Hoof Trimming

Overgrown hooves can cause a lot of problems including stress on joints and bacterial and fungal infections. When your goat has sore feet, she/he will not eat properly and can lose vigour.

At six-weekly intervals, use shears and a sharp knife to trim the sidewalls of the claws and sole. The shaded area of illustration 2 has not been cut. Illustration 3 shows what to aim for. It may take many months to achieve the desired result.


Put a glove on the hand holding the foot, as protection in case the shears or knife slip.

Trim after rain or after goat has walked through wet grass, or after scrubbing hoof with nail brush and warm water; hoof will be softer to cut.

You can cut safely until pink starts to shine through the white of the trimmed part; this shows you are getting near the ‘quick’, which will bleed if you cut deeper.  This does not show as easily on black-hoofed goats, which usually have softer feet anyway, so go easily on them.

Start on a front foot, and then move on to the back ones; the goat is less likely to play up.

If the goat kicks very hard with her back foot, pick it up by putting your hand tightly round the hamstring above the hock, then run your other hand down to the foot, take up your usual grip, and get cutting; the hamstring grip immobilises the muscles of the lower leg long enough for you to get a firm grip without hurting the goat, and once she realises you have her, she will behave better.