Teeth, Horns & Hooves
When browsing the goat rips rather than bites. The goat has incisors on the bottom jaw. The top jaw has a pad. The food is then passed to the molars to be crushed. Assisted by the tongue the food is then passed into the oesophagus and on to the stomach. By the age of one the goat would have grown a full set of teeth. There are six molars on each side in the lower and upper jaw, and eight incisors on the lower jaw making a total of thirty-two teeth In all. At one year the milk incisors are gradually replaced by permanent teeth, by the time the goat is four and a half years old it is known as full mouthed.
We do not disbud or dehorn our goats. Horns on a goat act as a "cooling mechanism" that connect to the sinus cavities at the head. Our experience is that horns are mostly used to scratch with and are not used aggressively. Goats do use them to spar with each other during play fights but this does not lead to any injury. Horns are not used against people.We do polish horns with hoof oil at the same time as hoofs are trimmed - this is mainly cosmetic.
Hooves need trimming every 4 to 6 weeks. This is a simple task to remove trapped dirt and stones and keep them in good shape.
Living in the Fens it is inevitable our goats' feet are wet in the Winter months and rarely the odd goat shows signs of mild footrot - shown left as slight undermining of the heel.
Another mild condition is Hoof Scald which is a redness between the two halves of the hoof.
Check for this when the hooves are trimmed and use either flowers of sulphur powder or foot rot spray as a routine.