Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grooming Sheep

Well, you may have thought that chapter was tackled and done with! Not so. Besides the shearing and dipping, farmers have to trim their hooves and regularly. Otherwise they can catch some nasty foot and claw disease or lameness. Some people find it hard to do their own toe nailhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifs. It takes two people: one to hold the sheep that may weigh about 50 pounds already and the other one is wielding the clippers. I always volunteer.
.gifed for the holding part, although it is a struggle as they don’t want to cooperate. So I had to hold on with my full body weight to prevent them from shirking away from Mac’s hands. As stupid as they often appear otherwise, these sheep are quite crafty at this. Lo and behold if a nail is cut to short or the animal is slightly cut, there is no continuing till another day. And then try to find that same sheep out of a herd of a hundred. If you're interested to learn more about the subject: Hoof trimming: A Day in the Life of a Farmer
When dosing them, it’s customary to mark their pelts with a colored marker in order to know which of them got their dosage already. I’m talking of Flagyl that cures the nasty fly infestation once they have occurred. The afflicted pelt also has to be brushed with some liquid generously if flies are visible and have laid eggs. If they develop into maggots, sheep often die. In this endeavor, I also opted for the struggling and holding part. I just stomach to push a big pill down a sheep’s throat which, inadvertently, it would try to regurgitate. So you want a firm hand to keep their mouths shut until they have swallowed it. Some are able to fool you. They seem to keep the pill in their cheeks until you think you‘re safe and can let go. That’s when they spit it out. Having mastered this, you give them a marking stroke with a different color.
Not every sheep makes it. I drove dead sheep –and calves for that matter- to the lab when a death had occurred. In family jeep; in the back which was carpet- lined, remember? It was a trip of about 20 miles. The stench became unbearable after five minutes. So I rolled down the windows. Then it as too cold in the car and I put the heat on. That didn’t help the aroma; mostly it rained in. I wasn’t really cut for farming. But who else would have done that errand? The lab would determine the reason why an animal died when it wasn’t obvious otherwise to the farmer.

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