Sunday, October 31, 2010

Casting Sheep and Aging

It has nothing to do with broken bones.  You do it for foot trims, and shearing.
Sit good SM                                      *
Now I’ll try and describe the process of getting the sheep in this position.
First your eye down your sheep.  This involves picking out which sheep you want to catch out out the herd of sheep.
The main reason for picking the sheep you want to catch is to prevent you from randomly running around changing your focus as they start to scatter.

Hold sheep 1 SM
Once you have picked your sheep you need to approach it and try not to startle it.  Then you use one hand and lift up it’s chin, the other hand you put on the tail to stop it from backing up.  For better handling you can hold the sheep against a fence or gate.


At his point you can age the sheep by looking at its teeth.

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These are milk teeth.  All the teeth are narrow and the same size.

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The first two adult teeth have ruptured.  They are a lot broader than the milk teeth.
This means the sheep is around 1 yr 3 months old.

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The 2nd set of adult teeth have erupted.
1 yr 9 months.

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The 3rd set have erupted.  The tooth on the right is the last milk tooth and the tooth beside it is an adult tooth that has just erupted.

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Another picture showing the 3rd set of adult teeth.
2 yrs 3 months.

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All permanent adult teeth are in at 2 yrs 9 months.  The gums recede making the teeth look more spaced out.

Okay, lets move on to casting the sheep.  Once you have caught the sheep you want to turn the head inwards toward it’s hip.  If you wish to try to exhaust the sheep by holding it in this format and running around in a circle again and again, go ahead.  I did.  I’ll tell you though, it exhausts you and not the sheep. (AT ALL).

Turn head 2 SM

Then you put your hand just in front of the hip and while taking a step backwards slightly you lift up with the hand on the hip.  Did I mention that the sheep we were handling are Suffolk and Scottish Mule (both ~90kg).
If you do this part incorrectly you end up running around in a circle again.  If you do it correctly you end up with this:

Sit good SM

Once you have them like this they become very floppy and will willingly sit there.

Sit very good SM

They even get this relaxed:


Now you know how to do it.  It may sound easy.  Heck it might even look easy if you watch someone experienced do it.  Take it from me, IT’s NOT!  There is a definitely a trick to it and once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting stuff!! So do you have it?