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I have been thinking about purchasing one of these but wondered if anyone has acutally used them and if they like them better than a scissor style hoof trimmer. The company website is electrichoofknife.com. I know its just a scaled down version of a grinder, but with my small hands I'm thinking this would be easy to hold. I find that when trimming hooves there are times when I cant really get a nice even cut, or there are places that its hard to get into. This grinder looks like it would make hoof trimming easier.

 

Samantha

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Dear Ms. Samantha,

 

I HATE hoof trimming. That said, this doesn't look like a good idea: too easy to cut the foot. Thirty years ago in Australia I saw pnuematic hoof trimmers and they seemed just the ticket. I didn't find them in a quick google but maybe pnuematic tin snips would work.

 

Donald McCaig

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I haven't used electric trimmers BUT Research has suggested that sheep with sound feet generally do better WITHOUT routine hoof trimming - partly because it is unnecessary (horn will break away naturally) and partly because the trimmers can transfer the bugs causing various foot lesions from an infected sheep onto a healthy one.

 

Research has also shown that most lesions heal faster without trimming (apart fom Shelly hoof,abscesses and CODD when the hoof is detached) !

 

UK Shepherds and sheepfarmers are being encouraged to adopt a "5 point plan" to reduce lameness in their flocks. I have talked to one of the lead researchers who did the initial study, a couple of local vets and also to several farmers who have adopted this plan (including one who manages ~12,500 ewes plus 3,000 hoggs over 27,000 acres). If followed properly, this approach seems to drop the overall the level of lameness in flocks to less than 2% . and this plan explicitly states that regular foot trimming is not necessary for most sheep.

 

As well as improving sheep welfare, farmers who are using this plan are finding that once they have got on top of flock lameness, that they are getting fitter ewes with a higher birth rate and lambs that are finishing faster.. so in the longer term, the initial effort makes financial sense.

 

If you are interested you can find out more about the 5 point plan here..http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/brp-manual-7-Reducing-lameness-for-better-returns120814.pdf

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Your link doesn´t work for me. But after googling that "5 point plan" I get the impression it is for dealing with rather specific contagious hoof pathology.

With our sheep management we have to trim the hoofs in spring, before we release them on the surrounding hills. They simply dont´t wear off enough hoof material over the winter when housed in the barn. That is a matter of a mechanical nature.

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I've think I've sorted the link in my previous post.. hopefully it should now work

Although most of the advice in he 5 point plan may seem to relate to scald and footrot (2 of the main problems in the UK flock), they also give advice about managing other lesions and sheep with sound feet.

However,obviously, there may be very good husbandary reasons why this kind of approach may not be suitable (like in your situation).

The advice they give about overgrown hooves is "only trim if likely to give problems AND if there is NO active infection"

For trimming sound feet, the recommendations are
Do not trim sound feet unless necessary, horn will break away naturally - do not trim for cosmetic reasons.
If trimming is required:

Leave a wall edge 2-3mm proud of the sole

Only trim away loose horn that may allow mud to impact on the foot

Do NOT trim to blood

Disinfect clippers between feet, use sharp instruments and replace regularly

Collect and dispose of trimmed hoof


ETA: The same group has also produced 3 videos about managing and controlling sheep lameness that go with the manual link I posted earlier. These 3 can be found here
http://www.eblex.org.uk/returns/video-clips/sheep-lameness/

 

ETA-2 Warrick University also provided a powerpoint presentation (quiz) about recognising different lesions. http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Lesion-quiz-120814.pdf

The first 11 slides are the intro & quiz. The remaining slides provide more information about managing each condition and some graphs to illustrate the data they obtained from their studies.. The information regarding managing sound hooves can be found on slide 29 onwards.

 

I know that traditional shepherds feel that overgrown feet should be trimmed.. but the studies do seem to indicate that you have healthier sheep if you don't.. and the farmers I have spoken to who have adopted this approach also seem to agree with the science!

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The 5 point plan is interesting, something I'd never heard of before. I usually trim 2x's a year for those that need it. The one thing I've found is that even with a sharp pair of hoof trimmers there are a few in my flock that have hooves so hard it's near impossible for me to get any trimming done. I'm thinking that maybe this unit would be handy for that. I was watching a few videos of the hoof knife being used and the person trimming was wearing leather gloves. I wear gloves even when using the hand hoof trimmers just to be on the safe side.

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Dear Shepherds,

 

We are wet natured (on topo maps some of our fields are SWAMP) and the range Rambouilettes we brought in were used to rocky range conditions. We started trimming the flock twice a year (2 worst days of the year). As time went on, this became one worst day in the year and then "As needed". Nowadays we've a dozen homies and pasture three hundred Polypays. If a ewe is so lame she is lagging we'll catch and flip her and if she has an infected foot (not feet) or staub wound, we may trim. Last year we trimmed two. Works.

 

Donald McCaig

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I haven't had any foot problems yet but I guess I'm making more work for myself than I have to. I've had horses for a long time and I guess I'm used to keeping up on feet. So maybe I don't have to be as nit picky with thier hooves as I have been in the past.

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If there is no general flock lameness, then I think the main thing is to catch and treat any lameness in individual sheep as soon as you notice it. Don't wait until several sheep are lame before taking action. - (My dog seems to relish the opportunity when I do need to catch a sheep out on the hill..I think she would prefer it if more of my sheep had foot problems!,

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Dear Shepherds,

The antibiotic AA1000 plus a trim seems to cure ORDINARY foot problems.

 

That said: You really, really, really don't want to get footrot. Fortunately you needn't. Keep your flock isolated from other sheep unless you are sure-as-death sure the others are footrot free. Don't bring in new sheep unless they're footrot free. Don't let purchased sheep off the truck until you've checked, sprayed and trimmed their feet and quarantine them for three weeks before allowing them to mingle with your flock.Don't loan your sheep for a sheepdog trial to a farm whose homeflock is eating on its knees. Don't transport your sheep from one farm/pasture to another in a conveyance that may have carried infected sheep.

Donald McCaig

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I agree with the posts here, but living in West Texas, dry and rocky saves a bunch of labor. Coming from the horse world, I too, used to obsess over feet. Now I hardly ever trim sheep or ancient horse. Select breeding ewes that have good feet to get good feet. The best tool I have now is a pair of hoof nippers designed for miniature horses. I had to learn to manipulate them like a farrier, but much better than the scissors type and less unwieldy than a grinder. You can throw them in the gator or mule and have them handy out in the field if you need to do a quick fix, too.

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