Tuesday 26 November 2013

Foot trimming : A goat pedicure

Fig.1. Seriously neglected feet a job for the Vet
Wild goats and the ancestors of our goats kept their feet in shape running and jumping on rocks that wore down the horny surface. But ours are on wet ground and soft bedding plus horn growth is stimulated by their protein rich diet. If the feet aren't trimmed every six weeks or so they become deformed and open to infection with foot rot. (Fig. 1)

When you are foot trimming single handed its not easy to take photographs so these rough sketches of what happens and what to do will have to suffice today.

Fig.2. Trim the edges of the claws and the heel so that the foot is flat
Goats don't like this operation so have to be restrained with a halter or a neck yoke. I use the milking stand so the animal is higher up, distracted by some feed and locked in the yoke. I try not raise the foot too high because its uncomfortable an unstable for the goat. Starting with the near side hind foot I clean off any muck on and between the claws. then I trim the edges of the horn with the foot shear to the point where the foot surface is flat (Fig.2). If the heel is overgrown then this needs to be trimmed flat too.

Fig.3. From all angles the underside of the foot should be flat
When all four feet are done the animal should be standing on the absolutely flat surface of each foot (Fig.3)

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