I don’t like maggots. I also don’t like trimming sheep or alpaca hooves. I worry that I will cut too much off, that it will bleed, that I will hurt the animal.
Echo (the giant lamb I had to help get born) has been limping for a while. We thought she might have bumped her leg. Our shepherd friend suggested I check her foot. I did, it seemed fine. I sprayed it with expensive blue stuff anyway – to be on the safe side. I checked a while later and saw her hoof was a little overgrown. We don’t routinely trim our sheep’ feet. We only do it if there is a problem. I left it. The limping would come and go. I kept an eye on her but have been more worried about Bowie (the last orphan lamb) and making sure he gets enough food – he is a small, thin lamb – not unsurprisingly)
On Tuesday morning before work I looked again and saw a maggot – uh oh. I only found out this year that maggots in feet were a thing – the whole shepherding lark involves a steep learning curve.
I rushed off and got shears, blue stuff, crovect (fly strike medicine) and ewe boost. Then I got Echo in a corral, flipped her over and got to work trimming her hoof. It is amazing how your fear of one thing can disappear when the situation is serious. I scrapped out all the tiny maggots – only a couple of millimetres long so newly hatched – but there were a lot of them. I trimmed and sprayed and then gave her lots of love and food. I also gave her an antibiotic jab to help heal the foot.
Yesterday evening I checked again and it all seems to be healing up OK, but I will be keeping a close eye on her.
It was her mum that got flystrike earlier in the summer. I have heard that some sheep have a greater genetic propensity towards it. It looks like neither Echo, nor her mum will be kept for our breeding stock …. one of the hard facts of having a small farm is that you have to breed for strong animals and eat the rest however cute they are.
N.B. looks like my fear of hoof trimming has been overcome … as has the fear of maggots …. more or less.