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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking into ways to keep my goats' hooves healthy in these rainy months (near Seattle!) but when I look it up, the only preventative I see is to trim the hooves. Of course this is necessary but I was thinking maybe a footbath of some kind every couple of weeks? It is ridiculously rainy this time of year and the mud is a few inches deep. Years ago we had a goat that got footrot despite regular maintenance and the poor thing was miserable. I'd like to do everything I can do (safely) to prevent this in the future. We're already expecting some gravel but it would be unrealistic to gravel my whole property. Any suggestions to minimize problems?
Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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TKC Farms
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I have been told and also inclined to believe that it you can place about 3 concrete culverts in pasture for them to climb and jump from one to another that it will help in reducing foot trimming. This makes sense and I am going to try it for 2 reasons, 1st-they love to play and climb, 2nd- if they do jump and climb the concrete culverts it will have to over time wear down the hoof some. OK guy and Gals out there in Goat land. Laugh if you want to but I am going to try it. Just put the culverts for enough apart that they can't hang in between them but can jump from one to another. and another thing is you make have to clean them out once in a while for they are sure to poop in them, and you know they will be in there when it hot laying around. LOL-IMO
 
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TKC Farms
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I have been told and also inclined to believe that it you can place about 3 concrete culverts in pasture for them to climb and jump from one to another that it will help in reducing foot trimming. This makes sense and I am going to try it for 2 reasons, 1st-they love to play and climb, 2nd- if they do jump and climb the concrete culverts it will have to over time wear down the hoof some. OK guy and Gals out there in Goat land. Laugh if you want to but I am going to try it. Just put the culverts for enough apart that they can't hang in between them but can jump from one to another. and another thing is you make have to clean them out once in a while for they are sure to poop in them, and you know they will be in there when it hot laying around. LOL-IMO
oh, one more thing. "don't put to close to your fence" i think you know2 why. LOL
 

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I do think you could run them through a copper sulfate or diluted bleach foot bath every few weeks to help stave off issues but I have never tried to force goat to walk through water - good luck with that! Depending on how many there are, you might dip their feet on a fitting stand.

Providing raised dry platforms of any material will be the most beneficial. Wood pallets with the gaps covered, a sheet of chip board on cinder blocks, or really any other material in areas where they walk the most. In addition, adding wood shavings to their shelter on a frequent basis to constantly absorb moisture from their feet may help.
 

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I live in the same conditions as you do. I try to have my goats' feet in the best shape possible going into October. After that, I try to go through the whole herd for a trim every 60 days. I try to keep the barn they sleep in dry and pretty clean. It's not a natural state for goat hooves IMO, so you have to do the best you can. My goats have to get pretty bad before they limp, so picking up the foot and discovering the problem early is actually less work than trying to fix a bad one. The problem I see most is the hoof wall separating away from the hoof with mud working it's way up the hoof in an ever-increasing pocket. I've clipped hoof wall past half way up their foot without problem in goats like this. Remove all the separated hoof wall so mud can no longer trap there. I think copper tox is a good product if you want to put something on rotting parts. Or strong iodine. I used to have just as much problem in the winter wet months with mites. I now aggressively use pour on ivermectin every 60 days and no longer have to deal with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies , everyone. To provide a little more info:
  • their barn has a raised wooden floor with straw as bedding
  • the biggest pocket of mud is about 2 feet from the front of the barn but it's the quickest way to the rest of their yard, I plan on laying gravel in that spot in particular
  • There are large concrete slabs that form a walkway from the goat to the barn that they often use but between people walking on them and goats pooping on them, it's tough to keep them free of mud
In addition to keeping their feet in good shape, I was considering the copper sulfate bath (on the milk stand) or copper bolus. Does any bag of copper sulfate work or are there purity issues? Is there a preferred brand? What copper to water ratio and how long should they soak? What is the risk like for copper toxicity with the bolus? How does one dose a goat with a copper bolus and at what dosage?

Thanks for all the suggestions! And Tenacross, I totally get what you mean about this not being a natural state for goats. Almost makes me feel like a bad goat mom for not having a massive, covered, temperature controlled pen with gravel, climbing toys, and tempurpedic mattresses. We do what we can.
 

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In regards to your copper bolus questions:

1. The risk of toxicity is extremely low. Copper Bolus are very slow release as they sit and dissolve in the bottom of the stomachs over time.
2. The generally accepted dosage is 1gram per 20lbs. You typically buy them in 2 or 4 gram boluses.
3. You get them down their throats whichever way works best for you! There are "balling guns" or hiding them in marshmallows or peanut butter sandwiches. Sometimes they get chewed which apparently isn't ideal but is not harmful.

If you post a few photos of various goats we may be able to identify some signs of mineral deficiencies that may be making the hoof situation even tougher. If they are showing obvious signs of copper deficiency it will take a few months and a few doses of copper bolus to fix them up.
 
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