Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hoof Trimming (Or, I don't see myself going pro)

Yesterday was hoof trimming for the 14 ewes.

If you're counting, which I was during the 90-minute project, that's 56 feet or 112 toes.

The tools of the trade are simple: one pair of leather gloves, a set of handheld sheep trimmers and two humans: one to hold the ewe, the other to trim.

Years ago, the spouse volunteered to be the holder. I give the shots, administer the deworming and trim hooves.

For hoof trimming, some sit sheep on their butts; others put them on a tilt table; some -- like us -- trim with the ewes standing.

For the hind feet, I use the farrier technique. Standing with my back to the ewe, I grasp the ewe's foot between my legs and trim. For the front feet, I kneel or squat next to the ewe.

During trimming, I notice we have four types of ewes:

The Agreeable Girl: These are the rare ones who stand quietly while I trim hooves.

The Acrobatic Girl: These are usually the young ones who hop around on three legs, kick, buck, rear, twist and try other manners of escape.

The Passive Protester: These are usually the older ewes who accept their fate, but refuse to make my life easy. When I lift up a front foot, they fall to their knees and grunt. I ignore their antics and trim.

The Butt Pushers: These ewes are the reason I have screaming hamstrings today. When working on their hind feet, they lean their weight into me. These ewes are supposed to weigh 130-160 pounds. So, unless my bathroom scale is wrong, I should be able to outpush some of them. I can't. They back, I brace and slide toward the wall. At this point, the spouse steps in, moves the ewe forward and hangs onto her neck. I trim and trim and trim, and wonder how we can get more Agreeable Girls in the flock.

No comments:

Post a Comment