Farming

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Backers flock to 'Sheep Shoe'

Two transition year students who invented a 'Sheep Shoe' to treat foot root in sheep have been approached by a number of companies interested in bringing their prototype to the market.

The boys -- Conor McGrath (16) and Shaun McGloinn (15) -- are in talks with shoe manufacturer Dubarry about manufacturing their creation on a larger scale.

The pair have already sold more than 200 to customers all over Ireland, from Armagh to Kerry, but have been under pressure to make the shoes by hand. Now, their aim is to increase production significantly with the help of Dubarry.

Orders through their website, www.sheepshoe.com, jumped last week, when the boys won third prize in the Student Enterprise Awards at Croke Park.

The students, from Marist College, Athlone, Co Westmeath, have also been contacted by Gallagher Power Fence Ireland about retailing the product.

A spokesman for the Cork-based company said it was interested in finding out more about the shoe and how it might fit into its range.

The leather and velcro shoe holds a sponge that can be soaked in copper sulphate and used to treat foot rot when the shoe is fitted to a sheep's foot.

It costs €20 plus postage.

Sheep experts say foot rot and scald are responsible for 85pc of all lameness problems. Foot rot and the associated lameness also has knock-on detrimental effects on ewe body condition score, conception rates and lamb thrive.

Indo Farming