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I posted this on another forum with poor results, hoping this group is a little more knowledgeable.

A few things going on here. I have always wanted some goats because they make me laugh. I just like them. I don't need milk, meat or to sell them or anything. I just like them.

Recently, I was able to get, for free, two sweet old Nubian goats, each is about 10 or 11 years old. I know they won't live much longer, but I will try to give them a good life until they go.

So I built a nice big shelter, fenced in a large area with lots of brush and other stuff for them to browse on , removed any oak, got some Timothy hay, some bedding for their shelter, a few bags of goat feed, and then one day the goats moved in.

My challenge is that their prior owners where not, um, fully attentive to the normal health care of goats (or people for that matter, but that's another story). They were not unkind to the goats, quite the contrary, they were very gentle and loving and gave them up somewhat reluctantly. But despite this kindness, for some reason, the goats did not have any veterinary care - ever in their life - and worst of all, they never had their hooves trimmed. The prior owners said the hoof growth "just breaks off eventually." They saw "natural growth" and I saw two goats with painful hooves that needed trimming immediately.

I looked at the youtube videos of hoof trimming, it looked easy, but I wanted someone to guide us the first time, so we had our vet do a house call to give us a lesson on hoof trimming. She came out, and after a major struggle requiring my adult son to hold them down, was able to give them immunizations. But the hoof trimming - that was impossible, as the goats totally freaked out - they have no experience with the kind of handling that is necessary for basic hoof care and they have a fierce kick.

Our vet told us to try "tame" them. Even though they are normally very gentle and love to follow us around in the yard, we can scratch their heads and necks, but we definitely can't lead them on a line or even pet their sides or touch their legs much, if at all. The vet said that by handling them as much as possible, we would be able to eventually trim the hooves. After a few weeks, they are a little more tolerant of being pet and one even let me - briefly - touch their legs, but it seems that we've made almost no progress. Their hooves are still terribly over-grown. One limps sometimes. I am thinking about having the vet sedate the goats for a hoof trimming and then continuing the "taming" process. Would you agree?

Finally, maybe a little silly, but I always thought goats ate almost anything. At least that's what I learned in cartoons. My goats will only eat Timothy hay, Sweet goat feed, and one of them will try to nibble one of my pine trees when I let them wander free in the yard, but that's it. The don't forage, they won't eat anything I offer them (not even yummy lettuce from my garden) and I am surprised by this. I give them only a small amount of goat feed in the evening to put them away for the night in their shelter. They have ample timothy hay to eat and minerals and all that, but I still kind of hoped that I could occasionally invite them into my yard to clear weeds and stuff, but I'm still stuck with needing the weed-whacker.

Any advice from this group would be nice. Thanks.
 

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GreenTGoats
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You're going to have to tie them to the fence or get a stand to keep them still while you trim their hooves. If you trim after it's been raining, the hooves will be softer and that will make the task a lot easier. Giving them something to eat while you trim might help a bit as well.

Goats can be pretty picky. Especially if they've only had hay and grain their entire lives, it's going to be tough to train them to forage on their own. Only feeding them hay at night might help.
 

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Fair-Haven
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Your vet is right as well as Suzanne. I would invest in a stand, handle the feet briefly on a daily basis and feed them while they are in the stand, or at least tied. This will help you build trust and manage them for hoof trimmings, vaccinations, etc. Just a little bit of time daily will help a lot.
 

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Personally, I prefer to trim my goats' hooves without a stanchion. The stanchion gets in my way and puts the hooves too high up for me to handle comfortably. More importantly, it puts those sharp tools worryingly close to my face when the goat kicks. I also have problems with goats stepping off the other side or even flipping the stanchion over if they go berserk (which yours are likely to do).

My favorite method for trimming wild goats is to put them in a halter (llama halters work well) and snub the head up short (VERY short--as in about 3 inches of slack) to a stout post. You can use a collar, but be careful because a goat is more likely to choke when he struggles, and he is also able to move more so it makes your job more difficult. Do not use any sort of halter or collar that tightens like a noose when the goat pulls.

Speak calmly but be firm and confident in your movements. Push the goat up against the fence and lean your hip into him so he can't move much. When you pick a foot up, try to hold it in a position that is comfortable for him as long as he's standing nicely. Some goats act up because the person is holding the foot too high. I only crank the foot up when the goat is misbehaving, then I lower the foot to a more natural position when he calms down. Your goats will fight and struggle at first, but hold onto that foot for dear life and don't let go until the goat settles. Then let it down, rub him, and feed a treat. If you have a helper, they can feed treats any time the goat is being still while you're holding his foot. It will go quicker if you have another person there to help calm the goat down and keep him pushed against the fence.

The suggestion to trim after a rainstorm is a good one. I also suggest wearing leather gloves, good shoes, and jeans. This isn't a job you want to do in sandals and shorts because you will get kicked and stepped on before they learn to behave. You'll probably want to get the first hoof trim done before you have time to train your goats to tie properly and that's ok. They won't be traumatized forever. But after the hoof trim, spend the next few weeks practicing by tying your goats up while you feed treats, brush, and handle their feet. They'll come to see it as a normal part of their new life with you and they'll start to look forward to it.
 
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