A few days ago, we took about an hour and trimmed the hooves of our sheep. We run a small, but growing, flock of Katahdin Hair Sheep. Anyone who keeps sheep or goats needs to check the animal’s hooves once a year at a minimum, but 2-3 times a year is probably more appropriate. If they are given a lot of supplemental feed (instead of just pasture) and/or they are regularly on wet, soft soil, then the hooves will need to be checked more frequently.
If an animal has hoof growth that is not kept in check with rocky soils or with regular trimming, then significant health problems can develop such as foot rot, foot scald, laminitis, and arthritis, to name a few.
Our sheep are relatively relaxed around us, so catching them and trimming their hooves was not too difficult. My wife and our current WOOFER (Eliza) were the ones who caught most of the sheep while I flipped them on their rump, sat down with them, and trimmed their hooves. Only one ewe evaded us over and over again, so we’ll have to try to catch her again on another day.
This was the first time I’ve ever trimmed sheep hooves, but it went very well. It was easier than I expected. My main bit of advice is to trim the hooves slowly and sparingly as you are figuring things out. If you are a little too aggressive, you can cause bleeding. If you are very aggressive, then you can cause significant bleeding or infection. If you are feel unsure of yourself, then go visit another sheep farm to get some experience first. Here are some resources I found helpful as I learned how to trim sheep hooves:
and a couple videos…
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