The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: OhLaLa on July 07, 2014, 12:00:47 pm

Title: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: OhLaLa on July 07, 2014, 12:00:47 pm
On Country File this week, they were saying not to trim back sheep feet.

And in cases of Foot Rot use the blue anti-biotic spray, but still don't trim back.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Daisys Mum on July 07, 2014, 12:08:12 pm
Watched that with interest too as I have had a lot of lameness this year, I'm afraid that I would have had to tidy up that sheep's feet, I am finding that if I don't trim my Zwartbles their feet are splaying, my tup was particularly bad in his hind feet. I noticed that they did also treat with antibiotics, whats the betting that it was the one that only vets can give (cant remember the name).
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 12:11:59 pm
Micotil.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: SallyintNorth on July 07, 2014, 12:13:02 pm
Mycotil.  Yes, it will be. 

It's not new, what she was saying; I attended a Defra session on eradicating footrot two years ago saying exactly the same thing.  Well, they did allow paring to determine the problem; which in the case of full-blown footrot doesn't need any paring as you can smell it from 3 metres.

What it also didn't say is the number of different foot conditions there are.  We don't see a huge amount of actual footrot here, but we do see other foot problems.  As we get older I am getting harder on the lame ewes, and urging BH to cull those, even the ones which get better after only one treatment.  We (that is, he) won't be able to tip up this many Texel ewes every year forever...
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: henchard on July 07, 2014, 12:28:33 pm
On Country File this week, they were saying not to trim back sheep feet.

And in cases of Foot Rot use the blue anti-biotic spray, but still don't trim back.

What do you think?

This has been the advice folowing a study by Warwick University (I think) for some time now. 'Do not foot trim sheep with overgrown feet unless it is affecting their ability to walk'

Advice here

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci/research/greengroup/farmersandvets/footrotinsheep/ (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci/research/greengroup/farmersandvets/footrotinsheep/)
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 12:39:24 pm
Mycotil.  Yes, it will be

No it wont, Micotil maybe....  ;)
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Rosemary on July 07, 2014, 12:55:48 pm
The advice I was given was to not trim. I find it really hard not to though, when they look hellish.

It's a lot less work, for sure, but if they get overgrown, it's much harder to correct. It might be OK in commercial flocks of hunners and hunners of sheep that are probably going to be culled at 5 years old anyway.

Plus we have folk visit our place and I would be uncomfortable having sheep with hugely overgrown feet on show. And what about the show ring?

And will overgrown feet not affect how they walk? I don't mean lame but we get the cows trimmed every year - they aren't lame but if the feet are overgrown, they walk differently to compensate and this can affect the pelvis and the back. Would teh same not apply to sheep or does it not matter?
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Foobar on July 07, 2014, 12:58:26 pm
It could be any of the appropriate antibiotics available for foot rot (incl Alamycin etc), and they will need to be vet-prescribed because they are antibiotics.


I've been following that warwick uni advice for a couple of years, works well.  I think though you would go back and trim up that hoof once the infection has cleared up, just so that it isn't impairing the sheep' ability to walk.  Did he separate the ewe to stop it spreading?


It's a bit poor that CF is so behind the times.  It's also a bit poor that Adam has a ewe with such bad feet, you would think he would try to set a good example, in fact why hasn't he researched this earlier if he has such an ongoing problem?  But then again ...  I visited his farm park a couple of years ago on a hot sunny day and there were chickens there with no water available, so maybe welfare isn't their top priority ...
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Marches Farmer on July 07, 2014, 01:03:33 pm
We eliminated footrot from the flock by vaccinating with Footvax seven years ago.  One of the best shepherding decisions I ever made.  I check the ewes feet regularly but only trim when I consider it necessary.  On our heavy ground if the horn grows under and makes a "pocket" it fills with mud in the WInter and then they can get Shelly Hoof.  If that gets too bad it can occasionally lead to Toe Granuloma, which is painful for them so ..... I trim.  I haven't had to cull a sheep because of bad feet for many years but ..... I trim.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Foobar on July 07, 2014, 01:10:10 pm
According to Agnes Winter (I think) Shelly Hoof is the only reason to trim a hoof back.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Fleecewife on July 07, 2014, 01:18:31 pm
I think you should use your own judgement according to the appearance of the foot.
We get few foot problems in our Hebs but the Shetlands with white hooves tend to be worse.  We check everyone's feet at least once a year before tupping, plus at shearing, but there's not usually much to do.  The odd hoof with a torn bit we feel should be neatened up before muck gets stuck up in the hoof and a problem begins.  Feet with great long winkle picker toes do need to be trimmed in my opinion - why wouldn't you?  Maybe in a very large flock there is the danger of rot bugs being passed from sheep to sheep on the foot shears or hoof knife, but with smaller numbers we can be careful about tool hygiene.
The ideal of course is to have some good rocky ground where they can play king of the castle and wear the hooves down.  We have not a single rock, nor any hard standing they can use regularly, but plenty of wet grass which is hell on sheeps feet.
In the case of an actual foot rot occurrence, our first line of defence would be a dipping of the affected foot in Golden Hoof.  Antibiotics would be the last resort and I am concerned that it appears to be the first line of treatment suggested.
We have an ancient Shetland ewe who we stopped breeding from years ago because she has a tendency to bad feet.  I love her fleece though, so we keep her in the orchard with a couple of ancient Soays which have cast iron feet.  The only sheep on the place which had maggots so far this year was this ewe - only in one foot.  I suppose they were attracted to the smell  :P  However, any rot had been well cleared by the maggots, with no damage to the flesh underneath - job done.  Maggots used to be used in human wounds to clean up slough and infection - apparently it tickles a bit but is otherwise pain free.  Maybe we should try it again with sheep  ;D
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: SallyintNorth on July 07, 2014, 01:22:57 pm
Mycotil.  Yes, it will be

No it wont, Micotil maybe....  ;)

I thought we didn't do taking the p about spelling and grammar?  ;)

NOAH knew what I meant  :huff: - but you are right, it is spelled Micotil
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: SallyintNorth on July 07, 2014, 01:26:14 pm

I've been following that warwick uni advice for a couple of years, works well.  I think though you would go back and trim up that hoof once the infection has cleared up, just so that it isn't impairing the sheep' ability to walk. 

