Catching and Setting
A Sheep Up On Its Rump
Below is information and the websites it came from
When producers work with sheep, the management practices of shearing and hoof trimming are essential. Being able to catch and set up a sheep on its rump can make these procedures much easier and less time consuming. The chance of causing injury to both the animal and the producer will also be decreased.
Question: How would you catch a sheep in a large area?
Answer: Make the area smaller with sturdy pens or hinged panels. Then crowd a small group of ewes together or cut yours out with sorting shute or simply catch it under the jaw.
Question: When catching a sheep, why shouldn't the wool be grabbed?
Answer: When may be pulled from the lamb and bruises will show up on the carcass.
Question: Why is it important to keep the nose up when catching a sheep?
Answer: Sheep stop best and are easier to control when the nose is up.
Question: Why is having a sheep on its rump a good way to work on it?
Answer: With none of the feet touching the ground the sheep won't struggle. This allows all feet to be accessible for hoof trimming.
Question: What are some ways to set a sheep on its rump?
Answer: With your hand under the nose, bend the sheep's head sharply over its right shoulder; as you press your hand down on its right hip swing the sheep toward you.
Stand behind the sheep. Hold under its front legs and raise it up to your knees. Let it down on its rump. Reach across under the sheep and pull the opposite rear leg toward you. Bring the sheep to a sitting position.
Hook your right elbow under the sheep's right front leg and roll the sheep over your left knee to a sitting position.
Question:Instead of holding the sheep against your legs to trim the feet, what else might you do?
Answer: Put two bales of straw in a V-shape and lean the ewe against them. Put the ewe in a metal or plywood sheep chair. Use mechanical squeeze which holds the sheep on its side for easy access to the feet.
Catching the Sheep
Sheep should be caught in the flank or around the neck. Never grab or hold a sheep by the wool. This bruises the skin.
Setting Up and Holding the Sheep
This position is useful for trimming feet and shearing.
Follow these 3 steps:
Step 1: Place left arm under the sheep's jaw and around his neck, right hand on back of sheep's leg just below the hocks.
Step 2: Pull left rear leg forward with right hand and llift head slightly with left arm. This pushes the sheep into a sitting position on its dock.
Step 3: To hold the sheep in this position grasp front legs of sheep and with your legs exert pressure on sheep' sid and back.
Information from Sheep Handbook - Animal Science Cornell University
Sheep should never be handled in a rough manner. Grabbing sheep by the wool or the back leg can cause injury and/or decrease their market value. In addition, electric prods should not be used. Also, dogs should only be used to work sheep if they are well trained. Sheep neck crooks are useful tools when catching sheep. However, leg crooks should never be used as they can easily break a leg when used improperly.
Sometimes it is necessary to handle a sheep on an individual basis in order to shear, trim feet, administer medication, check udders, or trim feet.
Sheep can easily be flipped by hand if you know the proper way. One easy way is the "nose to tail" method. In this way, the nose and tail meet which throw the sheep off balance and then will easily and safely be lowered to the ground. Another method is the "steer dogger" technique. The nose is turned over the back until the sheep loses its balance and gently falls to the ground. A method which should never be used is the "calf roper" technique. This causes undo stress on both the sheep and the handler. Not to mention, some sheep are simply to heavy to lift. The two recommend methods can be easily be done, with practice, by anyone of any size.
When sheep are flipped in either the "nose to tail" or "steer dogger" method, they should be then nestled in-between the handlers legs. This is called "setting the sheep up". However, the sheep should not be made to sit on their tailbone. This is extremely painful to the animal. The proper sitting position is slightly off center on either hip.
The University of Missouri Animal Sciences
This page was last updated on: January 2, 2008