I see a lot of goat hooves.  It is my experience that most people don’t know how to properly trim hooves.  Most just kind of trim the long stuff off, some don’t do anything until show day and a few try to do corrective trimming without knowing what they are doing.

     Hooves on show goats need attention every 4-6 weeks.  This allows enough time for some growth, but also a short enough time span to not allow anything to get out of hand.  Hooves grow according to climate, soil surface and genetics.  If it is wet outside, hooves will be softer and grow faster.  Likewise, if it is really dry, hooves will be harder.  If the pen surface is hard (concrete), the hooves will stay worn down more.  The worst pen surface is sand.  A really soft, unstable surface allows hooves to grow faster and be softer.  This can lead to their pasterns becoming soft, also.  The soft surface allows their toes to spread to give a more stable platform which can lead to some really funky hoof growth, almost webbed toes.  I like pens that have a gyp rock pack to it.  This allows water to move through it, but is also a hard, stable surface for wethers or does.  

     Genetics also play a part in hoof care.  Freaky throws a distinctive hoof.  Colt has a different hoof pattern.  This is no different in cattle.  Heat Wave throws a very distinctive hoof pad.  

     Corrective hoof trimming takes experience.  Some hooves just need the toe taken short, some need the heel taken down, some need the outside toe taken short while leaving most of the inside toe.  Some need a combination of all of the above.  I look at the wear on a hoof and watch the goat walk, then I know what needs done.  It usually takes 2 or 3 hoof trimming to correct a structure problem.  And some can’t be corrected, only managed.  That is where leg hair comes into play.  I try to grow as much leg hair as possible on bad legged goats.  That way I can clip the hair to shape the leg to hide some flaws.  

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