Hoof trimming
I notice there is a half hour video and a book available on hoof trimming. Are these overkill or is there that much to it? I did knick one of my boys yesterday while trimming. So maybe it would be good to get some training material. Can it be summarized in a discussion here or not?
All I want for Christmas is a new hip.
I'll bet you can find a video on YouTube. I got a booklet on hoof trimming, but honestly it was more something I had to learn by look and feel. Seems like all the pictures and diagrams in the world never look the same as when you're standing there with a hoof in one hand and nippers in the other. It would have been nice to have a knowledgable friend to help me out, but when I first got Cuzco I was the only person I knew who had a goat. As long as your goats appear to have normal hooves and no "issues" you should be ok if you take your time to trim carefully and try to maintain an even appearance. I'm not an expert by any means, but I've picked up a few things over the years.

Try to achieve levelness and symmetry, but don't get so hung up on it that you neglect each goat's unique conformation. The best lesson I learned about trimming goat hooves actually came from the guy who trims my horses. He's a barefoot natural trimmer who works WITH an animal's conformation rather than trying to correct something that can't be fixed. My horse, Jet, is somewhat pigeon-toed, and when farriers tried to achieve a perfectly oval hoof, his problem got worse. The guy I have now trimmed Jet along his normal wear patterns (he wears down the outside edges while the inside toes stay slightly longer) rather than trying to "correct" them, and we've never looked back. He doesn't allow the hooves to take on an exaggerated appearance by any means, but he also doesn't try to mess with what nature has provided as a means of compensating for Jet's less than perfect conformation.

He also taught me a lot about break-over. Too many hoof trimming guides show the hoof trimmed straight all the way to the end with no rounding. All my goats have benefitted from having their toes rounded up at the end for easy break-over. This helps their movement and eliminates that nasty little "hole" at the hoof tip that can trap all kinds of muck and bacteria. I'm not afraid to get a bit aggressive with rounding out the tips. I also make sure to trim hooves when it's wet out to make them easier to cut, especially with Cuzco, who has incredibly tough, thick hoof walls and soles. Trimming his hoofs in summer is like cutting through truck tires. I don't recommend it.
Thanks Nanno!
All I want for Christmas is a new hip.
That's great info. What do you use to round the tips? I like that idea because I hate that pocket.
I just use the nippers to trim the tips back, and I'll sometimes use a rasp to smooth them, but usually they do that pretty well themselves just by walking.

I have to say, Cuzco is the poster child for perfect feet and I really wish I'd taken some photos of them a few years ago when he was in his prime. During the four years we kept him in our backyard in Colorado City, I barely touched his hooves because he trimmed them so well on his own just from regular walks on gravel and blacktop roads, as well as his frequent summer hikes. With his nice conformation and excellent way of moving, he wore down all eight toes exactly the same so I never had to do anything. He developed incredibly thick walls (which he still has today), firm, springy, well-calloused soles, and perfect levelness front to back and side to side. That's when I discovered that a really nice goat hoof isn't angled to a point like in the hoof trimming diagrams--Cuzco developed a rounded break-over, heavily calloused, just from walking. If every goat had hooves like Cuzco's, we'd never see things like thrush or foot rot. I wish I could credit my excellent trimming technique for his nice hooves, but no... Cuzco has natural talent in that department.

Nowadays his reduced activity combined with arthritis in his left front foot and loss of muscle tone in his hind end have shown themselves in his no-longer-perfect hooves. I have to trim them now, and I notice his left front usually needs more trimming than his right, and his right tends to cave inwards a little bit. His heels usually need trimming now as well, which was something I'd never done before in his life. His soles aren't as thick and even these days, but he still has wonderful thick walls (which make him impossible to trim in the summer) and those excellent rounded toes with thick callouses on them. His teeth may be falling out, but at least his hooves aren't letting him down!
I wish we had hooves like that around here. All the goats, with the exception of a few have sidewalls that seperate and break and fall apart. It's not hoof rot, just all this water we have. They have plenty of dry places to stand, but it doesn't help. Hoof trimming for us must be done every 4 weeks or sooner or things get out of hand fast. Has always been that way. We built a big sturdy stanchion (http://www.motherearthnews.com/homestead...fzraw.aspx) and I get up on it with the goats and trim. Usually I sit on it with their front feet on my knee or leg and I stand on the stanchion with them to do the back feet. I stand over the kids with them in between my legs and with the big goats I stand off to the side and work on the oposite leg so they can't move back and forth. Works pretty good. I agree with Nanno, you kinda just have to get in there and do it to learn. We watched a lot of videos and read articles on trimming, but it never looked the same once you actually do it. Always learning with these guys.
When I had places my goats could get up off the ground I almost never had to trim--they would actually bite their nails.

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