Nobody likes to see a lame sheep hobbling across the paddock, so when our eldest ewe started limping I knew it was time for a toenail inspection. Sure enough her back hoof had grown so long that it was preventing her from walking properly and action was required.
Normally I take advantage of the good nature of Graham the shearer to give them a toenail trim at the same time, and it’s amazing what any proper farmer can achieve with a pair of dagging shears. Mine are either too blunt, or I wasn’t doing it properly but after the first attempt at a trim the limping was no better.
Happily our Sunday lunch guests this weekend were up for both helping us move the sheep to another field (one they can’t escape from this time) and addressing the talons. It was helpful that one was a part-time sheep owner and having grown up on a farm, much better at this stuff than me. She talked us through ‘running the sheep’ up the hedge and they were into the trailer in no time. She then popped the lame ewe onto her back (the ewe’s back that is) so that I could get busy with my new weapon of choice: secateurs. Turns out sheep feet are nothing like a rose bush and this was not an effective solution. Husband proffered kitchen scissors which were much better. We soon had the toenails trimmed and a much happier sheep as a result.