Hoof trimming is important when you keep sheep, but you may wonder why. And if you haven’t trimmed hooves before, you may wonder what tools you need as well as the basics of the chore.
Read on for answers to these questions and more!
Why do you need to trim sheep hooves?
Trimming hooves prevents lameness, and allows the sheep to walk evenly and comfortably. It also lessens chances of hoof rot and other bacteria collecting in the hooves.
Read more: Read more about the importance of hoof trimming.
What supplies are needed?
The simplest setup is just trimmers that can be used to trim and scrape. You’ll find it easiest to simply lift your sheep in a sitting position to hoof trim.
Slings and trimming stands can be used as well, but if you arenâ€™t showing animals or running a large farm they are not necessary. Always make sure to disinfect everything you will use on the sheep.Â
How do I trim the hooves?
Use the trimmers to clip evenly to the foot pad. Most hooves will grow in uneven patterns, so following the footpad will always get you back to square one.
Make sure get the tip, back and all sides of the hoof. If mud or any other substance has stuck to their hoof, take the time to scrape it out.
Read more: Do you know your flock’s FAMACHA score? Here’s what it is and what it means for your sheep.
What should be avoided?
Avoid clipping into the footpad and using unsterilized trimmers.
How often should I trim hooves?
This is a difficult question because, like human nail growth, many factors affect the speed they grow. Wet conditions, vitamins and more play a role in how quickly nails grow.
Anytime you check eyelids or work with your sheep, get used to paying attention to their feet. Each sheep will be different, but as you get to know your flock you will learn what to expect from each one.Â