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Report from George Timmins, Boudjah vet

Author – George Timmins, retired Large and Small Animal Veterinarian. Vast experience with Virulent Footrot in sheep. Dealt with sheep health for 45 years.

Blockey claws have more width from the heel right through to the toe.  This attribute is probably far more important than we think.

Maximising the amount of even contact with the ground, discourages a lot of the elements which lead to lameness issues, especially when conditions are wet underfoot.

In a protracted time of wet conditions, a “Blockier“ base of the claw means significantly less curling over , especially of the lateral area and the toe.

This very good characteristic means far fewer lame sheep and significantly less time spent trimming the claws.

This curling effect causes soreness in its own right as there isn’t even distribution of the sheeps weight when standing [or walking].

These curled over claws allow dirt, mud, small stones, general muck etc, becoming impacted between the hard external horn and and the inner sensitive horn.  As said previously, much time, labour costs, required to trim off the curled up horn and clean out all the muck etc. are significant.

RAMS need healthy feet, especially the hind feet at joining.  Big, blocky, healthy claws enable your rams to more effectively “do the job“ at joining time.

Another probable significant factor is that the offspring reap the genetic benefits of having healthier hooves. More work [RESEARCH] needs to be done in this area.

We have had before, in late 90’s, avery wet Autumn, Winter, spring.  Heaps of green feed, leading to large numbers of twins, in very fat ewes

Walking around in wet conditions all the time.  These conditions produce Inter – Digital inflammation and the more debilitating condition Foot Abscess.

On the Monaro, in the late 90’s, many ewes developed Pregnancy toxaemia secondary to Foot Abscess and died, as they were not grazing, and they would also have been in severe pain. At this time we had about 600’000 breeding ewes, 10%, ie 60,000 ewes died.

What about the scourge of Foot Rot?  Even in a very serious outbreak of Virulent Foot Rot, some sheep avoid getting infected—

{it is common sense that those who avoid infection have better formed, healthier blockier claws}

George Timmins     Boudjah Veterinarian for many, many years —–  Now retired.

15th August  2019.