Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clipping Hooves

Step 1: Set up proper lighting so you can see what your doing.
(Here's a better picture of Frances. :)

Step 2: Lock sheep in barn.

Step 3: Feed grain to gain trust. My sheep are a little on the wild side.  And by a little, I mean a lot.  :)

Step 4: Catch Juice and Fernie, put on halters, and tie to panel.
(This is also Step 1 in halter training.  I have already started with Flora because I have had her a little longer.)

Flora may be feeling a little left out, but as you can see Fernie is not happy about her situation.
Flora (the unshorn and unhaltered one) is looking at Fernie like "What's your problem?"

Fernie, as you can see, is undoubtedly my wildest one.

So I undertook trimming my three sheep's hooves the other day and it was quite the process.  You see I was doing it by myself.  Not the best idea.  Anyway, I grew up raising sheep, so I knew I could do it and so gave it a shot.  I decided to tie up Juice and Fernie so they could start to get used to having a halter on.  Its always a good thing to tie up your sheep (on an incredibly short lead and under supervision) when halter breaking.  The panel is practically immovable and if tied long enough will give up the fight...some sheep will take longer than others.  I started with Flora, thinking she would be the easiest one, and I was only half correct on that assumption.  She is the one I've handled the most and easiest to catch.  She didn't mind me trimming her front hooves, but didn't want me to touch her back ones.  All in all, not too bad though.  Next up was Juice.  She turned out to be my easiest one...once I got her on her rear.  She is probably my prettiest ewe and largest.  Once in position, easy as pie.  Fernie, however, is a handful.  She took longer than Juice and Flora combined, got loose twice, and didn't want me to touch any of her hooves.  Thankfully, I am just as stubborn as she is and I got the job done.  Towards the end, she finally gave in and I was able to finish her back hoof.  When Fernie and I were done with our wrestling match, and that is exactly what it was, she was lying on the ground, head down, sweating (as was I), panting (as was I :), and I was kneeling with my elbow on her for support.  When you have a ewe as wild as Fernie, and all you are doing is resting on her with your elbow, you know she is one tired sheep.  We were exhausted to say the least.  I was going to walk Juice and Fernie around the pasture a few times to work on halter training a bit more, but once I was finished trimming hooves...I was too tired.  In the end, I have learned another step...and here it is...

Step 5: Get help!

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