Proper goat hoof care

Taking good care of your goats’ hooves is an essential management practice.

Trimming your goats' hooves will keep them from over-growing and allowing the goat to walk properly. Photo: Kyle Spradley, MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Flickr Creative Commons.

Trimming your goats' hooves will keep them from over-growing and allowing the goat to walk properly. Photo: Kyle Spradley, MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Flickr Creative Commons.

Hoof care in any animal species is a vital part of their management. Goats’ hooves require regular trimming and inspection to determine if there are any hoof problems that could lead to lameness or infection that can be spread among the herd, such as contagious foot rot.

Depending on the environment goats live in, they may need more or less frequent trimming. For example, goats living in rocky conditions where the hoof will wear against the ground may need less frequent trimming than a goat that lives in a grass pasture. Be familiar with the environment your goats live in and keep accurate records of when you perform hoof care. This will help you determine an appropriate schedule for your herd.

Hooves should not be allowed to over-grow as this keeps the animal walking properly. The goal of the trim should be to make the bottom of the hoof be flat and at the same angles as the hair line at the top of the hoof. All dirt and manure should be removed from the hoof prior to trimming. Michigan State University Extension recommends using a hoof pick or the tips of the hoof trimmers to do this. The walls, or sides, and heels should be trimmed flat with the sole. To view the proper way to trim your goats’ hooves, visit eXtension’s Goat Basic Hoof Care.

As always, when trimming your goats’ hooves, pay attention to the health of the hoof. Look for any signs of founder, abscesses, contagious hoof rot or granuloma. Goats that may have hoof infections should be treated accordingly.

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