Training Goats to Stand for Hoof Trimming

Turtle Rock Farm

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I have one older doe and one yearling doe. The younger one isn't the best with being trimmed. She stands reasonably well when she has grain in front of her, but when she finishes it (in a matter of seconds) she begins wiggling like an inchworm that's taken yoga classes. This obviously makes it impossible to use pointy things near her legs. What is the best way to approach this? Do I end trimming sessions before she runs out of grain, which seems time consuming on my part; do I physically restrain her using a helper and let her throw a tantrum all she wants; or do I stop, distract her, and then start again? As I have only had goats for a year, I am not anywhere near fully familiar with how their mind works and how different handling techniques will be responded to. Birds are far more in my league of comfort. Thank you for reading this query.
 

CntryBoy777

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There are several ways that are used to trim hooves, but not very many will remain still while their feet are messed with....if ya have another to assist ya, then I would utilize the help....however, if ya are by yourself, then attach a lead to the collar and stand them by the fence and tie them to it....lean against them, pushing them into the fence with a little pressure.....trim the outside 2 hooves and then untie the lead and turn them in the opposite direction and do the other 2....they may sound as if ya are killing them, but as soon as ya turn them loose they will be fine and won't seek revenge....if bending over is a problem get them on a table of something that gets them to your comfortable height....many use a milking stand to hold them steady and get them higher to trim them.....we had a deck around the goat house and would lay them down and trim them.....here is a pic of that....
IMAG3443.jpg ....we also had several tables of varying heights that could've been used....hope this helps ya....:)
 

Turtle Rock Farm

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There are several ways that are used to trim hooves, but not very many will remain still while their feet are messed with....if ya have another to assist ya, then I would utilize the help....however, if ya are by yourself, then attach a lead to the collar and stand them by the fence and tie them to it....lean against them, pushing them into the fence with a little pressure.....trim the outside 2 hooves and then untie the lead and turn them in the opposite direction and do the other 2....they may sound as if ya are killing them, but as soon as ya turn them loose they will be fine and won't seek revenge....if bending over is a problem get them on a table of something that gets them to your comfortable height....many use a milking stand to hold them steady and get them higher to trim them.....we had a deck around the goat house and would lay them down and trim them.....here is a pic of that....
View attachment 64851 ....we also had several tables of varying heights that could've been used....hope this helps ya....:)
Thank you! I do have a milking stand, and can procure a helper if needed; I only wanted to ensure I wouldn't cause her behaviour to worsen by forcing the issue.
 

animalmom

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No one likes to stand on one foot, goats don't like standing on three feet. You aren't really ever going to get a goatie to enjoy standing on three feet. Now, having said that there are some things you can try...

Put some large-ish rocks in her grain bowl at the stand. You want the rocks large enough that she won't eat them. The idea is she has to push the rocks around to get at the grain which slows down the eating and also gives her something else to think about than the human fussing with her feet.

My girls have come to understand that if they are reasonably good on the stand then they get some raisins when I am done. They also know that once I start I WILL finish and how long it takes depends entirely on them.

When I trim hooves I start with the side I am standing on, which for me is the left side because that is the way I have the milking stand set up. I do the front left then the front right. The girls are usually calm when I'm doing front legs. Then I do the rear right hoof. I have Nigerians so they are short and I can reach over the back of the goat to get to the rear leg. I grab the leg, she will pull and then I pull her body to my legs so she is leaning against me. Then I do the left rear again holding the goat against my legs. Imagine your upper arms enveloping the back half of the goat. It seems to help with keeping the girls calm.

Some times you just get a doe in a bad mood and she is going to pull and try to snatch her hoof out of your hand. I tell my girls that I don't want to lose a finger and they don't want to lose a toe... doesn't always stop them from squirming but it gives them something to think about.

I don't think it is ever a good idea to let the goat get away with bad behavior on the milking stand. You are the giver of all good things and she needs to learn that she is not going to get her way. Give her an inch and I will promise you she WILL take a mile. Don't let her get away with it. It is ok to pause what you are doing for a moment and then start again. Don't let her win this argument. Keep calm and trim on!

You can get a hoof plane like this one https://www.caprinesupply.com/products/goat-management/general-management/hoof-plane.html

The nice thing about it is it doesn't take a whole lot off at one time, but you do need to be careful not to get your hand/fingers too close to the hoof and the blade. It is a carpenter's tool used to shave wood and that is very useful for trimming hooves IF you don't need to take a whole lot off. Use your sharp shears to get the overgrown stuff and use the plane for the fine work.

Time and unlimited patience is on your side. Talk to her while you are messing with her hooves as it seems to help keep my goaties calm and distracted as they are trying to figure out what it was you said.

