Trimming a Goat Hooves

Grooming a goat is pretty basic, and keeping a goat’s hooves trimmed is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most important parts of goat care. Regular trimming takes very little time and cuts down on health care expenses in the long term.

How often you trim depends on each goat and the conditions it lives in. Always check a back hoof to decide whether it’s time to trim. Front hooves wear down more quickly than back hooves because goats use them to paw at things.

Trim any hoof that is not flush with the base of the foot. A hoof that hasn’t been trimmed recently folds over the sides. In cases where it has been neglected, the hoof will be growing longer in the front and on each side and may be malformed.

Do not try to fix a severely overgrown hoof in one trimming. It took time to get that bad and will take time to be corrected.

Clean the hoof of manure or other debris, and then follow these steps when the time comes to trim your goat’s hooves:


Lift the foot to be trimmed, bending it back at the knee.

Bend the leg before you begin clipping a hoof.


Sit behind the goat to trim back hooves.

Sitting behind and against the goat gives you more control over it.


Trim the folded-over or overgrown sides of the front wall of the hoof one at a time.

First trim off any growth on the front walls of the hoof.


Trim the heel gradually so that it is even with the sole.

Be careful not to cut too deep. If you begin to see pink tissue, stop. You can always trim a little more later.


Repeat with the other three hooves.

A goat stands on a properly trimmed hoof at about a 45-degree angle.

After each trim, disinfect your trimmers with alcohol, and use on the next goat or store in a dry place.