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Lambs Feet

18 August 2016

The weather has turned warm and wet, which usually means sore feet in lambs. There are a number of different causes of lameness, with identification of the issue being paramount to effective treatment. Treatment can include spraying/injecting with antibiotics, foot bathing or vaccinating with Footvax.

When foot bathing, best results are achieved when sheep’s feet have a pre-wash with clean water to remove any organic matter. For best results, following foot dipping the sheep should be held on hard standing for an hour to allow the product to dry. A reminder of foot bathing solutions and rates for different products:


Approx. cost: £23.50 for 25 l.

Rate: 3% solution (6 litres of 40% formaldehyde per 200 litres of water).

Effective: Scald and footrot.

Disadvantage: Stops working when contaminated with mud, straw, etc / Painful / Unpleasant to work with.

Zinc Sulphate

Approx. cost: £39 for 20kg.

Rate: 10% solution (20kg per 200 litres of water).

Effective: Scald and footrot (stand in bath for 30 minutes).

Disadvantage: Time consuming and difficult to dissolve.


Approx. cost: £21 for 5 litres.

Rate: 1% solution (2 litre per 200 litres water).

Effective: Scald and footrot.

Disadvantage:  Relatively new to the market.

Kling on Blue

Approx. cost: £93 for 19kg.

Rate: 19kg treats 500 sheep.

Effective: Scald and footrot.

Disadvantage: Reacts with galvanised metal.

Copper Sulphate

Approx. cost: £25.50 for 3kg

Rate: 5% solution (10kg per 200 litres of water).

Effective: No longer recommended due to copper poisoning.

Disadvantage: Not Ideal for Sheep / Expensive / Risk of copper poisoning / Reacts with galvanised metal.

Be cautious when disposing of used foot washings from a footbath. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

There is an excellent guide available on the internet showing a lameness five point plan, available at

This shows a plan of building resistance, reducing disease and establishing immunity as well as having a decision tree for different causes of lameness.

Kirsten Williams,

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