Hoof trimming goats is a simple task that can be easily learned. The goal of hoof trimming is to allow your goat to walk normally. The lack of trimming, or improper trimming, can lead to foot and leg problems. The amount of time between trimmings depends on many factors, such as type of terrain, the goat's age, level of activity, nutritional level, and genetics. In environmental areas where natural wearing does not occur, producers need to trim hooves on a regular basis. Goats raised in relative confinement and on small acreages may require more frequent trimmings than goats raised in vast pastures. Generally, foot trimming should be done as needed.
Each hoof of the goat has two toes. The wall of each toe tends to overgrow and must be trimmed. The heels of the hoof and the dewclaws (especially on an older goat) may also develop extra tissue that needs to be trimmed. Most producers use foot shears or hoof trimmers. Other tools used may include a hoof knife with sharp edges, a pocketknife or a rasp. Pocketknives or a hoof knife can be dangerous to use for both operator and animal as goats may jump. Some people like to use hoof nippers to cut off the tip of the hoof or file it down with rasps.
Initially, use the point of the hoof trimmers to remove any dirt from the outside and the bottom of the hoof. The front of badly overgrown hooves can then be removed. The sides of the hoof should be cut back even with the sole of the foot. Continue to trim the sides around one toe and repeat the process on the other toe. Trim the frog and heel flat until the sole is parallel to the hairline of the pastern. Trim off thin slices. A good rule to follow is to stop when you see pink. If blood appears stop trimming and apply blood stop powder and finish the trimming at a later time.