Hoof Care For Goats

mocha 010 (Medium)

The other day I was watching this silly girl out the window, when I noticed her doing something funny. She was lowering her head, and scraping her hooves on the back steps, like a bull ready to charge. She kept scraping them for a really long time. I got to thinking, I wonder if her hooves are bothering her?

mocha 011 (Medium)

I wondered to myself if her hooves needed to be trimmed. In the year that we’ve had her, we have not yet trimmed them. The people we got her from told us that they never trim their goat’s hooves. They said they just give them a pile of crushed oyster shells or something hard for them to walk on. So, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I figured our gravel driveway would be good enough.

But I got online and searched for info on trimming a goat’s hooves. In the process, I came across the term “hoof rot”. I read on. The article said that if the goat’s hooves aren’t taken care of they can get hoof rot, which causes the hooves to get soft and rotten. It can be really bad!

Since we’ve had all of this rain and snow, the ground in Mocha’s pen is terribly muddy. The poor girl is tramping through sopping wet mud half of the morning, until I get out there to let her loose. I began to worry about the condition of her hooves.

So, I went outside to check her out. I lifted her leg back to inspect a hoof. Using my thumb, I pressed on the bottom of one hoof to feel for any rot. Sure enough, it was soft in the middle. Oh no! Poor thing, she does have hoof rot! Now what do I do?

I got on the phone and called my friend Hope (the goat lady). First, I asked her if she trims her goat’s hooves. She told me she does. I went on to explain that I suspected Mocha had hoof rot. She asked, “How is she walking?” I said, “Well, she’s walking fine.” She said, “Oh, then she’s fine! If something was wrong with her hoof she’d be visibly limping.”

She explained that a goat’s hoof is supposed to be soft in the middle, like the pad of a dog’s paw, and the outside edge of the hoof is hard, like a dog’s toenails. That is the part that you trim, only the hard part around the outside edges. A hoof needs trimming when that hard part starts growing over the pad in the middle.

She suggested that I clean Mocha’s hooves. She uses warm water and a dental pick to clean in between the “V” of the hoof, to get all of the dirt out. She warned that it would stink, from all of the yucky stuff compacted in there. She also added that if there was hoof rot, it would smell really foul, and there could be puss as well. If this was the case, then usually cleaning it out well and letting the air get to it would fix the problem. I also read that tea tree oil and lavender are good treatments as well.

To get a goat to be still while you clean their hooves, you can put a little food on the ground and have them kneel to eat, or you can make them lay down. That’s how she does it, anyways. Some goats can go for years without their hooves needing to be trimmed, and others need it a lot more often.

So, I feel much better now knowing that her hooves aren’t rotting!! But I will need to get a good pair of hoof trimmers right away. I’m so glad I have Ms. Hope to call! She is such a HUGE help to me!!

If you want more info on how to trim a goat’s hooves, check out this link at Fias Co Farm. Man, with animals there is always something new to learn!

About Kendra 1035 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. My Nubian goats, including the kids, always seem to be pawing at something. Might just be something they do, although Mocha could probably use a hoof trimming as well. She is definitely part Nubian (classic Roman nose), but the way her ears stand away from her head tell me there’s something else mixed in as well. She’s a good-looking girl!

  2. I’ve had goats for eight years, and I’ve never heard of a goat that didn’t need to have their hooves trimmed at least every three to four months. Some need it every month. Pictures of hoof trimming will show you this perfect square hoof that looks like a newborn’s hoof, but if you haven’t trimmed your goat’s hooves in a year, you won’t be able to get them in that shape without making them bleed profusely. Just nip off a little at a time until you’re to the soft part of the hoof. I tell new goat owners that it’s really like trimming your own nails — just cut off the part that is sticking out beyond the flesh. I put my goats on the milkstand to trim their hooves so they can’t decide to just leave in the middle of everything. The need to be restrained so that you don’t accidentally stab them or yourself. Those hoof trimmers are sharp, and I don’t think I’ve ever known a goat that didn’t kick at least once during the process.

  3. I have a horse and when it gets really muddy I’ll go ahead and put a thrush treatment on her hooves just to prevent any problems. You can also use hydrogen peroxide I believe. I didn’t know about tee tree oil though – I’ll have to remember that.

  4. Thanks for posting the link to Fias Co Farm! Lots of really great info on that website. And how did your hoove trimming session go? Was Mocha good for you?

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