The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Battling goat hoof rot

Goats at the gate
The goats like to wait for me at the gate.

Okay, I never said they were all on the same side of the gate.

Goat family

More seriously, there's been some trouble in paradise over the last few weeks --- hoof rot. As these things go, I suspect it's a very light case, but the recessed hoof area freaked me out enough to order some zinc sulfate to stop the bad bugs in their tracks. While I was waiting for the drug to arrive, I also instituted once-a-week hoof trimming, which Artemesia submitted to with her usual "please don't...but okay if you must" grace. Interestingly, by the time the Hoof-n-Heel came in the mail, her problematic hoof area was already starting to regrow.

Hoof trimming day

I suspect the root of the problem was threefold. First, Abigail was a bully and often didn't allow Artemesia to stand up out of the mud on the loafing stations...even though we put two porches in the pasture to ensure there was enough space. Yes, our ex-herd queen would run back and forth chasing Artemesia away from anything tantalizing just for the fun of it.

Second, the threadworms that popped up in Artmesia's fecal matter were a warning sign I should have paid more attention to. I did read that threadworms can cause hoof rot as well as being an intestinal parasite but I ignored that issue since our goats' feet have always been top notch.

Finally, I skipped hoof-trimming during Artemesia's last month of pregnancy because she really wasn't in the mood. But a slight jostling of her kids would have been worth nipping the hoof rot in the bud.

Treating for hoof rot

All of that said, it's not the end of the world. I'll keep treating the problematic front hooves daily with the zinc sulfate and trimming weekly until all signs are gone, and I've also rotated to a new pasture in hopes of keeping our doe off wormy ground.

Now that Artemesia is back eating lots of greenery, her overall health has improved so much that she might have been able to fight off the problem on her own. And even the weather is cooperating, turning hot and dry. So hopefully our darling goat will be back at 100% in short order.

Goat kids

Oh and here's one last cute-goat photo to make up for regaling you with such a difficult topic today. Our goat kids really might be growing faster than the weeds!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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