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the genetics of sheep feet


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Anyone had any luck breeding out sheep that need their hooves trimmed constantly?


I had a good flock regarding feet that until I added this IDF/Dorper cross ram and ewes. These guys have horrible feet. Unfortunately they also have a great meat <sigh> - both taste and cut size.


I'm noticing tha many of the ewe lambs (the nicest ones of course) by the ram's first breeding have the same chronic elf toes, even at only 9-10 months of age.


Am I just doomed to trim, or is this a breed cross just doomed for my wet pastures?

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I think it is a little bit of both. I live in the PNW where its wet. So the sheep feet don't wear down as much!


BUT I browse them loose which means they walk a couple miles each day, so I do not have to trim them.


But on the other hand anybody who has bad feet get culled.


Another thought is sheep that live on rocky or gravelly ground that don't grow feet quick would be lame as they wouldn't produce enough horn for the amount of walking they need to do each day. But if you don't walk them that creates problems as the feet grow and your back to trimming again.


And there is one more thing thats interesting. The more the sheep walk, the better circulation in their feet. This keeps their feet in better overall health. And the rest of them as well!


Hope that helps!

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You need to send that worthless IDF cross to me. I'll trim those hooves!


I have dry soil - I used to have dry rocky soil which meant I had few hoof problems. But it also means I have no idea what genetics lurk in my flock.


On the other hand, worms are a huge issue here, as well as survival rates (and the ability to gain) during the mid summer dry period. I suppose one could do it scientifically, but I've just hung tough and culled out anything that had to be babied. I've been ten years at it but I've got a ewe flock now that produces lambs that grow on air, practically, right through the hot season, and require only two wormings from start to finish.


Every time I bring in new stock I've got to sell off a lot of sheep again. It does make it easy to make decisions that keep my numbers down, though. I just went from sixty to twenty in two weeks, and I'll get rid of another half dozen before lambing - replacement ewes that I don't like how they grew out.

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I'm in Virginia, I don't think we are either too dry or too wet in our pastures. Somewhere in between.

I only have to trim hooves once a year and like to do it just before the ram goes in with the ewes. I like

to use a horse hoof nipper to get the excess of and then use a regular hoof trimmer made for sheep for

neating up and between the toes. The horse hoop nipper is alot easier on my weakling little hands. I was

thinking about getting a few of those huge landscape rocks to put in my pastures and putting the mineral

on top of the rocks. Maybe that would help as they climbed up on the rocks to get the mineral. Dumb idea

I guess but I thought I'd try it.

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