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    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Farrier supply

      All livestock require regular hoof trimming. Because of temperament and the complication of their being ridden and often shod, horses are rarely trimmed by their owners; most horse owners hire a farrier from a farrier supply shop -- a professional blacksmith who specializes in horse shoeing and has the proper farrier supply. Virtually all other livestock, however, have their hooves trimmed by their owners. This is especially true of sheep and goats. Depending on the environment the sheep or goats live in and the diet they are fed, some animals require that their feet be trimmed every 6 weeks to 2 months. A minimum of 2-3 times a year is essential for almost all animals no matter their diet or environment. Animals that are fed a high energy and protein diet tend to have hooves that grow more rapidly. Animals that have access to hard surfaces and play areas will naturally wear down the hoof and require less frequent trimmings. Some small ruminant owners will feed on a roughened concrete surface to help the hooves naturally wear down. Care should be taken to avoid trimming feet of ewes/does during late gestation. Sheep and goats that are kept in damp, muddy environments and do not have their feet trimmed regularly are very prone to foot problems, such as footrot and footscald. Animals that have excessive hoof growth are also very susceptible to laminitis, joint/tendon problems, and arthritis. If the foot is left neglected for extended periods of time, permanent damage can result. Dry conditions can make hooves difficult to trim. To soften hard or dry, brittle hooves, animals can be allowed to stand in a wet area for 2 to 3 hours before trimming. Water softens the hoof and makes it easier to trim. Like most things, trimming goat and sheep hooves is much easier if you have the right tools. Hoof shears come in different styles; you will develop your own preference over time. They are not expensive to purchase, so trying out a couple different styles is not costly.