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Hoof Maintenance

 
Matt Vader
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1.Any tips on hoof Maintenance?

2. What effects the rate of hoof growth? Does feeding a little grain on the milk stand make them grow faster?

3. Any ways to decrease the need to trim?

We trim regularly but sometimes they get away from us and start to curl under. It is then a battle to try and restore proper shape.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Location: North East Scotland
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feeding grain certainly makes the hooves grow faster. Have you thought about putting in areas where the hooves can naturally wear? We are fairly wet and don't have any concrete so I am going to put old used sandpaper on parts of their playground to help wear their feet a bit.
 
Deborah Niemann
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I'm not aware of any research on hoof growth and certain feeds, but I would not change the way I'm feeding in an attempt to reduce speed of hoof growth because there are many things far more important, such as overall health and milk production.

Hoof growth and need to trim hooves are really two different topics. I address this briefly in another thread, but thickness of hoof seems to be what dictates whether or not the goat's hooves need to be trimmed more often, and that is related to genetics. If a goat has really thick hooves, they won't wear down as easily as one that has thinner hooves. I've had goats that need to have their hooves trimmed monthly and some that are fine for six months. I know a vet who raises boers who said she had a buck whose hooves only needed to be trimmed once or twice in his entire life, and he passed on that trait to many of his kids, which was one reason they loved him. I also see that my problem hooves are with goats whose mothers and/or fathers had more challenging hooves. Actually, my most high need hooves all go back to one doe, which was the fourth doe I ever bought. She was awesome in many ways and had outstanding parasite resistance, which she also passed on to her offspring, but I'm not a fan of their hooves, which have to be trimmed more than others.

If your goats are on sand or gravel or rocky terrain, they will wear down hooves faster. I know some people who mount their mineral feeder higher than their goats can naturally reach, and they put a cement block underneath it so that the goats have to step up on the cement block, which is rough and supposedly helps to wear down the hooves a little.
 
Jan Cooper
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Deborah, loved your post. I didn't know goats' hooves could grow at different rates. A past Countryside Stock magazine had an article about rough ramps; the owner divided the pen and put an up and down rough ramp so that as the goats went up and down the ramp,they wore down their hooves. The writer had a lot of stock and didn't have the time to do hooves, so this worked for him.
 
Deborah Niemann
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I like this! And I have a place where I can try it!

Jan Cooper wrote:Deborah, loved your post. I didn't know goats' hooves could grow at different rates. A past Countryside Stock magazine had an article about rough ramps; the owner divided the pen and put an up and down rough ramp so that as the goats went up and down the ramp,they wore down their hooves. The writer had a lot of stock and didn't have the time to do hooves, so this worked for him.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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Herding them along a gravel driveway on a regular basis, as in a daily trek to and from a pasture, will keep the hooves worn down.
 
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