Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dirt Between the Toes

As I was sorting ewes for herding practice, I noticed the old ewe, "Good Mom," seemed to be a little off in the left hind leg.

"I'll have to keep an eye on that," I told myself.

As they were heading to pasture this morning, I noticed her head bobbing -- a sign of lameness.

"I'll have to move her around more tonight and take a closer look at that leg," I told myself.

When I came home from work this afternoon, I noticed a ewe lying in the pasture while the rest of the flock grazed nearby.

I grabbed the binoculars to see if I could identify the ewe. When I spotted the yellow ear tag, I knew it was Good Mom, as she's the only one of the original ewes that we still have. She wears the yellow ear tag from another farm.

I was going to have to sort her from the flock and inspect.

Running my hands up her legs, I felt for heat and swelling. There was none. Wedging her into a corner, I attempted to inspect the hoof.

Because I had no one holding her, I was inspecting by feel. What I felt between her toes was a rock hard clod of dirt between her toes. Rocking it back and forth, I dislodged it.

When I released her back to the paddock area, she was no longer limping.

And I was no longer carrying that lump of dread.

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