Winter Sheep care

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Rob30, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some one told me I have to trim the sheep in some way for winter. Anyone ever herd of this? I have three sheep. I just bought them in September. They run with our boer goats. I really like them. They have a much better temperment then goats. As a matter of fact we are thinking of down sizing the goats and increasing the sheep.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Crutching they're rear ends for breeding/lambing, and udders if they're due soon for either duty. I'd snip off anything too dangling so they stay clean. Otherwise no shearing in extreme cold.
     

  3. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What exactly is "crutching"? I've seen the term a few times, but realized I was only guessing what it meant. :)
     
  4. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Its shearing the business end of the sheep. :) Like around the vulva and udder.
    For breeding, to get the wool out of the way so the ram can find the right spot.
    And for lambing, to keep the wool clean and from soaking up the blood and birth fluids, to make it easier to see the vulva so you can guage how close to lambing, and see when little feet and noses appear. Then after the lambs are born, it helps them find the udder, and keeps them from sucking on wool tags instead of teats.

    That said, in 20 years I've never done it, and our rams have been breeding and ewes lambing and lambs nursing all in spite of it. :)

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  5. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Lisa! Looks like I guessed right. :)
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I neglected crutching udders one year (many many years ago) and lost lambs left and right when they couldn't find the udder.
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think it depends on the sheep. When my sheep got shorn late, carrying wool for over 13 months, the lambs of the long wools had a hard time figuring out the right tap, even after I used scissors to trim the ornaments.
     
  8. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Yeh - its more important on a Romney or Lincoln or something like that which has very long wool.
    Our Cheviots never had that problem, but their lambs have a lot stronger instinct to get up and nurse than most. My boss had not shorn his Cheviot ewes in 2 years and still did not have any problems with starving lambs. (we finally shamed him into getting them sheared this fall) :)
    That's a nice thing about Bluefaced Leicesters. They don't have belly wool, so they never need to be crutched - there is no wool on the belly or around the udder and vulva to get long or dirty.

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    One theory Ive heard is that if you shear them before they lamb, they will tend to find a more sheltered place to drop them, and will carry less moisture into the barns. Mine are hair sheep so its no big deal with me anyway
     
  10. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    We shear a few weeks before lambing. (We lamb in April.) The lambs can make a mess of the fleeces, and I like to be able to monitor the bag after lambing.
    I don't crutch for breeding and have never had a problem with the ewes settling.