Today was sheep maintenance day which is always a daunting task.
In looking back, the first blog post I titled this was in 2007. Certainly I did fall maintenance before this, but this was probably when it became notable as a difficult task. My brother-in-law Jody was alive then and living with us so it is bittersweet to remember. I did it by myself and pulled the sheep onto the stand. I no longer crutch (which is good) and I do not use graham crackers anymore but use sheep grain.
In 2008 I was still crutching as well as giving nasal vaccine, but Tom was helping me.
In 2011 we were using the sheep chair, still using the nasal vaccine and worming. Here is a photo from that day with Wilma (who had her maintenance done today too):
In 2012 we were still using the chair and still worming. I did mention that I dreaded this day. Here are Tom and Jemima on that day (we maintained Jemima today too):
In 2013 we were hauling the sheep onto the stand but no more crutching and nasal vaccine. Here is a photo of two of my favorite sheep from that year during fall maintenance.
In 2015 we had stopped worming and were using Copasure capsules. We continue to use the stand. Here is Maybelle with her maintenance (we also did her today, but her sister now lives with Denise):
Last year we got smarter by corralling the sheep to make it easier to catch them. We used the leg stanchion technique which is easy to hold them, but I had to crawl on my knees to do their hooves. It was still an ordeal with 27 sheep, but we were able to hot tub afterwards (we did Bambam today too).
So this year we tried to be even smarter. We corralled the sheep into a small area to make it easier to catch them.
And we made a chute of sorts with the hay feeders and some hog panels so they could come one by one onto a ramp to the stand. There we had grain ready for them. This made it so much easier to get the on the stand, and then I did not have to bend as much to trim their hooves. Diddley is demonstrating the technique.
We are slowing learning. We got the maintenance done on 25 sheep in <4 hours. I think this is a record for us. We checked the conjunctival color (all good), their condition (better than expected), and trimmed their hooves (better than expected). They all got zinc sulfate on their hooves to try to prevent hoof scald and copper oxide capsule to increase their copper levels and also treats parasites. And I was able to have a nice long hot bath with a lavender bath bomb. So a win-win as it was less stressful for the sheep and for us.