I left home at 7 am and drove up to Calne to Tucks Farm where I had arranged to spend the weekend working. Mrs Hastings showed me 50-odd 2 tooth rams¹ that needed their feet trimmed so I got them in with the help (or hindrance!) of one of their sheep dogs and set to work doing their feet and troughing them in a zinc sulphate bath².
It was amazing how all the old techniques came instantly back³ and I spent an enjoyable day doing not only the 2-tooth rams but also 23 older rams. The Hastings’ were suitably impressed by the speed at which I got the job done! When the rams were finished and turned back out onto the paddocks, I gave Mrs Hastings a hand to feed several small mobs of sheep with nuts and ground soya meal, then after a cup of tea, I headed up to John and Sally‘s for the night.
¹The age of sheep is measured by the number of front teeth they have. A 2-tooth is 18 months old, a 4-tooth is one and a half years old, and a 6-tooth is two and a half years old. Sheep that are older than 2½ years are said to be “full-mouthed.”
² Footrot in sheep is treated by standing them in a concrete tough containing a solution of either zinc sulphate or formalin. The chemicals kill the footrot bacteria and harden the hooves against future infection.
³As a high country shepherd back in New Zealand I had spent thousands of hours trimming sheep’s feet and troughing them to treat footrot.