Today was a busy day of rotating fields and foot-bathing the lambs, rams and hoggets. I knew it was going to be a hot sunny day so started early as the yard is a bit of a sun trap and can get quite hot. So first things first was to fill the foot-bath with water and zinc sulphate.
I use 10% Zinc Sulphate and find this most effective as a preventative to keep scald at bay. Scald is a common cause of lameness in sheep. Scald is when the skin between their cloven hoof digits gets a cut or stays very moist for long periods of time. It then becomes red and swollen and covered by a thin layer of mucousy white material. It is very similar to human athletes foot and the Zinc Sulphate keeps the feet healthier and stronger. Scald can appear in the flock very quickly, all the flock can be sound in the morning but you might find lame ones by evening.
I put the powdered Zinc Sulphate into the water while the hose is filling the bath this way is dissolves and mixes quicker.
The first to get their foot-bath will be the rams as they can be very ballshee. So out I go to the field with the magic bucket and call the boys in.
Once I get all four boys onto the lane we walk up to the yard.
Big fat Bosco can make everyone wait while he stands and thinks if he really wants to keep following the sheep nut shaking bucket.
Once into the yard I get the boys into the sheep race to stand and soak their hoofs for about 5 minutes.
When they have had their 5 minutes of soaking I stand them in the dry yard for about half an hour. Today I put them into a dry stable so that I can get the next lot in which is the ewe lambs and hoggets. Walking up the lane way I call to the hoggets and ewe lambs who come galloping past me down the lane and into the paddock.
When I call them there is such a feeling of life in the young ewes as they cavort across the field galloping, jumping and skipping into the air.
Wagtail makes a diversion towards me and nearly sets me flying as she crashes into me just after I have taken the photo below.
Once into the yard the young ewes all trot into the sheep pen.
The next question is who will be the first to get into the foot-bath.
Finally with my help a crowd of ewe lambs fill the sheep race and stand for the first 5 minutes.
When their 5 minutes are up I open the gates and they come out over a bit of spongy stuff this sort of drys their feet before they stand on dry ground. If I didn’t have this they would create a muddy area exiting the foot-bath which all the sheep would have to walk through which would defeat the whole foot-bathing process.
One of the hoggets I bring in is very lame and hobbling about on 3 legs. I’m very worried it might be foot rot which I have not had in my flock for over 18 months. I flip her over only to find much to my relief and hers that she had a bit of a twig jammed at her heel between the digits of her hoof.
Once the last ewe lamb or hogget is out of the foot-bathing race they must stand around in the dry yard to help the Zinc Sulphate do its job.
It is getting very hot in the yard so all the sheep relax in what shade they can get as the morning sun rises.
After I get a glass of water and a half hour passes it’s time for these young ladies to go to their new fresh field.
I open the gate and shake the magic bucket and the flock pours out of the yard.
Once out of the yard the older hoggets know where they are headed and charge past me around the corner heading for their next fresh field.
Out into the field they go; we do have to chase up a few ewe lambs as they don’t know the field rotation system quite yet.
They have a beautiful amount of red and white clover to sweeten their taste buds.
Finally the ram lambs who have to come down through the garden and under the laundry line full of clean washing.
Some of them gallop around the hanging laundry.
One more time today I pen up the lambs and then push them into the foot-bath.
You can see that their hooves are well covered in the water mix.
Finally down to the last three lambs.
Now for the last ram lamb to exit the foot-bath.
Now as the rams lambs really like to wander about I have to ask my Father to help walk behind to encourage them along the correct path to the next field. I have not been feeding the lambs any lamb nuts for 6 weeks or more so the magic bucket is of very little use.
This should be easy as I am ahead of them and my Father behind them.
But no there is always one who thinks they know where the best grass is and made a runner past me down the lane towards the road.