Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How (NOT) to trim hooves and then what to do about it

How I almost killed Nibbles.. Or “How (NOT) to trim hooves and then what to do about it”

Nibbles - before I almost killed her

There are a lot of good resources out there on how to trim your goat's hooves. I am not one of those.

A couple days ago I almost killed Nibbles trying to trim her hooves.  Sometimes I can..(ahem)..wax a bit dramatic.. but when The Big Man starts to get concerned..well, then I'm not really exaggerating.

Here is how I normally trim hooves:
Wait until the 4H kid next door can come over and do it.

I should have done this a couple days ago. But I figured if a 16 year old can do it, so can I. I couldn't have been more wrong. Wow!

Nibbles was in the milk stand and I figured it was high time to get her hooves trimmed up. She was fine for the front hooves but started kicking like a mad fiend when I tried to do her back ones. The Big Man was holding her and I was being jostled around and then she was kicking and I was trying to clip.... and both forces worked against each other and then she was bleeding everywhere. A lot. Like “Holy Goat! Would you look at all that blood!”

I had cut way too far up on her hoof and she was bleeding a lot.

Then there was a lot of drama. Me hopping about, Nibbles hopping about, The Big Man telling me (sternly) to “DO something”, more hopping, Nibbles bleeding, me running, me calling, me running and calling, then we discovered why the goat experts always tell you to have “Blood Stop” powder on hand at all times. Of course we don't ever listen to those experts.. so I had to look up what else you could use and the answer is:

Corn starch.

Yep. Regular old corn starch. I prefer Argo.

I put some good ol' Argo in an empty cat food can, made her step in it and this worked to clot the blood while I ran to the neighbors to get their always-on-hand “Blood Stop.”

By the time I got back most of the gushing blood had stopped. Now there is some contention about whether that was due to the corn starch or The Big Man holding poor Nibbles in a yoga-like position that could only be named “Kicking Jackass.” I returned to find him holding her back foot high above her haunch. But hey, it worked.

Blood Stop is a powder and you just shake it on. You shake on a lot. And it works. Stops the blood just as advertised.

We kept her incarcerated for a day in the garage with its cement floor. The problem with cuts on goat's feet is that it could put them in contact with tetanus (a kind of bacteria) which can be present in the ground...the bacteria gets into the wound, then your goat flops over dead.

After holding her hostage in the garage all day to be sure the bleeding stopped, then putting a LOT of clean straw down in her stall, and keeping her inside another day... we think we are safe. But we'll see. There is conflicting information about whether treating her "just to be safe" will do any good. So we are keeping an eye on her and will watch for any signs of stiffening or convulsions.

In the meantime she is doing great at milking and seems to be back to her own sweet self. Today she was goosin' around and head butting Debbie. In the background little Ginger was skip-popping all over the yard, then took off running after one of the chickens. Provided that Nibbles doesn't flop over dead, I'll give the goats an A+ today.

Now I need to go and order some Blood Stop powder – and so should you.


Sally said...

Don't think I've ever seen a photo of little Nibbles! Golly, she is so cute and so tiny!! I assumed she was bigger!

Glad she is steppin up! Hope she makes it through the night! ;o)

small farm girl said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Blood Stop. I'm getting two goats in a few weeks. My first goats. I don't have a 16 year old in 4H that lives to me.

Alaena said...

Eek! More stuff that I need to have one hand! We just got a goat a couple days ago... and had to go running to a friend for antibiotics when it started coughing. Egads. I think I'll go your route with the hoof trimming thing... Killing my goat cutting it's nails is something I would end up doing. They've never called me Grace...

Claire MW said...

I have done that exact thing about...oh...a dozen times, when trimming goat and/or sheep hooves. It always gives me the heebie-jeebies for a few minutes, and then it's over. I do have the powder. You have to use a lot. I do give my goats and sheep annual CDT vaccinations, so they shouldn't get tetanus. Might be worth considering. :-)

Chai Chai said...

Blood stop - check. I attempted to find out where the local 4H club met, but I had to leave the school when security responded to a call reporting a crazy looking woman with hay in her hair lingering in the hallway who was being followed by a goat wearing a diaper.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Isn't she just cute? And she really milks like the dickens.

SFG - congrats! Let us know if you have other questions, we can help get you set up...and we'll see if you can find a 4H kid to loan you

Chai Chai... well, that will happen sometimes

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Wow. I've cut the quick on one of my rooster's spurs before, and one of the pups nails, and they bled like crazy - I can't imagine what the bleeding was like for poor Nibbles! White flour works great for rooster spurs and pup nails - but I'm thinking I need to find some Quick Stop before I tackle hoof trimming..... how is Nibble doing now?

Alaena said...

