One of the annual responsibilities we have as smallholders is to vaccinate the sheep. Each year, they get an injection of Heptavac. The interesting challenge is how best to do it without getting the sheep overexcited. We have, in the past, used sheep nuts to misidrect them while they are injected, but then the rest of the flock gather round barging each other trying to get in. Last year, in all the argy bargy, Ymogen suffered a broken jaw. This year, we were determined to avoid that kind of accident.
We also had to make sure the wiser of our sheep did not clock what was going on and keep well clear. Bluemli, particularly, can tell when we are up to something and will stay well clear of any pens.
We hatched our plans. First, all the sheep were gathered into the shed. This involved a little bribery in the form of sheep nuts. However, these were in a trough so they were all able to get some.
We built a small pen right outside the shed with a sliding door, well a sheep hurdle we could move out of the way, to let them in. They all lined up to see what we were up to (see picture). On opening the entrance, the first sheep obligingly stepped through. I held them tight while Nicole administered the injection. It went like clockwork. Each time we opened the pen, a sheep wandered in, got their injection and was ushered out into the paddock.
One or two sheep tried to play the bucking bronco card, but all in all it was very peaceful. So peaceful, in fact, that the vaccinated sheep gathered round to watch their colleagues getting injected.
All in all, it took about an hour do vaccinate our 19 sheep. We retired for a cuppa very pleased with ourselves.