Pre-Freshening Goat Clip
It’s a good idea to give goats that will be freshening a “baby clip” before they give birth. It’s not an all-over clipping, it’s just a clipping to remove hair in areas that are likely to get messy during the birthing process, or that you and the goat kids will need clear access to.
Instead of a pre-freshening goat clip, if you live in an area where it’s warm enough, you could clip them all-over; however, we’re still likely to get some cold weather, so we don’t want to remove all of their winter coat just yet.
Trim the Tail, Flanks, Rear Legs & Udder
From the rear, areas that are a good idea to clip include the tail, flanks, rear legs, and udder. Below you can see the rear trim for Amethyst and Charm Box – they are about a week away from freshening and their udders are just starting to fill.
It’s not important to precisely trim them like you were preparing for a show, just remove most of the hair so they can be cleaned up easily and the teats are readily accessible for the kids.
I find that a #4, #7, and #10 blade work well to get the job done. I use the #4 in areas where I’d like to leave the most hair (like on the flanks and rear legs), use the #7 where I’d like the hair to be a little shorter (edges of the legs near the udder and under the tail), and use the #10 where I want things the shortest (the udder).
Trim of the Beard
Most goats have a beard (even females), and it’s a good idea to trim these off too. Otherwise, a lot of fluids and dirt tend to accumulate in them when the does are cleaning off the kids. The photo below shows Charm Box with and without the beard.
Trim the Stomach
As well as clipping the udder hair, it’s good to clip the hair on the goat’s stomach (at least up to the navel) so that you can see that the kids are nursing and the goats are not developing any udder issues. Also, trimming hooves a few weeks prior to freshening time is important.
When it’s warmer and the goats are not so pregnant, they’ll get much more thorough clippings, but for now, this will help keep things a little cleaner during freshening. Baby goats will be here soon – time to make sure we’ve got all the proper goat kidding supplies! The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) also has a listing of goat tasks that need attention in spring here.