This weekend I caught all the lambs individually. I wanted to trim their hooves and weigh them. Maggie, as usual, was my helper, to bunch the sheep into a corner and hold them there while I grabbed each lamb.
The lambs are just shy of three months old, but I noticed a couple of them preferring to kneel, just slightly- a sign that their feet are starting to bother them. They are on really nice green grass, which doesn’t get much better for feet, but all the same, it’s wet down there, especially in the mornings. Even at this young age, some of them had started to develop a hoof curl, then mud packs in there, it bothers them, and creates a moist environment for hoof rot to get started. So I was glad I got on them so soon, before any of them had a chance to develop bigger problems.I hope to find time to do the adult sheep’s feet soon too, I like to do them very often to prevent problems from getting out of control.
Foot quality is going to figure heavily into my “keeper” plans, because hoof rot is such a problem in our rainy region. So I noted in my Palm Pilot sheep management software which lambs had the best feet, for future reference. I record in the Palm every hoof trimming as well.
This is the last time I’ll weigh the lambs, as I only have a fifty pound scale, and most of them are nearing or exceeding that. I use a hanging fish scale, and sling the lambs in a lamb sling, made especially for “walking” lambs around (a great trick if you want to lead their mother somewhere, and make her think she is following her “walking” lamb). I have tried to weigh the lambs several times during their first few months, to track their weight gain. Eventually I plan to do some more sophisticated weight-gain tracking, so that I can choose for breeding the animals that produce the best growers. But, for now, it’s just good to have a record, so you can look back on it if you have a sick lamb, where you’re wondering if it is growing successfully or not.