A Wooly Drench

‘Sounds vaguely wrong but I shall look forward to hearing what it is!’ Was my mum’s reply to a message I sent earlier. Huh?!
Looking back at my message I realised the autocorrect function had been at work and apparently James, myself and James’ brother John were going to french the sheep today..

In actual fact we drenched the sheep – an altogether more agricultural and acceptable practice!

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We were able to herd them into the pen in a timely fashion and had a good working system to get through the stock. James and John alternately caught the sheep/marked them with coloured paint, whilst I was armed with the drenching gun.

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The sheep are quite insane when you work with them. Even in an enclosed space they still try to jump everywhere, so this was tiresome work. Thank heavens we only have 15 at the moment!

We found the best method was to catch an animal and hold it up so that it didn’t have much leverage on the ground and couldn’t thrash about too much. Then you have to gently prize the mouth open enough to insert the gun and squirt the drench in. You get a few sheep who seem to swill the drench around and spit it back out so its good to wait a moment and make sure they received the correct dose.

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After the sheep Gemma the alpaca also received a drench and a hoof trim. Her toes were just starting to get on the long side. This in reality is a simple task of cutting off the overgrown nail, much as we do ourselves. Gemma did not appreciate having her feet picked up like a horse though, so after some struggling we all came to the agreement that getting her to lie down was best. Gemma became calmer and didn’t kick out and we were able to see clearly where the pads of the feet were and where the overgrown nail was. Cutting it off was simple and we used a pair of secateurs.

I’m sure John is very pleased that he can now add ‘alpaca pedicurist’ to his CV!

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Currently we are working towards having our livestock up to date with their drenches, fly treatments, vaccinations and hoof care before we transfer them to the new farm. Next job will be the highland hooves!

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