Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Tool pedicure edition

Today's tool is a hoof trimmer.  It's actually a cheapo pair of small garden shears, and I'm too beat to go out and take a picture of the thing, so I'll encourage you to use your imagination. 

I spent the afternoon trimming the ewe's hooves.  I'm getting better at it; you gotta catch the sheep give it a hug, lift it up and sort of sit it on either its left or right buttock, and lean it back against your thighs.  With its four hooves up and out, it usually doesn't squirm too much, and you can trim the horny bits off.  Some people prefer straight bladed shears, some curved, some serrated, some flat--I haven't noticed much difference, other than between sharp and dull--sharp is good.  The most important variable, I've found, is the squirminess of the sheep.  I only cut one hoof to the quick, which got me a few drops of blood and a dirty look, and I sliced a little bit off of one of my knuckles, which anointed all the subsequent sheep with a bit of my blood.

Most of our ewes are pretty easygoing.  No real problems catching or flipping or clipping.  A couple of them completely relaxed, and sort of flopped over while I was working on them.  Two of them were hard to get, and being larger and wilier, much harder to flip.  One was absolutely awful to catch--I had to do the flying football tackle to get her, and do some TV-style wrestling moves to get her on her butt.  Once there, it was all squirm, all the time.  Of course, she was the one whose pedicure was interrupted by my cell phone ringing.  She finally got done, but feh! she was a pill.  I don't think she's going to be part of our flock by the end of the year.  Nice fleece, but good looks will only get you so far. 

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