I have confidence in your ability.
 

Turtle Rock Farm

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No one likes to stand on one foot, goats don't like standing on three feet. You aren't really ever going to get a goatie to enjoy standing on three feet. Now, having said that there are some things you can try...

Put some large-ish rocks in her grain bowl at the stand. You want the rocks large enough that she won't eat them. The idea is she has to push the rocks around to get at the grain which slows down the eating and also gives her something else to think about than the human fussing with her feet.

My girls have come to understand that if they are reasonably good on the stand then they get some raisins when I am done. They also know that once I start I WILL finish and how long it takes depends entirely on them.

When I trim hooves I start with the side I am standing on, which for me is the left side because that is the way I have the milking stand set up. I do the front left then the front right. The girls are usually calm when I'm doing front legs. Then I do the rear right hoof. I have Nigerians so they are short and I can reach over the back of the goat to get to the rear leg. I grab the leg, she will pull and then I pull her body to my legs so she is leaning against me. Then I do the left rear again holding the goat against my legs. Imagine your upper arms enveloping the back half of the goat. It seems to help with keeping the girls calm.

Some times you just get a doe in a bad mood and she is going to pull and try to snatch her hoof out of your hand. I tell my girls that I don't want to lose a finger and they don't want to lose a toe... doesn't always stop them from squirming but it gives them something to think about.

I don't think it is ever a good idea to let the goat get away with bad behavior on the milking stand. You are the giver of all good things and she needs to learn that she is not going to get her way. Give her an inch and I will promise you she WILL take a mile. Don't let her get away with it. It is ok to pause what you are doing for a moment and then start again. Don't let her win this argument. Keep calm and trim on!

You can get a hoof plane like this one https://www.caprinesupply.com/products/goat-management/general-management/hoof-plane.html

The nice thing about it is it doesn't take a whole lot off at one time, but you do need to be careful not to get your hand/fingers too close to the hoof and the blade. It is a carpenter's tool used to shave wood and that is very useful for trimming hooves IF you don't need to take a whole lot off. Use your sharp shears to get the overgrown stuff and use the plane for the fine work.

Time and unlimited patience is on your side. Talk to her while you are messing with her hooves as it seems to help keep my goaties calm and distracted as they are trying to figure out what it was you said.

I have confidence in your ability.
Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I will try those things.
I do have a rasp, which I use for the same purpose. Is a plane better?
 

animalmom

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Sorry can't answer if a rasp or plane is better as I don't have a rasp... I suppose it would depend on how deep the grooves are on the rasp. One of the things I like about the plane is you can get a good grip on it with one hand and hold the foot with the other hand. You are taking off a little of the hoof nail at a time so you greatly limit the bleeding possibility.

I have one buck that has very thick hooves and by the time I snip away just to get to the bottom the nail is ragged and really looks so much better after applying the plane. Yeah, I should trim hooves much more often than I do.
 

CntryBoy777

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Something else that can help ya some is to use the concrete squares sold at Walmart, Lowe's, or garden ctrs...ya can see some in the pic above that I posted....the goats will walk on them, especially if the ground is wet and will wear the hooves down some....it really helped us to only have to trim hooves about every 3-6mnths....we had them down in several areas and 4-6 of them together make a warm place to lay on cold days....if they are in the sun.....our goats loved them.....:)
 

Turtle Rock Farm

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Something else that can help ya some is to use the concrete squares sold at Walmart, Lowe's, or garden ctrs...ya can see some in the pic above that I posted....the goats will walk on them, especially if the ground is wet and will wear the hooves down some....it really helped us to only have to trim hooves about every 3-6mnths....we had them down in several areas and 4-6 of them together make a warm place to lay on cold days....if they are in the sun.....our goats loved them.....:)
This is more than a little late—sorry about that—but thank you for the idea. I've been thinking about putting in something similar. It's a little difficult, as the goat run is on a fairly steep, wooded hill, but I am all for less frequent hoof trims. They do have a stack of rocks in there, but it's far from prominent and isn't stable enough to be something they can jump around on much, as I can tell they badly want to.

An update—I procured a helper and tried some ways to slow down grain consumption. Hoof trimming is now significantly easier and involves less yoga on each of our parts.
 

Duckfarmerpa1

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I have a couple questions..I was going to start my own thread. I’ve watched many videos. Some say you have to go down until you see the white.....are they meaning we are supposed to be actu cutting into their hooves....the fleshy part? Not just the outside where the dirt accumulates...the clippers you buy...seem like they are made just to cut off the edges. The plane on that website looks like you run it on the entire hoove...how far do you go through. We’ve done it a few times...but we’re learning and afraid to trim too much.
 

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