Hoof Trimming – Days 2 and 3

The continuing story of hoof trimming. I have not yet been able to convince the sheep that this is a necessary part of sheep life, with no dire consequences, but I, at least, am gaining some confidence and experience. I think the key has been to take it slowly. A few sheep a day is manageable and lets me continue to see the humor in the process.

The second day of trimming turned out to involve the two Navajo Churros – Beatrix and Ingrid, and little bottle baby Nellie. As I said, they weren’t thrilled but Nellie and Beatrix really didn’t present any problems. The Shetlands continued to view this as a big game. Here, Cassie “visits” Beatrix while Beatrix awaits her pedicure.

Ingrid, however, was a real challenge. She is one of my most timid sheep. When she arrived at the farm, she was a real “drama queen”, lying down instead of walking on her halter as we tried to get her to the barnyard from the driveway at the house. If she hadn’t been so scared, it would have been funny. OK, it was a little funny anyway. She has gotten more confident over the last few months but is still pretty wary and shy. She had gotten pretty good walking on lead as I kept the N-Cs separate for awhile until they would come to grain. Apparently, the skill of walking on a lead did not stay with her. I got the halter on with no problems but she decided she could not walk again. My husband helped me push her up the stand but she decided not to stand for hoof trimming.

Nellie was happy to watch someone else getting trimmed.

Nellie, "It's not so bad, really, Ingrid, just try standing up!"

I continued to work on her as she stayed flat – not really so bad.

Ingrid, "You're squishing me!"

So, either because of Nellie’s encouragement or getting sick of being “squished”, Ingrid finally figured out she could stand up.

That did make it a little easier to get to those back hooves.

I’m not sure when hoof trimming became a communal activity but they really don’t seem too stressed by it, although I think they generally prefer it’s someone else trapped up there.

Sid, "I am NOT going up there!"

Today, I again decided to work on hooves – a week in between groups seems just about right for recovery time (for me, not the sheep!)

Let’s see who I can trap today.

Ah…..Quentin, my other “shy” sheep. Quentin is a Karakul. I have been working on his fleece from the November shearing and it is so nice. I was looking forward to catching him and actually running my hands over that beautiful fleece “on the hoof”. He was pretty easy to catch but less easy to get up on the stand. He, too, had forgotten any lead walking he had experienced before. But, unlike Ingrid, he does not lie down in protest and I was able to pull him up the stand. He was pretty agreeable about the whole thing.

"She says 'agreeable', I say 'trapped'! Paridot, where are you?"

Next, came Sid. I tried every way imaginable to trap him and he was just too quick and wily today. So, knowing that Sid will do almost anything for grain, I went and got some, got him a good alignment going up the ramp and pretty easily got him into the head holder, except for interference from Marley who, guess what, also will do anything for grain!

Quentin, "If Ingrid and I can do it, you can, too. And, look, you're standing up!" Ingrid, "Hey, I heard that!"

Having gotten through Quentin and Sid, I felt like I had done enough for one day. This only leaves Winnie to do – another hard to catch sheep so she’s best put off for another day.

It was time to let in the clean up crew…..

Marley, "I love clean up duty!"

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Don’t you know that laying down ‘is’ the Navajo-Churros way of walking 🙂 I have never seen one walk nicely on a lead, even the halter broke ones. I would love to see you take that challenge on!

    • Well, Beatrix got a lot better over time, but practicing halter-walking just doesn’t seem high on my priority list right now. But it might be fun to try to improve on that for all of my sheep!

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