Friday, February 19, 2010

hoof trimming, and playing in snow

Tuesday Dennis and I decided that it was time to do goat hoof trimming. They need trimming more often here in Colorado, vs Arizona where they seemed to wear down a little bit more with the caliche soil that they have down there. Also the alfalfa here is so rich and leafy, promotes hoof growth, as do the minerals .
If you don't trim a goats hooves they may go lame in time. Also a goat who is walking on platform/elevated hooves,with spiked heels so to speak, has a hard time jumping up on the milk stand. The main weight bearing of the goat is on the front feet. When getting a goat, good legs and feet are so important, because they are on their feet most of their lives. If they have poor leg/feet conformation it will lead to arthritis in joints when they are older. Light colored hooves are easier/softer to trim than dark colored hooves. The best time to trim hooves is after rain or when the feet have been exposed to moisture for a time.
Goats do not particularly like to have their feet messed with. They are a prey animal, and they need their feet for flight. So they have to be very trusting, or forced to give you their feet. We do ours on the milk stand, and offer them grain and salted peanuts, and they put up with the every 2 month ritual.

The tools of the trade are from bottom to top,
1. a hoof pick to clean the hoof prior to trimming. There is often dirt and manure packed in between the hoof walls that have overgrown. If this stuff is left in , the animal may get hoof rot, not to mention if you were to cut too deep, you may get ecoli in the wound, resulting in a nasty infection.
2. a green and orange handled hoof shears, Dennis likes the green one as it gives more leverage, I prefer the orange handled as they fit my smaller hand better.
3. a wood rasp or plane to even out the walls of the hoof after they are trimmed, it also removes some of the soft callous part of the middle of the hoof. If you start getting pink, you need to stop.
4. a sharpener to sharpen the blades of the hoof shears, as they dull very quickly.
And 5. last but not least, we always have blood stop for any mishaps, if we cut too deep. Dennis usually does this, not me!

Next we need a willing victim. Seen here is Dosado, ready, and willing to go, or to be done that is.
The perpetrators come next, here you can see both Dennis and I giving it a go. We are working on L'il Orphan Annie. (Her mother passed away 3 weeks after she was born, hence her name.) We often take turns, as goat hoof trimming is tough work and we usually have muscle soreness for the next day,(mine usually lasts longer). Sometimes it is down right hard to hold on to a 186# goats foot, when they have "had enough"!Of course, Annie shown getting her hoof trimmed is probably a little over 100#.
I don't know if these next two will show up on these pictures but here is L'il Orphan Annies hoof before trimming !

and then after. A perfect job!

And lastly the finisher. There is always a dog or three waiting to eat the hoof shavings. They just love them and gather around during the trimming process. You would think we were handing out rocky mountain oysters or something!

It was a balmy 23 degrees this morning when we went out to do our chores. We also got a couple of inches of snow during the night. No sun yet. Dennis is seen shoveling out the alpaca pen in the background. I tell him it is a "free" workout. I did not do any shoveling this time as I am still recovering from the last snowfall with 2 sore, achy elbows. My white alpaca, Prize is in the front, I can always tell when he needs his bangs cut as he has to raise his muzzle to see in front of him, but he is still a handsome fellow.
Remember when you would bring your kids to the Dentist or Doctors office? They had those magazines where they would have to find the dog, or something in the picture and they felt so proud when they did. And it sure did keep them busy for what seemed like hours while you waited? Well do you see the white dog in these pictures?

If you found a white dog in each of these 4 pictures, you are very observant!!!
After straining the milk, I went back outside and watched as the alpaca and dogs were exercising in the pasture. There was no wind, and so peaceful outside. The air is fresh and clean. Ahhhhhh, life is good.

More later........

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