The Miniature Zebu bull I bought is completely wild, meaning that he is not used to being handled at all, and he arrived in a neglected state subsequent to that with long “Persian slippers” on.
The hooves of Miniature Zebus are the same as those of any other cattle breed. They are not supposed to have the appearance of flat llama feet, and if they do, they need corrective trimming!
Four months after the Miniature Zebu bull’s arrival, hoof trimming simply could not wait any longer. One problem we had, however, was that he wasn’t getting any tamer either. The trimming of the hooves wasn’t the problem; restraining him was. Any one of our usual ways would not have worked for this application, and calling the Vet for aid to possibly use a dart gun to sedate him and drop him would have added up to a sizeable bill.
We like being independent and hands-on, and decided to rope him and drop him to the ground the old fashioned way.The following is an account of what we did, which worked only, because the bull is rather small, about 700 lbs, and he has horns, imperative for this “technique”.
We did two trimming sessions, two weeks apart. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of our first session or of the bull’s feet BEFORE trimming. I was able to “rescue” some images of his hooves before trimming from miscellaneous photos, however: (click Thumbnail to enlarge)
Before hoof trimming, the bull was already standing in a splayed stands with feet turned outward due to his excessively long toes, and is gait was certainly affected. The toes no longer made contact with the ground, one claw crossing over the other on both front feet, and he was standing back on his heels on all four. This is a very unhealthy condition for the structure of the internal foot and leg.
For our first session, we wanted to rope the bull mostly to see what would happen. We administered Atravet Soluble Granules, a sedative, in some grain and turned him out with a steer.
Atravet seems to take the fight out of the animal, but doesn’t compromise their movement or make them sleepy to the point that they want to lay down. It was all we needed, however. After about one hour, the sedative started to take effect and Colin roped him with a proper lariat around the horns and tied him off on a tree. A soft rope was fed around his hind legs with the aid of a show stick, pulled tight and tied off low on a fence post opposite to the tree. This dropped the bull gently onto his side, leaving him on the ground, stretched out and “hogtied”, and safe to work on.
Interestingly, he came out of the experience less afraid of us than he was before. Two weeks later we repeated the procedure inside the barn, and this time Colin took pictures:
A third session would complete the trimming. He is still tipping back a bit onto his heel, which can be corrected by hollowing the sole a bit, encouraging weight to be taken by the hoof wall, as it should be. Ideally, the toe should not be squared off , but sit flat on the ground and take weight. The results are a vast improvement, however, and the final trim might occur by natural wear in the abrasive surface of the winter paddock. (click Thumbnail to enlarge)