I’m pretty sure that’s what I said the first time I heard the term “tilt table” in reference to sheep. Did they actually mean to say turntable? Do sheep enjoy classic vynil more than the average bardyard animal? It turns out a tilt table is used to grab a sheep, hold it tight, and turn it on its side so you can work on it. While not inexpensive, we decided it would pay for itself in lots of ways after one of our ewes needed multiple days of medical care. We recently had a ewe get a thorn stuck through her foot pad resulting in an infection. While she was a relatively calm white-headed dorper, it was a lot of work to catch her four different times, hold her still, clean her wound, soak her hoof, apply medication, wrap and tape her hoof, and give her antibiotic shots. Each time we came out sweating (and sometimes swearing) and tired. There had to be a better way.
Turns out there is. Smart sheep handlers use tilt tables to handle their sheep. So, after selling our house we took the plunge and ordered a tilt table and sorting equipment. I’m in the process of setting it up now. Pictures of us sweeping sheep off their feet soon!
Texas is not an easy climate for a wool sheep. This year’s cooler and wetter weather are a relief for our Cheviot herd. There is nothing easy about shearing a sheep.
The equipment is expensive. The sheep are uncomfortable. The people are uncomfortable. Someday we will be able to invest in better equipment.
We do not put coats on our sheep and the wool is full of dried dirt, sweat, and dust. Burrs and grass are tangled in the locks.
Wool has many uses and it was fun to learn how to felt and spin on a hand spindle last year. I am sad that the U.S. does not export as much wool but Cotton is king in our continent. It is still fun to play with and we will be selling the wool to spinners, felters, and crafters.