Nah, Amanda Owens-lookalike vet said the Quarantine referred to quarantining animals you bring on.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Ina on July 07, 2014, 01:28:51 pm
We have not a single rock, nor any hard standing they can use regularly, but plenty of wet grass which is hell on sheeps feet.

I agree, it is. Especially when you have sheep that aren't suitable for wet conditions... So I'd say "it all depends"!
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 01:42:05 pm
I thought we didn't do taking the p about spelling and grammar?  ;)

We didn't shake on it  :innocent:
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Hellybee on July 07, 2014, 02:49:14 pm
I remember the vets saying on the one occasion they've used the M word  :D  And they said its a real powerful drug and would never be able to let it go over the counter.  What is it about it and so toxic to humans?
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 02:56:48 pm
Can give you a touch of heart attack.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Porterlauren on July 07, 2014, 04:27:10 pm
I have been experimenting with this. . . .

The old adage was the untrimmed feet caused foot problems, whereas now it seems more likely that foot problems cause overgrown feet (due to less pressure being placed upon them).

Trimming bad feet seems to prolong the time it takes it to heal. In one study, they trimmed one batch and jabbed them, and didn't trim another (but also jabbed them), something like 90% of the untrimmed sheep were sorted within 5 days, but less than 50% of the trimmed feet.

However, to be honest, repeated exposure to a/bs is a bad idea, so the best idea is to try to breed it out. A predisposition for foot root is a genetic trait, so although you will always get some sheep with it, with decent recording and culling you can seriously reduce the levels of F/R in your flock.

Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 04:33:58 pm
Split them off, jab them, get them over the withdrawal period and cull them.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Hellybee on July 07, 2014, 05:32:00 pm
A touch of a heart attack ?? Blimey x
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Dogwalker on July 07, 2014, 05:50:38 pm
I remember the vets saying on the one occasion they've used the M word  :D  And they said its a real powerful drug and would never be able to let it go over the counter.  What is it about it and so toxic to humans?

and it kills goats!
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Me on July 07, 2014, 05:55:16 pm
In Americans anyway...
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Hellybee on July 07, 2014, 06:04:02 pm
In Americans anyway...

 :tired:   :unwell: :roflanim:
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Daisys Mum on July 07, 2014, 07:39:24 pm
I am absolutely gutted as my lovely tup that I bought last year has the worlds worst feet, it is impossible to keep him sound , I am now finding that most of his offspring are lame a lot of the time.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Marches Farmer on July 07, 2014, 07:44:27 pm
The show standard for my main breed (Southdowns) specifies black hoof horn but I've always found that the horn on striped feet is much thicker and less likely to be damaged or suffer from Shelly Hoof, so we actively select rams with stripy feet.  It's one of the reasons I don't show them.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Rosemary on July 07, 2014, 07:47:18 pm
My Ryelands are rarely lame - sometimes their feet look horrendous but they are hardly ever unsound. Then trimming and blue spray is usually enough. Only used ABs for sair feet less than a hanful of times in seven years.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: Daisys Mum on July 07, 2014, 07:58:39 pm
I noticed that they put lime down in front of the troughs, what kind of lime and where would I get some?
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: OhLaLa on July 08, 2014, 09:28:49 am
Re Lime, my vet also suggested liming the fields, but then keeping them empty for a while.


Liming the area around the water trough ensures all the flock walks through it. Mine however, would also lay in it.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: humphreymctush on July 13, 2014, 08:18:17 am
I never routinely trim my sheep's feet but if the hoof is getting misshapen I tend to find a tidy up will encourage it to a better shape. I agree with Porterlauren In my experience foot rot can cause excessive growth of the hoof so if you see a sheep with foot rot and overgrown feet you could be forgiven for thinking the foot rot was caused in part by the shepherd's failure to trim when in fact the over growth was a symptom of the foot rot. The most important thing to understand is that foot rot and scald are bacterial infections and in a relatively closed flock can be eradicated either by vaccination or frequent use of a Zinc Sulphate foot bath for a few months.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: kanisha on July 13, 2014, 08:39:38 am
The show standard for my main breed (Southdowns) specifies black hoof horn but I've always found that the horn on striped feet is much thicker and less likely to be damaged or suffer from Shelly Hoof, so we actively select rams with stripy feet.  It's one of the reasons I don't show them.

Interesting observation. I would add that in addition to thickness of hoof horn there is also hardness and mine with black hooves certainly seem to have harder feet/ hooves and are less likely to chip or split. Although  I would be tempted to agree with the white or black and white hooves being thicker i'll have to check my sheep hooves a little more closely to confirm.
Title: Re: Country File - No Feet Trimming?
Post by: midtown on July 13, 2014, 02:16:30 pm
Don't think you can go far wrong by following the advice of the EBLEX publications. This one has advice on foot conditions; http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/brp_l_sheepSBRP_Manual_7_reducing_lameness170713.pdf (http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/brp_l_sheepSBRP_Manual_7_reducing_lameness170713.pdf)

On a workshop I attended a couple of years ago, it was recommended to place lime around troughs which will help in preventing infection, especially where poaching of the ground is a risk. Alternatives include the use of gravel around troughs.