Goats that live in rocky terrain may never need their feet trimmed. If the feet are not trimmed properly, the goat cannot stand and walk soundly.
There are a variety of different foot trimmers available designed for sheep and goats. Burdizzo and Felco probably make the best all around trimmers. The small trimmers are nice for the show box. They are great for goats that are trimmed regularly. For larger does and bucks, the Burdizzo and Felco trimmers are needed. Sometimes for large old bucks, horse hoof trimmers do a good job. Trimmers can be purchased at most of the supply houses ( Nasco, Jeffers, Premier ) or from your local dealer. Stay away from the trimmers with the serrated edges. They cannot be sharpened. Click here to see the different trimmers.
Have a way to securely hold the goat. Either have someone hold the goat for you, or tie them to the fence. When I just have a few goats to trim I prefer to use a trimming stand. The only drawback with hoof trimming on a stand is you can not watch them move to make corrections.
Keep your hoof trimmers well oiled & sharpened. Goat's feet are usually softer after a good rain. When trimming hooves, be sure to treat foot rot. If you quick the goat, have Kopertox or iodine available to treat the wound. Hoof trimming should be done a week before the show, if you quick your show goat, it will give him or her time to heal. Better safe than sorry. Be careful when trimming - don't accidentally trim your fingers!
Start by evaluating the goat while he walks. Does he hock in? Is he splay footed? Is the goat down on his pasterns? Secure the goat to be trimmed. I like to use a trimming stand to trim feet on. The only draw back is you can’t watch the animal move. Trim front feet flush. Don’t forget the heels. Trim the inside toe just a little shorter than the outside toe. If the goat is splay footed (turns his toes out) bevel the outside edge of the inside toe at a 45 degree angle. This will cause the goat to turn his toes in to the correct position when he walks. Sometimes you can see results immediately, some improvement will happen over the next 24-48 hours as the ligaments and muscles are retrained.
If a goat is cow hocked (turned in at the hocks) trim the rear feet flush. Then trim the inside toe just a little shorter than the outside toe. Bevel the outside edge of the outside toe at a 45 degree angle. This will push the hocks out and the toes in as they walk.
If a goat is down on his/her pasterns make sure his heels are trimmed short enough. Long heels will cause goats to be down on their pasterns. With severe cases the rear toes actually point up towards their belly! Sometimes in Boer goats we see young goats that are down on their pasterns. They seem to be fine one day, and then over night are walking down on their pasterns. Make sure the goats feet are trimmed properly. If they are you may want to talk to your vet about purchasing a selenium supplement. These goats grow so quickly sometimes the ligaments don’t have time to catch up with the bone and muscle growth.