Drenching and foot paring are two important means of sheep management.
Regular drenching ensures sheep remain parasite free, regular foot paring prevents foot rot (see the physical examination module). It involves orally administering anti-parasitic chemicals to the sheep. Parasites such as worms can be very detrimental to individual sheep and the health of the whole flock.
Foot paring is important because a sheep's feet are constantly growing and can become split and painful if not checked and pared regularly.
To drench a sheep you have to:
- Run the sheep into a race so that they are very tightly packed. This means that they cannot easier run away or put their head down. No giving the feeling that they can escape also reduces stress in the animals.
- Push the drenching gun into their mouth, ensuring the end is behind their back teeth so they can’t spit it out again.
- After each sheep, ensure the gun has refilled with the correct amount of medicine, there’s no point in drenching a sheep with an incorrect dose because it will not take effect. Doses are often determined by weight. While it can be very inconvenient to weigh each sheep individually, condition scoring gives a good approximation of an animal’s weight. Groups of animals of about the same weight should be drenched together so the drenching gun can remain on a set amount.
To foot pare a sheep, you have to:
- Restrain the sheep in a sitting position with back against your legs. If you leant them against your legs, this ensures that both your hands are free.
- lift up one of the sheep's feet.
- Using the tip if the scissors, clean any mud that is caked into the hoof and check in between toes for any signs of infection .
- Cut the tip of the hoof at the heel and then, cutting away from yourself, cut the foot even with the heel. Watch the video for a demonstration.
- Remember: Never carry the hoof clippers while you're restraining the sheep. Have a second person hand them to you. Otherwise you're putting yourself and/or the sheep at risk of injuries.
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