Friday, March 18, 2011

Trimming Hooves

When I first started reading about taking care of goats, I was surprised to learn that I would need to trim their hooves about every six months. I mentioned this to my husband who spent some time with his cousins' goats in Greece, and he looked at me like I was nuts. To explain, the goats in Greece pretty much free-ranged along the mountainside, running about wherever they wished. They were half wild things and naturally wore down their hooves by climbing across rocks and other surfaces that filed their hooves down.

Goats living in a limited space with no rocks to climb on will not wear down those overgrown toenails without help. I plan to place some cinder blocks in the pen for mine so they can climb on them and do some of the dirty work for me.

The other day I got a hold of Booger (omg by the wailing you'd think I was killing the poor little guy) and trapped him in my new stanchion table from He mellowed after he figured out there was free food. I gave him a long talking to and some pets, then did my first hoof trimming job.

Now, Dennis, the guy I bought my goats from, had made this all look super easy. He grabbed up Big Momma, plopped her on his table and snap-snap, nip-nip, he was lopping off chunks of hoof that went flying backward to be eaten by his dog. (Um ew. Dogs will eat anything.) He explained to stop cutting when I could see pink beneath the white, to cut evenly with the upper line of the hoof, and he made it look like any nut with a pair of hoof shears could do it.

Luckily, I was more careful, opting to gently place Booger on the table with both arms underneath him rather than grabbing him by the collar (which really freaks him out and tends to gag him). I managed to lock his head into the device and let him relax a while before I began. So um, I grabbed his front right leg and pulled it up. He wasn't in very bad shape. A little curling around the edges. Nip...pause...inspect, nip...pause...inspect...slow nip...itty bitty nip... Well, you get the idea. I probably should have cut off a whole lot more, but I figure I can try again another day. Booger ate all his goat pellets and wasn't bleeding anywhere. I let him go free and he seemed happy enough. I considered the whole ordeal a small success.

Maybe I can do this goat farming thing...

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