Chai Chai's comment there is about the funniest I've seen in a long time! LOL!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Nibbles is doing great! Of course its always harder on us then them.. I don't think she was ever in any pain..altho I had Claire's heebie-jeebies all darn day. We've had a few nicks before but nothing like this (we used the flour trick before..).

We are so glad she's OK. Actually she's better than OK - she's just a milking machine! And she seems to be back to her happy self more and more. She loves to graze and there is more fun things for her to "Nibble" on now.

Since Nibbles had a wound we can't give her a booster of the tet shot for about six weeks...then I'm hoping our 4H gal is going to come running right over. She really saves the day for us.

Chai Chai said...

Wait, you have to cut the roosters spurs (toenails)? You have got to be kidding.

Do you do that OFG?

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

LOL @ Chai Chai! My big roo, Duke, is BIG - much bigger than the hens and he was really tearing up their backs in his prime. I cut his spurs back to minimize the damage. But I will tell you, the day we saw him pen a chicken hawk down on the ground, I stopped trimming his spurs. My chickens free range and I came to realize the roosters need those spurs to protect the flock. I no longer trim spurs on my roosters.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yep! I sure do and Nope! Not kidding!

But only sometimes... goats need a regular hoof trimming.. but with roo's can just have it 'as needed.' For instance when roo's start walking with a wide stance and their spurs are starting to hurt the ladies (golly there is no way to say this without it sounding naughty...)... you can trim the spurs.

However, you have to be careful that you don't trim TOO much or they can bleed. Then you have to stand there holding your roo upside down while you shake flour on him. This can be funny but not if you are Fred (may he rest in peace).

We stopped trying to do too much trimming and just started "squaring" them off so they aren't sharp.

There are some old timers who have some kind of story about using a potato to somehow remove the spurs.. but really our roos have to work just like everybody else and are responsible for fighting off intruders...which I saw Fred do one time. So we don't see much benefit for removing them completely.

And I know! Isn't it crazy all the stuff you have to do!?!?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Oh hey B2B! Our posts are crossing in the night! We're all in this together!

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Hey - and we even pretty much said the same thing! I know about the potato thingy - I even watched a youtube video of it. I'm not big on undoing nature - not when it serves a purpose. I'm not opposed to the squaring off of the spurs, or even the trimming if it's necessary. But I don't dock tails, remove spurs, declaw, dock ears, get rid of horns, or anything else if it can be avoided. And I do understand that sometimes it can't be avoided......

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yep! We are the same way.. I'm actually trying to work "backward" toward a more natural chicken.. some of the qualities that have been bred out may need to come back.

NOT that I support it as a sport, but I read a compelling argument for cock fighting. NOT THAT I SUPPORT IT but it did provide a "reason" for keeping roo's in their natural protective/fight-off-the-bad-guys role. Sure no one with kids wants a mean rooster...but they do serve a purpose in the right flock. Heaven knows that Fred and I had our go-arounds, but I never worried about hawks, intruders, or IF he was going to take the hens in at night - he always did.

I like a broody hen, a strutting roo who guards his ladies, and a chicken that can forage...The natural chicken.

Chai Chai said...

This is a really funny thread, in a bizarre "I don't know those people (wink, wink)" kind of way.

Chai Chai said...

B2B, If you can find the youtube link I would love to see it.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

OFG - I am SO with you on that.

Chai - Chai - I am SO with you on that.


basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Chai Chai - no luck finding the youtube video. I think it's kinda anti-climatic. Basically you bake a potato, place it over the spur, and then supposedly it's easy to remove the spur with pliers afterwards. Amazingly, people remove them with pliers without the application of baked potatoes. The whole thing makes my stomach lurch.

Chai Chai said...

I'm guessing the baked potato goes great with the chicken after you have to cook it because it died from blood loss caused by your ripping its spurs out with pliers.

Ours won't die though, because we will baste it in flour and hold it upside down before we apply the pliers and the potato.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Chai Chai you are a hoot! I just spit out my drink! Yep thats how you fix up a rooster! Whoot!

Anonymous said...

Blood Stop powder - got it! Course, it'll be at least 3 years before I get goats. :( 2 years of college (18 months if I REALLY push it - it was get a real job with bennies or go back to school; I'm going back to school. Apparently my 2-yr degree plus 9 yrs experience doesn't mean diddly-squat, they want the B.S. behind my name, but I digress), and I've been advised to never, ever, never, never have critters your first year of homesteading. Period. Even though I do eventually want goats and chickens.

But the cool thing is I won't have to run over to the neighbor kids for 4H advice - I'll just ask my son! He's in 4th grade this year, which is when you can start :D And I plan to learn right along with him!

God bless!

Unknown said...

OMG I just did this with my nanny goat and she's pregnant-she didn't. Lees very much and I had the bleed stop we keep it in our camper at all times-I am just absolutely sick and guilt ridden -nothing I can do but wait and see-pray I guess that's all I know to do

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