• Don't catch or hang on to sheep by their wool. It will cause pain.
  • To catch a sheep, move up quietly behind it. This is the 'blind zone' but in practice, the sheep will always see you coming so it's best to have it in a crush pen blocked in with other sheep.
  • The aim is to end up with it sitting on its rear end for jobs like feet trimming.
  • Hold it still by putting one hand under its chin and lifting its head slightly to stop it from lurching forward. If it gets its head down you will lose control.
  • Start by placing one hand under its chin, and turn its head round to face its rear on the side away from you. Grab its rear end with your other hand, or down where the back leg joins the body.
  • Hang on tight and move backward pulling the sheep towards you. Keep pressure on its head.
  • The sheep's legs should buckle and its body will fall back towards you. Don't let it fall to the ground or you'll lose it.
  • If you are strong and the sheep small, a lift along with the twist will stop the sheep's legs from contacting the ground and reducing the chances of it getting a foothold and fighting to escape.
  • Then quickly grab its front legs and pull it up on its rear end at an angle of about 60 degrees from upright. If it is too far forward it will jump back onto its feet - be prepared for this. If it is too far back it will struggle and kick with both back legs in unison.
  • Practice finding the right angle to sit the sheep, and keep your legs close in behind its body.
  • When you find the right angle, the sheep will relax and you can take your hands off and hold them only with your legs and especially your knees. It's the position a shearer uses before starting to shear.

Tipping large heavy sheep

With a big heavy ram or ewe, you'll struggle to turn its head around as its neck will be too strong. Make it easy by using two tricks.

Trick 1 (two legs)

  • Block the sheep in the crush pen.
  • Kneel down beside it and reach through to grab the two far side legs.
  • Give the legs a firm pull towards you and the sheep should drop onto its side.
  • Use that moment of surprise to hold it down, and then grab its front feet quickly and sit it on its rump. Watch for flying legs when it realises what has happened!

Trick 2 (one leg)

  • Here instead of kneeling down to grab both far side legs, reach down and grab only the far side front leg.
  • Give it a pull and the sheep will go down on its side.
  • Be ready to grab the sheep and quickly lift it up so it doesn't escape.

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