Keeping Draft Feathers Clean?

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Keeping Draft Feathers Clean?

This is a discussion on Keeping Draft Feathers Clean? within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • How to maintain shire horse feathering
  • Mtg horse feather

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    04-22-2009, 11:20 PM
Keeping Draft Feathers Clean?

I don't have my draft, yet, but hope to get a shire or clyde in the next few months. I know someone who works with the Budweiser Clydes and she was telling me about how hard it is to keep the mites and dirt off of their feathers. She took me in the back to see a mare, lifted the feathers and showed me healing sores.
Does anyone have any tips on feathers? Is wrapping them an option? Someone suggested I shave them off, but that makes me sick to my stomach to think about. Thanks in advance =)
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    04-23-2009, 11:40 AM
Your friend is likely referring to Scratches, when she is showing you the healing sores. Yes draft feather can be a lot of work and some clyde and shire people (who show) wash legs daily and then rub them down with sulfur powder after (sulfur is a good anti fungal and 'dries' up the scratches scabs). Some also mix the sulfur with mineral oil and apply to dry legs- the oil softens the scabs and makes them easier to pull off and sulfur "dries up" the sore. The washing will prevent yellowing of white feather. You wouldn't need to go to this extreme, unless you show and would like WHITE white feather...

Any horse is susceptable to scratches, but it is definitely more prevelent in our feathered friends. My favorite remedies include Desitin (otc cream for diaper rash) and my very favorite is M-T-G. MTG is sulfur and mineral oil, plus a couple extra anti-fungal ingredients. It's handy to have for any itchy horses issues, too.

I would NOT recommend wrapping- the key is to keep the legs clean and dry, and that includes the horse bedding.

Some cases are more difficult to treat than others, it just depends on the severity. If the scratches are real bad, it will take patience and daily treatment to get it cleaned up.

I usually check my horses legs on a weekly basis and if there is a flare up, I am usually able to get it treated before it gets too bad.

There is more information out there on scratches- maybe try googling it or visiting the draft horse forums for more details.

Good luck!
    04-23-2009, 11:44 AM
Also wanted to add that if the scratches ARE really bad- shaving the feather off is a valid option because it will help keep the area clean and dry...
    04-23-2009, 11:45 AM
Thanks so much for the info =) Luckily, I just bought Desitin in bulk yesterday for my (future) horses first aid kit. She did say they have mite problems.... how would that be dealt with if I ever ran across it? I definitely won't wrap... thanks again =)
    04-23-2009, 12:23 PM
Unfortunately, I won't be much help to you on that one. Hopefully, someone else can chime in...
    04-23-2009, 02:18 PM
My horse is half draft and she has feathers... I barrel race and everyone used to say if I shaved them I would gain a second.. lol.. I love them.. yes they are very hard to keep clean... I have never had problems with her getting scratches tho... I usually brush them and keep them trimmed so she won't stop on them.. and she has never gotten mites... when you de louse your horse put a little extra down there.. that helps..
    04-25-2009, 11:15 AM
MY shire has white feathers and they are always dirty from the dust out here in AZ and dirt.. Any suggestions for which shampoos work best or etc.. I washed her good the otehr day but I just could not get her feathers white again.. its like the dirt has dyed them a brownish color.. any ideas of how to remedy this? I will try brushing them out as much as I can in the meantime.
    04-25-2009, 01:41 PM
I'm curious, too. We'll be spending most of our time in the desert in California.
Originally Posted by jsark    
MY shire has white feathers and they are always dirty from the dust out here in AZ and dirt.. Any suggestions for which shampoos work best or etc.. I washed her good the otehr day but I just could not get her feathers white again.. its like the dirt has dyed them a brownish color.. any ideas of how to remedy this? I will try brushing them out as much as I can in the meantime.
    04-26-2009, 07:46 AM
I don't know if you have it in your country but we have a lot of hairy legged horses over here and its pig oil and sulphur all the way especially during the muddy winter months. Some put a little pig oil in the mane and tail too.
    05-04-2009, 07:53 PM
A tip I got from the lady I bought my Clyde from today is to pick up the top layer of feathers and shave underneath, make sure you pick up enough so that when dropped that you can't notice that you shaved them.
The point of that is to keep the under hair short so it stays dry and that helps to prevent scratches as well as making it easy to keep the feathers knot free.

I plan on doing this for my mare..... she just arrived at my house today.
Good luck, they are sweet hearts.

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