Trimming the Hooves of Ancestors

May 30, 2010

We are late this year trimming goat hooves.  An upside to the latest rain is catching up on a little animal husbandry is easier.  After a few days of rain, hooves become a more pliable and workable.  With a clear morning sky yesterday, it made sense to call the goats down to the holding pen and begin trimming.

We are trimming late this year.  Normally we trim when the does are kidding.  During kidding time they come down to the kidding barn for a day or two.  Then before we let them back out with the herd, we trim their hooves.  This year, though, with all does kidding in a ten-day period; there was not nearly enough time or energy to trim hooves.

Hooves differ from animal to animal.  The hooves of those goats that have a lot of Saanen lineage are very much overgrown.  The hooves of those goats with greater South African Boar in their lineage are not overgrown nearly as much.  I’m not sure why that is.  Perhaps it is tied to heritage and landscape of ancestors.

Saanans are named for Saanen valley in Switzerland.  Boar goats are a crossbred goat from the early 1900’s, whose lineage probably comes from the goats of the Namaqua Bushmen and the Fooku tribes with maybe some European or Indian bloodlines thrown in.  Now I don’t know a lot about Switzerland or South Africa.  However, if my prejudices have some truth, then hoof growth tied to landscape of original ancestors from might make some sense.

I imagine Switzerland goats coming from mountain goat stock.  Where those goats of South Africa, I think of more of a plains goat.  If so, then it makes sense to me that the Saanen has an ancient need to grow hoof at a quicker rate because travel on rock and rocky soil wears the hoof down quickly.  Where the South African Boar historically lives in flat lands with much less rock and therefore has less need for a quick growing hoof.

Who knows?  What I do know is the Saanen and Saanen crosses have more hoof and take much more time to trim than the Boars.  Not all that important, but you have to think about something while trimming hooves.

© David B. Bell 2010

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