Good care of your goat is more than just providing sufficient food and water. Regular grooming not only creates a bond between you and your caprine friend, but can nip potential health problems in the bud or prevent them from escalating. While grooming, you're also examining your goat's skin, hooves and the rest of her body.
Basic Grooming Supplies
For basic goat grooming, you'll need a hoof trimmer, curry comb, hard and soft brush, and a comb for beards and tails. A bath mitt for bathing is handy for the occasions your goat needs a good scrub and rinse. You should also invest in a set of electric clippers. Even if you don't show your goats, they come in handy for trimming tails or just neatening up your goat's appearance.
Your goats run, jump and climb all over the place. That's an important aspect of goat life, and it all depends on the condition of their hooves. If you don't have experience trimming goat hooves, have a knowledgeable person show you how it's done. Cutting too much hoof off at once can make your goat lame. Overgrown feet can also make your goat lame, but severely overgrown feet must be trimmed back over time, not all at once. Once your goat's feet are nicely balanced, you will probably need to trim them every six to eight weeks to keep them that way. Every time you groom your goat, check the hooves for any rocks or sticks lodged in the bottom, as well as for any foul odors. The latter indicates foot rot, which needs veterinary attention.
Your goat's daily brushing might become a high point of her day, feeding time excepted. Use the hard brush to get mud and surface dirt off her, then use the curry comb to get out the less obvious soil. A vigorous currying not only brings dirt to the surface, but acts as a gentle massage. Finish off with the soft brush, which also helps distribute oils throughout her coat. Feel your goat's body with your hands to see if she has any lumps or bumps. Those could be wounds or a parasitical skin infestation.
If you show your goat, you've got to groom her even more extensively before she steps before the judges. That might include clipping, which requires practice before you turn the blades on your goat. If you've never clipped a goat before, a day or so before a show is not the time to learn. Practice makes perfect. The type of blade used depends on the season and the length and texture of your goat's hair. It's not a good idea to body clip your goat while the weather's still cold, no matter if there's a show on the calendar or not. In cooler weather, you can perform a dairy clip, which consists of clipping or cutting the hair on the udder, belly, tail and thighs. You can also use the clippers to neaten the inside of the ears and shave off a beard on a doe. Your goat looks much neater, but still has plenty of hair to keep her warm. Once warm weather arrives, you might want to body clip your goats to make them more comfortable.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.