Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: trimming sheep feet  (Read 4229 times)


  • Joined Nov 2012
trimming sheep feet
« on: November 10, 2013, 03:22:30 pm »
sorry just starting with sheep and jumped into fast to be completely honest now need to learn fast!!!!

once yo have trimmed the sheep's feet do any of you spray the sheep's feet to help keep them infection free?? if so which one do you use???
thank you for you replays


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2013, 04:40:25 pm »
I do, since I'm only trimming when theres a lameness issue (they get trimmed twice, any more and I cull them as its quite genetic). I use Alamycin spray, it's an antibiotic so it has to come from the vet, it's far far more effective than any of the off the shelf stuff.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2013, 05:57:21 pm »
I now only trim if there is a problem, I found by trimming (as i'm not a pro at it) that I actually tended to take too much hoof off and made it worse so I just leave them unless I have to!

So yes I spray a foot if I've picked it up 9 times out of 10. And I use the same spray as lachlanandmarcus from the vet


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Kent
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2013, 06:23:53 pm »
Same as the above - except I now use Terramycin not Alamycin - different vet said it was better so I am only following orders!  If you give Footvax some consideration then hopefully you won't have many foot problems anyway. One dose followed by another in 6 weeks - then top ups when required (at least annually but instructions rather vague)  :wave:
Keeper of Ryelands (learner) , Geese, Bantams, Chickens, Ducks , Horses & Cattle.  Animal Feed Merchant by day & BSc Agriculture graduate of yore :)


  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Devon
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2013, 07:58:10 pm »
If you have trimmed only the horn then you shouldn't need to spray.  If the grass is wet then any spray will as likely be washed off rapidly anyway.  Either a footbath or a hoof paste (which is the small scale version), is more likely to be beneficial since it provides nutrients which help the hoof to knit and harden and stay healthy.
On the other hand, if you have any pink-ish skin between the hooves at all then you should spray and ensure that the spray has time to penetrate in dry conditions.
If you are going to trim hooves then take great care and if in any doubt take off less rather than more - as Hillview Farm says.  Unless there is significant undergrowth, best to leave it, and whatever you do allow the side wall to remain proud of the sole.
Carefully shearing small flocks throughout the South-West.


  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Nr Crediton in Devon
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 01:46:55 pm »
Like many have said already we try to keep foot trimming to a minimum and now tend only to do it in response to a problem. When we first started with sheep a few years ago my father in law, (a long time sheep and goat keeper) instructed us to trim the feet every 6 weeks to minimise the risk of pockets forming in the hoof that could collect mud and infection.  Being an obedient son in law I did as I was told. That first summer I'm sure our sheep's feet could have won prizes in a sheep's feet beauty contest. And they were constantly lame.   
Every time you trim away the hardened hoof and expose softer, less resilient tissue it leaves the feet more tender- it is also very difficult to manicure feet well without drawing blood or at least getting very close to where the vessels are, increasing the risk of infection. Years ago I was a keen long distance runner- a golden rule of running is not to cut your toenails in the week prior to a marathon to avoid getting sore toes- actually that made more sense in my head !
Since we stopped trimming routinely our incidences of lameness are massively reduced. When its wet the problems are more frequent, the hoof tends to bend creating pockets for mud to collect, rather than snap off neatly as it does in drier times- but a lot of the time even if a sheep is limping for a day or two, it can resolve itself without resorting to trimming and spray. if after a few days its clearly not improving then we will gather them in and sort it. this lovely hot dry summer left our sheep with beautifully crafted feet and we hadn't touched their hooves since lambing in April.
the other factor that I like to think makes a difference is the understanding of the role various trace elements play in livestock health, and in this case in feet health. foremost amongst these when it comes to hoof hardness is Zinc which is crucial in the formation of keratin, the main structural protein in hoof ( and wool) formation. other elements such as copper, manganese and molybdenum play a role too. As a result I always ensure that the sheep have access to mineral supplements ( licks or buckets) as I am not convinced that our low input pastures will automatically contain all they need. Obviously sheep are extremely sensitive to too much copper (though they do need some) so I only use licks or buckets that are sheep specific.
every time my father in law visits I have to practically wrestle him to stop him attacking the sheep's hooves but it feels we have found a way that works for us, though we are unlikely to win prizes for their beauty.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 02:14:45 pm »
Footvax works (treat, vaccinate, move to clean pasture, check after 16 days, treat if necessary, move to clean pasture).  Haven't seen it, or scald, since we did it once only in 2007.  Quarantine new sheep.  Keep the bottom blade of the foot shears flat against the base of the clee and you won't go too deep.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 03:38:38 pm »
If you give Footvax some consideration then hopefully you won't have many foot problems

Footvax is a vaccine against footrot. If you don't have footrot, then you're vaccinating needlessly.Touch wood, I've never had a sheep with footrot. My vet's advice is "don't sort a problem you don't have".

I trim ours twice a year - before tupping and at lambing - and inbetween if needed. I always give a lame sheep 24 hours to come sound and most do. I don't routinely spray with antibiotic spray but have it to hand, just  in case.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 08:21:54 pm »
Good article in Farmers Guardian (will go look for it now) that said that a study had shown that trimming sheep feet for footrot was less effective than just injecting with antibiotics.

They seemed to suggest that the only reason you'd trim is for badly overgrown feet or sometimes for shelly hoof, if mud impacted.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: trimming sheep feet
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 08:26:03 pm »
Here's the article - don't know if it's readable like this.

If not, it was in the 1st Nov issue, Vet's View section.


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