Grain Line and More Hoof Trimming

This was what I was going for with the grain feeding and ewe “flushing”- a perfect line with each ewe eating out of her own bucket. That way I can manage how much each one eats, and prevent the big ewes from hogging most of the grain. It only took about a week of effort for them to learn to come for grain, and seek out their own bowls. The bowls break my “no plastic” rule a little bit, but these were cheap paint buckets from Home Depot.

I worked on the ram’s hooves tonight, they also needed some work. They had some splits and pockets, but were generally having a healthy response. I prefer to see them a little cracked and dried rather than moist and soft. Bacteria has a harder time attacking in the former. Here is one hoof, with one side trimmed, the other side not. You can see how the sides are curling over, and need to be removed and flattened so they don’t create a place for material to compact.

 Here are the hoof trimmers I like to use. Though even garden pruners will do, I like these straight and pointy cutters. They can really dig in and open up tiny crevices.

5 thoughts on “Grain Line and More Hoof Trimming

  1. howlingduckranch says:

    Aha…good idea! Is that your very own (self made idea that is). I’ll try it and let you know how it goes over with my goats (who presently knock theirs off the wall and play soccer with it all over the yard…).

  2. workingcollies says:

    I think you are referring to the salt lick holder? I can’t take credit for the design, it’s similar to the one in Paula Simmons’ book “Raising Sheep the Modern Way.” I don’t know if it would help with your naughty goat problem– but maybe becuase this is deep and narrow, they’d have trouble getting the salt block out, and I suppose you could stake the wooden holder down so they couldn’t kick it over. Or instead fill it with loose salt, if you could get it? But, goats are awfully clever, they might still find a way to make trouble and fun with it no matter what you do! My sheep haven’t disturbed it thus far, knock on wood.

  3. Wardeh says:

    You’re reminding me that I need to have the kids do some trimming on our “kids” (goats that is). I think we have the same cutters. They work well! (Although I’ve never done the trimming myself; I’ve never heard anyone complaining!)

    And, also, that salt lick is quite cool! Do you keep it under a shelter during the rainy season?

    Love, Wardeh

  4. workingcollies says:

    Hi Wardeh! I do leave the salt lick under their little shelter, though I think it’s ok to leave it in the rain, I imagine rain makes it wear away faster. The bottom of the wood holder has gaps to let water run out though, in case it does get pushed out into the wet.

    The sheep figured out quickly that I was putting grain in the buckets, they observe what I’m doing, even though they won’t come close to me. When I walk away a small distance, they go for it. They naturally push and shove each other until each one finds her own bucket.

    This makes me think as I get more sheep, I can probably make some kind of long, skinny wood trough and sprinkle the grain evenly along it (I have seen people use 1/2 PVC pile for this too…). That should ensure that they mostly all get an equal portion!
    Love, Michelle

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