The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: JFW67 on May 12, 2022, 08:31:53 pm

Title: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: JFW67 on May 12, 2022, 08:31:53 pm
Hi All,

I am new to sheep, have a flock of 8 ewes (Welsh Black), one ram (Herdwick) and 12 lambs.  So far no calamities and only one lambing that was in any way a problem.

I'm in Northern Ireland so its a bit wet!  The pasture is sloping so doesn't tend to have standing water.

My concern is that I've become confused (from too much online reading  :gloomy:) with regard what should be done and how regularly.  I'd appreciate some input.

I currently understand that:

1.  The feet should be checked every couple of months as a matter of course and hoof growth that is curling over should be trimmed back but not down to a point level with the pad.   Over trimming potentially causes injury to the pad and may actually encourage faster regrowth.

2.  Feet should be treated with Zinc Sulphate such as golden hoof if there are any issues of lameness.  The stuff is only effective if the sheep stand in the solution for 5 minutes or so and then stand on clean hardstanding for half and hour or so until it is dry.

Is this correct?

3.  Any suggested alternatives to Golden Hoof?

Title: Re: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: twizzel on May 12, 2022, 09:59:20 pm
If youíve only got a few sheep you probably donít need to footbath them, but if any go lame, tip them up and have a look as soon as you can. Donít trim. A spray of blue spray normally fixes things before they turn nasty (blue spray from the vet, not the purple stuff you get in country stores). If you do want to use a footbath, Iím using provita Hoofsure endurance which seems pretty good, and doesnít require a stand in period. Or goldenhoof, though I never had much luck with that, and standing them for 5 mins was time consuming.


Generally leave feet alone unless like you say theyíre excessively overgrown. The breeds you have are pretty tough. Sometimes in the winter bringing them in onto dry standing for 24 hours can help dry their feet out, if itís excessively wet.
Title: Re: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: harmony on May 12, 2022, 10:06:35 pm
Hi  :wave:


You only need to trim if an overgrown foot is affecting mobility or where you have impacted shelly hoof.  Regularly inspect but don't trim for the sake of it. Where you have lameness due to infection trimming can cause the problem to become worse and spread infection.


Foot bathing can be useful but it also has the potential to spread infection and some treatments can be really painful to sheep with exposed soft tissue.


Many flocks have converted to not trimming as routine and have reduced lameness levels in their flock.


Quarantining new stock, paying attention to conformation of feet/leg and culling also help build resistance in your flock.
Title: Re: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: JFW67 on May 12, 2022, 11:28:00 pm
Thanks very much for the reply . . . What is impacted shelly hoof?
Title: Re: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: harmony on May 13, 2022, 08:23:38 am
Diseases that cause lameness in sheep: shelly hoof | AHDB (https://ahdb.org.uk/knowledge-library/diseases-that-cause-lameness-in-sheep-shelly-hoof)
Title: Re: General care and treatment of feet question
Post by: JFW67 on May 13, 2022, 10:14:59 am
Thank you very much.
I was confused by Ďimpactedí.
Thanks again.