It is a blustery, wintery day here today. Cold, wet and windy! Our winter equinox was on the weekend, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we are getting winter weather – but it makes going outside very unappealing!
We crutched our rams on the weekend, which was a job we had been putting off for a while now, so it was great to get it done.
Crutching is the process of shearing the wool off the back end of the sheep only, predominantly around the tail and in front of the hind legs. We do this for a couple of reasons – firstly, with the ewes, removing the wool around the udder makes it much easier for the new lambs to find the teat when they are first born. Secondly, and possibly more importantly when the wool around the tail gets long, it can get very dirty from faeces, which attracts the flies once the weather starts warming up. If you have ever seen a fly-blown sheep you will know how awful it is, and why we try to avoid it all cost.
The bulk of the ewes were done back at the start of April, which is the plan every year, ie just prior to lambing. We employ someone to do this for us, as it takes a couple of days to get through the entire mob. Usually we would get the rams done at the same time, but this year they were way up in a hill paddock, and we ran out of time to get them home.
Anyway we brought them home on Saturday, and crutched them on Sunday. Here’s the first one up on the board. Cam is holding it on its rump, and he’s about to bend down and shear around the tail. You can see how dirty it is – considering he was completely shorn in November.
We only have 12 rams, but it still takes a couple of hours as they are such big animals. So they are heavy and very hard to maneuver. It’s also a long reach all the way down to their rump! Poor Cam was exhausted after each one.
Here’s some of them with their nice clean, newly shorn bottoms!!