Useful Things

So I promise that this blog isn’t about to become a paid product placement vehicle.  I was just thinking about some of my favorite sheep care items, and I thought I’d talk about them and see what others think!
This Fantastic Pilling Gun: 

“The Gripper” from Veterinary Concepts,

Some of you may have tried to give a pill or bolus to a goat or a sheep in the past.  Did you succeed, or did you chase spat-out pills around the barn?
When I was responsible for COWP-pilling 50 goats back at Fat Toad Farm, we got really sick of crappy push-rod pill devices.  I don’t remember just how we discovered this gun (maybe our bolus supplier?) but we never looked back.  Veterinary Concepts won’t take internet orders from non-veterinarians, but if you call them you can order this item with no trouble.  They wear out after about 100 pillings because goats chomp them and break the inner parts, but even so it costs perhaps 15 cents per pill to not have your fingers seriously chewed by your goat or sheep’s back teeth.  I think that’s worth it.
A Good Crook from
When I started, I caught sheep by running them down and grabbing lower legs.  That works in a tiny space, but when you have more sheep and more barn space, you just stress the sheep out and wind up empty handed.  Not to mention the potential for serious injury if you are diving after sheep – sheep can take a much sharper corner than us bipedal types.  So I got a crook, and I think you should, too.
High Quality Net Fence
There are electric fences, and then there are Electric Fences.  The sins of the fence are low, saggy, cheap wires that don’t conduct well.  Paired with thin fiberglass posts that allow the middle of each section to short out on the ground, and you have a fence that won’t contain your animals for more than an hour or two.  I don’t care that I paid twice as much for my fencing, because it’s been a rare sheep indeed who hasn’t respected my high-quality net fences.  Even sheep who came to my farm as adults not knowing electric fence have tested this fence a few times only to conclude that the grass on the other side was not, in fact, green enough to be worthwhile.
Muck Boots
Anyone who knows me knows my aversion to changing clothes for different purposes.  I hate the idea that I would have to go inside to change clothes in order to go into the barn.  I’ve been wearing Muck Boots since I started working at the goat farm back in 2011.   While cheap wellies are fine for wearing once in awhile, if you’re going to be working for hours you need shoes that support your feet more than a flat-bottomed rain boot.  Tread is always a plus, too!
The only downside of my muck boots is how terrible they smell.  There’s something about the combination of daily use, occasional manure and copious sweat that creates a reall persistent odor.  Uggh.

Published by cloverworks

A Vermont Sheep Farm and Homestead specializing Purebred, Registered Bluefaced Leicester and Border Leicester sheep, in fine yarn and pasture-raised lamb.

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