Hoof-Trimming Party


I like to trim goat hooves in my apron and pink fuzzy slippers. You?

On Labor Day, we had company over for a cookout with brats on homemade buns, country-style green beans, and corn on the grill. When we have people over, often we like to get them involved.

We like to pretend as if we are a dude ranch.

Here at Stringtown Rising Farm we offer fun farming activities for your visiting pleasure. Like fencing. Or moving sheep.

Or, maybe, just maybe, we like to get other people to do our chores.

Goat’s hooves have an outer layer that grows just like fingernails, and so must be trimmed periodically. How fast their hooves grow varies from goat to goat and sometimes from hoof to hoof on the same goat. It depends on how they wear them down. If they are on grass or soft bedding (like straw), they won’t wear their hooves down much naturally. If you can give them something harder to prance around on occasionally, they will do a better job on their own. (I’d like to get some big rocks in the goat yard for that.) Still, some hoof care is always required, and usually they need to be checked, and trimmed, about every two or three months. If a goat’s hooves are neglected, they can get foot rot, so it’s important to take care of them.

Sheep’s hooves require trimming also, by the way. We have our shearer take care of that at shearing time. We have a farrier who tends regularly to the donkeys. But we do the goats ourselves. As with many other issues relating to animal care, hoof-trimming goats is just easier because, for the most part, goats cooperate. They’re friendly little buggers, light enough to pick up, and little enough to sit on your lap. They like you, and they’ll do anything for a cookie.

To trim the goats’ hooves, we take them out one at time from the goat yard. They are so excited! Maybe we are going to the circus! Maybe we are going to town! Maybe we are going to the Keebler elves’ cookie warehouse!

Unfortunately for them, we are just going to the porch steps.

You start with scraping out the dirt and gunk under the hoof so you can see everything better. I just use the tip of the clipping shears to clean them out.

Then you just pull away the nail on all sides to see where it has started to overgrow the soft, fleshy pad of the hoof.

The pointy toe of the hoof at the front also needs to be trimmed back, and check carefully around the back of the hoof. It’s really not that bad, and it doesn’t hurt unless you accidentally cut into the soft part of the hoof. If you do that, they will let you know right away.

Hooves are really hard and sometimes I have to use both hands on the clippers to make the cut.

Clover looked like she was falling asleep during her hoof-trimming session.

It’s so much work when you have babies. You have to sleep every chance you get.

Sometimes they act like they’re dying.

This is not Mr. Pibb’s favorite position.

It’s okay, Mr. Pibb. It will be over soon.

Nutmeg wasn’t real happy about it either. By the way, I love her dangly earrings.

They’re called wattles. They’re small, fleshy appendages that are hereditary.

Clover doesn’t have them, but Nutmeg got them somewhere down the breeding line. She may or may not have babies with wattles, but the gene is there. Some people don’t like them and actually remove them when they’re babies. (They serve no purpose.)

I think they’re decorative and adorable, and I hope Nutmeg has babies with wattles.

Back to hoof-trimming–I showed our guests how to do it.

They trimmed hooves and I trimmed hooves and then–

–when they had worked enough, I let them come into the house to get dinner.

And that’s just another day on the farm with company. Who’s next? The chicken house needs cleaned out and somebody’s gotta split all this wood!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 8, 2010  

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24 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 9-8

    That looks much easier, more fun and less traumatic than trying to cut cat claws!!!

  2. 9-8

    Suzanne — we were wanting to come to your covered dish party at the farm but now I can’t find the info! Can you please post the info again or direct us where we can find it? THANKS!

  3. 9-8

    You make it look so easy :) we need 3 people just to trim our chihuahuas nails…

  4. 9-8

    Stefinity, I’ll email you!

  5. 9-8

    Glad that’s you! When I was in 4-H it was my job to hold the goat and it definitely wasn’t my favorite job!

  6. 9-8

    It’s time to trim our goats hooves and give them their annual shots. I usually trim in my jeans and Crocs but I have to have my hair pulled back. I can’t do anything with my hair falling in my face. I look at your pics and think how can she do that with all that long pretty hair hanging down. I’d have mine twisted up in a bun!

  7. 9-8

    We are planning a bonfire gathering soon complete with tin foil dinners and s’mores for dessert. I think we should require some afternoon “dude ranch” fun before making the dinners???? We do have some fencing repairs and a couple of chicken tractors to be built. Hmmm… I am thinking this is a wonderful way of getting things done. I like it! Thanks for sharing. I do believe my friends will be happy I read this post as well… LOL!

  8. 9-8

    Gee, can’t wait to see what you are saving for party day!

    I had an ex brother in law that was just like you. (Great guy too)I had a cattle ranch in California and then in Idaho. I used to say that he never thought “Oh, nice, family is coming to visit.” No, he thought “Oh great, more hands, put ’em on a horse and let’s move some cattle.” Every time we went we ended up doing something like that. Boy, do I have the stories to tell!

  9. 9-8

    yep its amazing how much yard work you can get done with an extra set of hands for an hr or 2. we did the same thing this past sunday and had a nice impromptu BBQ after. very nice evening had by all

  10. 9-8

    Those shears look so much safer than a big ole knife, which is what I always used! Never once cut a goat but I certainly trimmed away thumb skin! BTW, when is Mama going to wear her hair like daughter? lol Morgan looks so pretty with her hair up….

  11. 9-8

    I think that’s great! Get everyone involved. Besides, goats are so cute.

  12. 9-8

    LOVE the fuzzy pink slippers!

  13. 9-8

    I think Clover was actually closing her eyes so she couldn’t see what awful thing was happening and thinking, Please God, let it be over!” That’s what my MIL does when the doctor gives her shots.

    I need your kind of company.

  14. 9-8

    I have wattles. But they are on my hips and involve lipid cells.

  15. 9-8

    I have to say I just love this site. I just recently found it and I can hardly tear myself away as I eagerly feast on one fascinating post after another. It’s like Mary Janes Farm only closer to home (I’m in Virginia). The way you walk through every experience makes me want to try them right away. I can totally relate to your way of life, it truly speaks to my heart.

  16. 9-8

    Love this…wish I could have been there, I’d have been glad to ‘help’….

  17. 9-8

    It’s amazing how much your kids favor you. That, in this case, is just a big ol’ blessing.

  18. 9-8

    Oh I think I would like trimming hooves. Suzanne I love your new profile photo! :yes:

  19. 9-8

    Just think how clueless you were when you first got Clover and the kids! Even if I can’t be on a farm, I love how you share your learning experiences with us until you become the voice of authority!!!

  20. 9-8

    Hey, folks..That’s not Morgan in the photo with the ponytail. That is 52’s niece. There is NO WAY we could get Morgan to pull her hair back that neatly! LOL

  21. 9-8

    Okay, girls, pedicures for everyone! Do they get a massage, too?

    It’s nice to see you really using your apron, giving it the patina that a working apron should have.

    Seriously, you could give some thought to that Dude farm idea. Call it hands-on homesteading instruction and charge bucks for it. I bet you’d get lots of takers. Maybe you could alternate lessons in old-fashioned home arts, farming, and romance writing.

  22. 9-8

    Ooooo, and don’t forget gardening lessons. “Alright, I’ll demonstrate how to hoe corn on this row. Got it? Okay, you do the next five rows, and I’ll watch and critique your technique.” :)

  23. 9-9

    Awh….Wattles–Goat jewelry! They are so beautiful. I’ve a few kids running around with them but only one Nigerian. I must find a goat dating site that has a handsome, smelly buck with wattles. :happyflower:

  24. 9-12

    One of mine has wattles. I think they are adorable!

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