HOW TO CLIP A GOAT
With a few tips and techniques, you can develop the skill to take a challenging chore and turn it into a positive experience!
10 DAYS PRIOR TO THE SHOW
Wash & Clip your Goat – This amount of days allows the hair to grow out enough to soften the overall look. It also allows any clipping mistakes to grow out. We all like a “do-over”! It also gets a major chore accomplished which frees up time for all of the many other show preparation chores.
Exception to the 10 day – The only time it’s recommended to wait until the day or two before the show is if your goat is recovering from being sick or is struggling to make weight. Keeping their hair on will keep them warm, comfortable and eating!
Early Clipping – If you live in hot climate, clipping your goat early in the season will keep them cooler. Other advantages are that you can also see how the muscling is developing. It also gives you time to adjust the feed program if necessary. NOTE – If you choose to clip your goat early, blanket the goat at night. Make sure they are kept warm and comfortable. A sick or stressed goat will not grow well.
Reference – Read the Clipper 101 article to ensure that you have the right clippers and blades for the task at hand.
CLIPPER ETIQUETTE – If you borrow a set of clippers; buy a new set of blades to use. This ensures that you’re working with a sharp set. Sharp blades ALWAYS make the job easier! Once you are finished, you can give the blades to the clipper owner as a great way to say thanks!
- Shampoo & Towels
- Blankets & Slinky Tube
- Clippers, sharp blades,
- Clipper oil, coolant & blade wash
- Grooming Stand
- Time, Patience & a Friend
Grooming Stand – This is a must have for all Goat Showing. It is peace of mind when have your goat secure and at a level that is easy to work on. NOTE – Never leave your goat unattended. They can slip off with their back legs. If this happens, quickly lift the hind end back up on the stand and tell them to stand still. Yes, you can give your goat commands…they are adept to learning!
Clip in a Shaded Area – Clipping in the shade makes the job less stressful on everyone. The goat will have more patience and so will you!
Have a Friend to Help – Having an extra pair of hands will keep your goat still and safe on the stand.
NOTE – A head of time, make time to watch an experienced showman clip their animals. I guarantee you will learn time saving tips and techniques.
Start with Sharp Blades & Oil Frequently – Sharp blades will cut easily through the clean hair. If the clippers start to drag or hang up on the hair, it could be due to dirt in the hair or the blades are dull. If the blades are dull, stop and put another fresh set. This will save you time and frustration. It also keeps the clippers from overheating and burning the goat. There are also coolant products to use during clipping.
Clip Back to Front, Top to Bottom in smooth steady rows with 3/8” blade. The tail should look like a paint brush. ½” Blade on the face.
Keep the Skin Taunt – Use your free hand to keep the skin taunt as you push the clippers towards your hand. Some goats have loose and stretchy skin and keeping the skin tight will help the clipping process. It also keeps the blades from gouging the hair.
DO NOT Clip Below the Knees – Keep the hair below the knees on all four legs. Unless the styles and trends have changed, slick sheared legs make the leg look skinny. Some goats and sheep do not have a lot of hair on their legs, but keep what they have. Trim the hair on the hooves and between the toes. Hooves should look rectangular with no over growth covering the bottom of the hoof. See article Hoof Trimming for more information.
Clean up Goat and the Clipping Area – Always clean up cut hair after each goat clipped. It will make the overall clipping much easier. Also wash the goat with shampoo and rinse well. This removes any loose hair and any clipper oil residue. Make sure that all body clipped goats have blankets to keep them warm.
Breeding Stock – Breeding stock does not need to be body clipped. Wash; clean up with clippers, the tail, face and long hair. Horns can be enhanced by applying lightly vitamin E oil.
At the Show; After Weigh-in – Once your goat has been examined by the veterinarian and weighed in, get them settled in their pen and start prepping for final grooming.
This is a good day to get focused on the show. Get all the goats in your group up on the grooming stands and as a team do a quick grooming inspection over each goat to see what needs to be cleaned up. Don’t wait until the busy show day!
This is an opportunity to see clipping techniques, mistakes made and how to fix or blend them away. Here the other kids are watching the more experienced showmen cleaning up the goats.
County fairs rules demand that only exhibitors work on the livestock. This ensures that the kids work together as a team to help each other. Many times the kids will learn more from their experienced peers!
Show Day – 2-3 hours before your class, wash or spot clean your goat. This gives you time to work on final grooming touches, give your goat a chance to settle down and you the time to get dressed in your show clothes. Always read the show rules for grooming: The goat should represent its natural coloring. No dyes allowed.
Advice to Advanced Showmen –
“Your legacy and experience is honored when you share it with your fellow novice/intermediate showmen”.
Getting your goat ready for showing takes time and patience. Keep up the effort to make your goat look its best! Even if there is a grooming mistake, do your best with what you can. The judge understands that you are still learning and that is exactly the point of showing livestock!