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!