Softening hooves before trimming?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by DixyDoodle, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Good grief, I am so dreading doing my nubian doe's feet again.

    Last time was in late November (I try to plan it about 3 months apart, with the last one before the worst of winter, for obvious reasons). Well, it's starting to warm up here, but her hooves are just as hard as if they were frozen solid. :( None of my other goats' feet are that bad.

    This morning, I did one whole hoof, then my carpal tunnel started acting up, with my back doing harmony, and I left it at that. I did another hoof this afternoon. Will finish the other two tomorrow. How sad is that? Usually I do all 10 goats all at once, but decided to start with her. I imagine my hand will pay for that tonight. :(

    Is there anything I can do to soften her feet? Can I soak one in a warm pail for a few minutes? Add something to the water?

    Just the thought of trying to do two more makes me hurt. :p Seriously, her hooves are solid! I need some softening tips!

    PS> The shears are sharp and clean. I picked out any crud from underneath. Maybe it's my technique has to be different with her? Anyone find any special trimming techniques that are better than others?
     
  2. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try using a utility knife (box cutter) on her hooves. I have some goats with very hard hooves and the shears do not do the job - I use box cutters almost exclusively now - a new, sharp razor blade will do several goats before it starts to dull. Also, if you have a Shur-Form rasp, and do her hooves frequently, like every few weeks, you can avoid having to trim them with anything else. HTH :)

    Oh, and a breeder I know taught me a trick for telling when it's time for a trim...Take a pair of scissors and square off the hairs on the end of the tail when you trim the hooves. When you see the tail is no longer squared off, it's time for a trim.
     

  3. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Thanks for the tips! Don't know about the box cutters though. Not too certain my hand wouldn't slip or something. Errrrr....might end up "trimming" my hand, NOT good!

    That tail thing, what a neat idea! hehehehe

    Edited to add: I wonder if those horse hoof trimmers would work? They're like a long blade, kinda look like an orange peeler?
     
  4. Persimmon_Ridge

    Persimmon_Ridge Member

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    Manygoatsnmore: great idea on squaring off the tail! thx. I also use a utility knife as it is very sharp and the blades can be changed easily. But, be careful as you can cut yourself and/or the goat.
    --------------
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  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    With a small herd, and even when we dairied monthly hoof trimming was the eaisest. Just start with the oldest doe to youngest on the first of the month working yourself down to the kids and then the bucks. This way everyone got done each month. It then wasn't this big huge overgrown chore but just a tidy little manicure. When we dairied 4 sets of feet had to be done each day to get through the herd in the month....now it's just 1 :)

    This from someone who pays someone to trim her bucks feet monthly for her!!! vicki
     
  6. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    is your copper level okay? deficiency can make hoofs harder to trim.
    try to cut hoofs after they have been out on moist grass. ;)
     
  7. BethW

    BethW My kids have hooves Supporter

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    This is what we do....monthly with a swipe of the rasp now and then to make it easy. I either trim in the morning after they've been playing on the dew-wet grass or after a rain. The extra moisture makes all the difference.
     
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Yes, I use a long horse rasp.
     
  9. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pick a time right after the goats have been walking on wet ground from a rain or dew. You should see a big difference.
     
  10. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    Yes, if the hooves are softened from being outside, it makes a big difference. And keep your blade sharp. Not only is it safer when cutting but you'll get done faster.
     
  11. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    No, they all get supplements....but it's also only the one goat, not the whole herd, who has such hard feet.
    Hard to do up here in Canada right now.....there is still snow around. LOL No grass, except for a few dead patches coming up from a slow meltoff.

    Funny what a few degrees make! Today was just a tad warmer, and the rest of her feet went great. :)

    I think I might look into getting a rasp.
     
  12. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I found a pair of used horse nippers, a really small pair. They weren't cheap (like $40) but they are the best steel and work really, really well. A lot safer than a box cutter.

    Sometimes, the tool designed for the job is best ...

    Edit: To soften the hooves, make a big mud puddle with a post in the middle, or find a convenient fence post. Tie the goat to the post so he's standing in mud. Wait half an hour. Hose off the mud. Voila, soft hooves. (And an unhappy goat, but they'll get over it. Mine get the occasional bath too, so they're used to being hosed, if a little ... less than enthusiastic ... about the whole idea.)
     
  13. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Once you have been trimming hooves for awhile especially if you have alot of goats, you will laugh at the idea you even used rasps or files or nippers. Just use your goat pruning shears to cout around the horns and then flatten the foot with one smooth pass across the top with your box cutters. No way do I want 200+ pounds of doe leaning on me while I rasp and rasp and rasp and rasp! vicki
     
  14. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Vicki,
    Please let us know what brand of goat hoof trimmer you use. Could be what I have isn't the right thing.

    Thanks,
    Alice / Rose
     
  15. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    I have always used the Shear Majic in the jeffers catalog although I have won at shows many of the same type...most are nothing more than rose prunning shears with flat blades rather than serated or curved blades. The rose pruning shears you can get at big lots for about $5 or less work well, but not for long and also don't sharpen for beans. Lowes in the tool department has orange handled small shears for metal, they work great. Biggy for women is to get comfortable wearing mens leather work gloves. Not only is none of this stuff made for our tiny hands, but when you do build up hand and arm stregth, something women don't have is upper body strength...as you age you then get stronger than what you skin on your hands can take. Wearing gloves (I love the mens small with the red band and the 'belt' clasp that tightens it around your wrist) it makes your hands larger so it's easier to grip the shears handles and gives you more strength. You can do things with leather gloves on that you can't do bear handed and not rip your skin or cause blisters.

    I have a pair of gloves just used in my hoof trimming kit and if I had cut my hands as many times as the gloves show I barely missed, I would be in tough shape at almost 52 :)

    The foot rot shears and the like are simply made for mens hands. Vicki
     
  16. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Thanks, Vicki!

    I use deer skin leather gloves, and I can get them in the small size at western wear stores. After you've worn them a while, they conform to your hands very well, and they aren't awkward.