Hello to Everyone from all of us at Little Meadows. Although it's been a busy time for us humans in the last couple of months since the last newsletter, the rest of the crew has had it pretty easy. But we do have a few things needing done today.
First up is Frank because he's going to be having a hornacure -yup, you've hear of a manicure and a pedicure, right? Well ol' Frankie needs to have his right horn shaped every month to keep it from growing against his eye. Now his left horn grew just fine but his right grows just a wee bit different and that's enough to make it grow too close to his face. Fortunately some very nice people at UNC Small Ruminant (that's what sheep and goats are) Center helped us and so now we take care of it ourselves. Because Frank is such a mellow guy and knows that we are trying to help he is very co-operative, standing very still so we can sand, file and then sand again. Here's a picture of how his horn looks:
It has a flat end because we could cut it back that far several months ago. This did not hurt him since we didn't cut back to where he could feel anything. Today what we have to do is trim away at the inside that's coming so close to his face. First we put in a shield to protect his eye, we have a thin sheet of plastic that's both flexible but won't tear. Then we slip in a piece of sandpaper with a cloth backing and sand enough of the horn to slip a file in. This is like getting your fingernails filed. We use a shurform file that's flexible and thin, this takes off a lot of horn pretty quickly so we aren't making him cranky by taking too long. Usually he get's alfalfa coookies now and then to thank him for being such a patient boy. Then we sand again so that the horn is smooth. In the next picture you can see the shield and how much help we're getting from Max. After all Frank is his cousin so he wanted to be sure everything was okay.
In the picture at right, we're just giving the final touches with the sandpaper. Now let's get a few words from Frank...
Mom: So Frank how does your horn feel now?
Frank: It really feels great, before sometimes when I was chewing my grass, I would feel that horn rubbing my face. Do you think I'll have to always have a hornacure?
Mom: Probably since your horn grows all the time just like my fingernails. Is there anything you'd like to tell folks in the newsletter?
Frank: Yeah, tell them that the grass is growing okay but we need more rain to make it more tender and yummy. And Teacup has been baaad
, she got out of the fence yesterday but I was good and stayed in. Can I have a cookie now?
Mom(laughing): Okay Frank, I don't think anyone can send us rain but maybe they can send us rainy wishes and here's your cookie.
Besides Frank's horn we also trimmed or at least looked at everyone's feet to make sure they're not over grown. Fancy, Faye & Fiona (the Dorsets) and Betty, Mabel & Precious (the Corriedales) need their feet done frequently, growing fast out in front which then makes them stand in ways that isn't good for their legs. Everyone else have slower growing hooves that don't need trimming so frequently. It would be nice to have a picture here but taking a picture whilst holding a leg and clipping is beyond me! And Bob is busy holding each sheep to help them feel balanced and secure. The front feet always go pretty smoothly but everyone hates to have the back feet done. I hang on and eventually they stop kicking their leg back enough to trim without either hurting them or myself. But this is where I can stab myself with the points of the trimmers.
In the photo above you can see the netting that we use to keep them in a place without permanent fencing – in this case right behind the house. I rarely have to use a lawn mower! This was taken in the morning when everyone is the most active of the day, they are so busy eating they won't even look up to see what I'm doing. Then they'll go and lay under the trees or shelters in the shade for most the day. Then in the evening they get out for another major meal and then snack sometimes at night. Now if it's really hot they'll do most of their eating at night, that's why we don't put them into a barn at night. They are happy to lay down in groups and sleep under the stars. We all love to sleep under the stars....good night all.