Friday, 6 November 2009

Bad feet.




Start looking at the sheep as you pass a field full and I will guarantee you will quickly notice that some of them are lame. Some will be running normally, others will be running and limping, some will be running on three legs and the really bad ones will be limping behind. The truth is that sheep have immense problems with bad feet (as do c0ws too). Sometimes it is a kind of digital dermatitis; sometimes foot rot; sometimes a stone caught between their two hooves, lodged there and the wound going septic. The problem is always worse this time of the year when the weather is very damp - and this year it has also been very warm, which has compounded the problem. So today the owner of the Swaledales we are over-wintering, sent two men down to treat the flock. That involves inspecting each foot, trimming the hoof, swabbing any sore places and spraying with antibiotic spray. They do not like it - obviously their feet hurt and we cannot explain why we are doing it. So the poor dumb creatures have to endure the whole procedure. But I am sure they feel better for it afterwards when they are back in the field.
Sorry about the awful photograph of a septic foot, but rarely do we get the opportunity to see how bad the feet can get, so I passed the camera over to the farmer, for a close-up.

35 comments:

acornmoon said...

When I was at school we went on a geography field trip to the Lake District, one of the thing we studied was hill farming. We visited a shepherd and he told us all about foot rot, he followed this with a demonstration of treatment on a sheep's foot, I have never forgotten it!

Cathy said...

Poor things. I'm sure they do feel better afterwards and so relieved to be rid of so much pain.

Golden West said...

Spending so much time on their feet, I'm sure any relief is welcome.

willow said...

Aww. Poor little things. They sure are beautiful, though. I was out and about yesterday in a pair of shoes that didn't agree with my feet and they are sore today, too. No foot rot here, though.

Titus said...

Not an enjoyable post, Weaver, but an interesting one.

Denise Burden said...

I learn such a lot from your blog!

Arija said...

It is always sad to see animals suffer. I suppose we are lucky with our dry climate although we do have the odd super wet winter.
Our breed of sheep are not susceptible to footrot but often need their feet trimmed at shearing. Our problem is more one of fly-strike in hot humid wether or with wet grass.

Lucy Corrander said...

I'm glad I'm not a sheep.

Lucy

ewix said...

Yes, we used to see some sad sheep wandering on the Malvern Hill --as much as you can wander on your knees.
So very sad.
I thought you were going to post about human feet
and use mine as an example.....!

jinksy said...

The sight of all those shaggy fleeced creatures gives me the urge for a spinning wheel again!
Thinks- hasn't any bright spark invented sheep wellies yet?

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

One might think that Nature could have arranged things better. When we see animals out in all weathers it's tempting (or should that be conscience salving?) to think they are able to cope. I learned this year that horses can get a foot problem because the grass is too rich, nutritionally, and they have to be taken out of the field?!

Teresa said...

Oh, the poor sheep!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Not many sheep around here—mostly cows, horses, pigs. A lot of land in corn and soybeans. But I do remember when I've watched, that there did seem to be a lame, limping one or two among the flock. I'll pay better attention next time.

Jenn Jilks said...

It is good you are there to make sure they are being looked after!!!

steven said...

hi weaver, i'm glad that our animal buddies are cared for. i know that in the wild they simply die. so it's nice to know that in the care of good people they are loved enough to know a degree of care. steven

dinesh chandra said...

This is very intersting to know about the sheep, My Maternal Grandfather had also Sheep and goat, but I was child that time I Love to know about the Farmer and their Life , This is very sorry to the sheep because their foot are septic , It is a type of desiese I think.

I love to read such article.

Dave King said...

And there's me complaining about a corn!

Elisabeth said...

The image of those poor wounded feet stays with me. Thank goodness there's treatment.

What would hey have done in the days pre-antibiotics? I wonder.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Foot rot is a real threat to the hill farmer, acornmoon.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cathy - yes, they do begin to look better, and walk better, after a day or two.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Golden West - actully cows have the same kind of problem - if anything worse.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Golden West - actully cows have the same kind of problem - if anything worse.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Willow - I think every woman can identify with you problem - what we all do in the pursuit of fashion!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Titus and Denise - thanks for the comments.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Arija - fly strike is absolutely awful isn't it. It does happen occasionally here in the right conditions and if it is not spotted early on can lead to the death of the sheep.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting, Lucy - I echo your feelings.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Elizabeth - would I do a thing like that?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy - I think you have just invented them - get the patent out quick!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick - Laminitis is the scourge of all horse owners - It can be terrible if once it gets a hold.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Scribe - all animals have their problems I think. But sheep do often wander about on their kneew as it is too painful to walk - also of course when they eat they put more pressure on their front feet which are usually the ones suggering.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jenn and Steven - you are right that most sheep here are well looked after - but I fear it is not like that everywhere.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dinesh - thanks for visiting - glad you enjoyed the post.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave - sorry about the corn. It is the price you pay for swanning off round the Med when the rest of us are enduring miserable weather!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Elizabeth - before antibiotics there were all kinds of remedies, some of which worked better than others. I suppose the same is true for our own ailments isn;t it.

Reader Wil said...

I am sorry to read that your sheep are suffering from sore feet, but as long as they can be helped, there is hope. The cows look very content though! Very comfortable too.
I agree with you on your remarks about the war. The boys who have been killed are just sent there to fight. The men who send them, stay safely at home. I always watch the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. There are many people to commemorate!