Gauteng Smallholder October 2015 - Page 40

HOOF CARE Caring for your livestock’s feet T he saying “No hoof no horse” can also be applied to all livestock ~ care of your animals' hooves is fundamental to their well-being. And a good hoof and foot maintenance programme goes a long way to preventing foot problems from arising. A good hoof care programme also leads to lowered expenses in treatment of problems, as well as fewer losses due to decreased performance and productivity of the animal. Apart from horses, donkeys and mules, smallholder livestock is cloven hoofed. This means the hoof is split into two toes. The two digits of cloven hoofed animals can be compared with the third and fourth fingers of the hand. They are called claws and are named according to where they are found on the foot: the outer or lateral claw and the inner or medial claw. The hard outer covering of QUIRKY the hoof is called the hoof wall, or horn. It is a hard surface, similar to the human fingernail. The cells that form the horn are produced by the tissue directly beneath the hoof wall, called the corium, at the hoof head (the equivalent of the quick of a Detail of the underside of a horse’s hoof. All livestock have similar features to their feet. 38 human nail). The corium is a nutrient-rich tissue that contains many important blood vessels and nerves inside the hoof. Underneath the hoof is a slightly softer region, called the sole. The tissue that Continued on page 39