A combination of hoof wear, wet boggy conditions, rich feed growth and the depletion of minerals and vitamins have increased the risk of hoof issues in flocks of sheep, especially pregnant ewes and lambs, this year.
There issues can have a telling effect on sheep production systems.
It is generally understood that the continued widespread rainfall and lush pasture growth this season is most likely the chief antagonist of the onset of foot infection and abscess.
“The prolonged damp conditions weaken hoof integrity by softening the hoof wall, exposing the soft tissue and allowing for the ingress of harmful bacteria,” according to Dr Paul Meggison, head nutritionist at AusFarm Nutrition Products.
“Hoof abscess and subsequent lameness is commonly seen in heavily pregnant, multiple-bearing ewes, however the extent of the problem, this season, following such an extended dry period, seems to be affecting both pregnant ewes and growing lambs.
“The not-so-obvious cost on farmers is the roll on effect of ewe lameness leading to pregnancy toxemia as the reduced mobility and increased stress from sore feet further reduces dry matter intake, thereby decreasing energy supply.
“From a nutritional perspective, daily supplements of organic zinc (ZinMet®), biotin, iodine and vitamins A and E have conclusively been shown to reduce the incidence of lameness by encouraging hoof growth and hoof quality and integrity.
“The inclusion of organic zinc, iodine and vitamin E, at levels above RDI, has also been shown to stimulate immune response and fight infection.”
StockMins-Hoof n Horn, designed and made locally by a fully qualified nutritionist, caters for all of these nutritional characteristics and more.
The product is based on the much renown, StockMins-EweLamLac which has been so successful in pre- and post-lambing mineral nutrition.
- StockMins-Hoof n Horn is available for order at your local rural ANP supplier or contact Dr Paul Meggison 0417 438 196 or Rob Meggison 0410 655 387.
- For more information go to www.ausfarmnutrition.com.