|Biscuit, left and Muffin, right|
It's really tricky to photograph and trim at the same time, especially when you're the only person around! So the pics are a little mixed up. No apologies here, I did the best I could under the circumstances. The easiest way to trim goat hooves (especially when on your own), is while they're eating. Something really tasty, for example, a mix of goat muesli and pellets.
This is Biscuit's untrimmed hoof. For some strange reason, she doesn't seem to have the flappy skin that usually grows over the end of the hoof (heel?). Muffin does, but I didn't get a pic of her 'before'. The layer of hoof around the outside is long enough to catch bits of mud and small stones, which can be painful if they start digging into her soft sole.
To start with, the mud and stones are removed with the edge of a pair of sharp scissors (kitchen, but not to go back in the kitchen!). Then the outer, overgrown line of hoof is trimmed off, which is easier if the goat has been standing on damp grass for a while to soften it.
This is Muffin's hoof after. She had really flappy folds of skin that grow from her heel and bend over her sole. These were trimmed off and you can see the clean hoof underneath. The layer of hoof is level with the sole. There are no cavities for stones and mud to collect now.
A couple of weeks ago while I was busy doing a bake off, my husband and eldest daughter were tackling some more fencing in their paddock. One side (the one that joins onto our neighbour, of course!), was a thick hedge of banksia rose, with a very rickety fence underneath. They had munched through this in no time, exposing the escape routes, which they were on the verge of using when we received a phone call from our rather concerned neighbour. The obvious solution was to continue the electric fencing line around the entire perimeter of the paddock, leaving a small opening at the gate to allow access.
There are now three lines of hot wire positioned just inside the mesh fence, which is powered by a portable solar panel. The panel receives as much sun as possible on our tree covered property, and so far the unit has not lost charge, although time will tell as bleak winter days without much sun set in.
Since wiring up the hot fence, there have been no escapes. Yesterday I even took their collars off, which they had been wearing since they were very small. It was a little sad... it felt a bit like the end of their 'kidhood'.
I am no longer number one in their eyes either. When they see me across the way, a little bleat is all I get (unless of course it's dinner time). Once I take them their food and receive the initial greeting affections, all they want to know about is the food. And no wailing when I leave, just a little look up while they continue munching!
My girls are growing up.