Trimming The Goats’ Hooves

One task that all goat keeper have to do, that we never look forward to, is trimming our goats’ hooves. Hooves grow like fingernails. Wild goats wear their feet down by clambering over rocks. My goats have an easy life on grass. I have to give them pedicures.

You can imagine that my goats do not want to stand still while I take a sharp pair of hoof trimmers to their feet.




You’d be right. You might imagine that bending over to do this task would be awkward at best. You’d be right. Even with the goat standing up on a bench, the job is best suited for a contortionist.




Some people wrestle with their goats, flip them on their backs, and trim away. Some people straddle their goats and bend over. My back can’t handle that! People who milk their goats have stanchions that the goats can be head-locked into. I don’t.

I use training, specifically, clicker training. Steve helps. The goats are trained to stand still while touching their noses to a target. A goat knows he’s doing the right thing when he hears a click.




The click is followed by a reward. In this case, cut up pieces of apple.




I’d be lying if I said that all goes according to plan. They are goats. Pip would rather sit in my lap than stand, and Caper would rather turn sideways. But, it’s a lot easier than trying to wrestle the boys immobile while plying sharp shears. In any event, with Steve clicking the goats for standing properly, and with me fearlessly wielding the cutters, the job gets done fairly quickly. Too quickly for the boys. That’s the thing about using training instead of restraint, it’s enjoyable for the animals. Feet trimmed, they ask, What’s next, Steve?



  1. Clever goats and clever you to train them! Looking very smart in the foot area now.

  2. Wow, I wish I had the time and patience for the clicker training, that is great! I bought a small head gate to use when trimming hooves, or doctoring my goat boys. It is still a Houdini act, and I always get cut or scratched! I have to use a gate, because one of my goats have horns! I loved seeing how you trim yours, thanks!

    • In the long run, it takes far less time to train an animal than to wrestle with them each time. Even using a gate, your animals will be calmer and easier to work with if they are trained to stand calmly. You’ll enjoy doing it!

  3. Thanks for sharing pictures of the boys getting their pedicure. I think the goats and chickens are ALL trained!

  4. Thanks Terry, I’m sure you are right that timewise I would come out ahead! As long as I give them something to eat on the otherside of the head gate, and let the other one stand beside them for moral support, ha!, they really don’t seem to stress! I don’t ever like them to have pressure on their necks. I haven’t led them in a while, but when I did I used a dog harness, instead of a collar. The way the gate works, they don’t choke themselves. Mainly it just holds them, and protects me from the horns! I just love dwarf Nigerian goats! I bought the gate from Hoegger’s, they are a very good business, and very fast to ship you your items. The gate was made in the USA!

  5. I will have to do some serious spiffing up for my visit with Pip and Caper on Saturday! Looking forward to it.

    • Lucky for them. But spa day for me? Hmph. I was covered with goat hair and worse. Lucky I had pie waiting for me (after a shower.)

  6. Oh, I also want to thank you for saying how your goats love cherry tomatoes, and about the licorice. I have had many a good laugh watching my goats explode those juicy ‘maters! I take a step back as soon as I hand them one now….the first time I was sprayed with tomatoes juice and seeds! Ha! I have given them some fennel, and they even eat the seeds! One will eat the green beans! One is like the old commercial with the little boy named Mikey! Give it to Mikey, he will eat anything! The other one is very finicky! He will drop the food, and let one of my roosters carry it away and eat it! Sometimes the “Mikey” one eats his, and the other goat’s snack, too !