I'm new to sheep and goats and was just wondering how to trim their hooves. Could someone please tell me how to do it or know where I can learn to do it myself. I don't have alot of people around me that have goats and not any that have sheep. I have read alot of comments on here about trimming their goats or sheep feet but have no idea how to do it and with what. Would appreciate any and all help.
It depends on the breed, age and location of the animal. Certain areas with very dry and rocky pastures never need any attention to the hooves. Others like ours which is very wet and boggy and where foot rot is a huge problem need their hooves trimmed every 1 and 1/2 to 2 months. I would agree with "plowjockey" and just google it and see what you find. I'm sure there will be many explanations with photos and diagrams to learn off of. Its very easy once you get the hang of it.
It even varies with the individual goat (probably sheep too - but I only have goats).
I have one girl who's hooves grow quite fast, I trim her at least every 4 weeks. But others only need a trim every 6-8 weeks. We have very loamy soil, lots of grass & clover & no rock - so they do not wear down naturally.
After spending the last seven months trying to rehabilitate an absolutely phenomenal ram, and losing him because he became lame and unable to stand properly on his pasterns - after previous owners let his hooves grow to a length of five inches with curls - I say yes! Please trim!
Goat hooves should be square, sheep somewhat longer, but unless you are on very rocky soil, at least twice a year, when you shear and vaccinate.
Wish I could post a picture for you of the most horrible hooves we have ever encountered...
In any case FiasCo Farms has a great page on trimming. Sometimes your shearer can help too...all of the pictures in the world aren't as good as someone beside you helping you through...just stop when you see pink. Having bloodstop powder, cornstarch or a woodburning tool (to cauterize) wouldn't be a bad idea either, in case you nip one a little too far...
Glad you asked! You are going to make a wonderful shepherd!