Restraining Sheep (Tipping sheep)
Tipping sheep is the best method for checking the overall condition of the sheep. It means that the hooves and underside of the sheep can be checked, as well as the eyes and teeth. Tipping sheep is also safe for the sheep, and the person restraining the sheep!
When catching an individual sheep from a mob within a yard it is good to utilise the flocking instincts of sheep and bunch all the sheep in a corner – This means that the sheep will stay together, make it easier, and safer for both you and the sheep. It is important not to be chasing sheep around the yard!
A how-to guide:
- Ensure that you are standing on the side of the sheep, with your legs closer to the back end of the sheep
- Using your left hand, firmly hold the bottom of the sheep’s jaw
- Left knee should be behind, or close to the sheep’s left shoulder, and the right leg should be touching the sheep near the left hip
- Pull the sheep’s head towards it’s body (away from you)
- Firmly press on the rump of the sheep using your right hand
- While holding the bottom of the jaw and pressing on the rump of the sheep, step backwards with your right leg
- The rear end of the sheep should go down, and you can hold the front legs to ensure that the sheep will not fall
- The sheep should comfortably be in a sitting position in between your knees, and resting against your legs.
A word on safety: Make sure to not pull on the wool or cause the sheep to land heavily on the ground. This prevents bruising and injury when catching and restraining the sheep.
Importance of restraint:
Restraining a sheep is useful when assisting in a delivering a lamb, transporting, conducting a physical examination.
- Certain harnesses can be used to restrain the sheep for the purposes of delivering a lamb.
- The Gambrel restraint (plastic yellow restraint) is not only safe for the sheep, but easy to get on and off the sheep.
- When delivering a lamb it is important to be able to get the restraint on and off quickly in order to reduce stress. Using a sturdy, Gambrel restraint is also safer than using twine. This is because when tied around the legs of the sheep, the twine can cut the sheep and cause injury, may
- Twine is not a good material to use when tying legs together to restrain a sheep as it can cut into the leg of a sheep and cause injury, may become knotted and difficult to undo, and is a contaminant of wool.
As seen in the video above, the gambrel restraint is easy to put on the sheep, and easy to get off. It also means that the back legs are free to move — which is important for lambing.