Hoof care is one of the most important aspects of livestock husbandry, regardless of the species kept. In many cases, animals will live long and useful lives without any foot problems at all and, given the right ground conditions and appropriate diet and management, even routine trimming may not be necessary.

However, when things do go wrong, and lameness occurs, it’s pretty miserable for the animal concerned. Even relatively minor problems will lead to considerable loss of performance, for example reduced milk yield from cows, lower lambing percentage from ewes, and so on.

In the case of smaller livestock, such as sheep and goats, routine foot care (and even remedial treatment) can easily be carried out by the smallholder. However, with larger animals such as cattle and horses, it’s common practice to call in a qualified professional who’ll have all the appropriate tools and equipment to do the job properly, and, equally importantly, safely!

For more information see Tim Tyne’s The Sheep Book for Smallholders. Available from Amazon and other outlets.

Step-by-step guide: see Media link photo gallery (above right).

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