Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crutching: a recommended practice

Crutching (or crotching) is a short, quick modification of shearing.  It is the removal of wool from around the tail and between the rear legs of a sheep (or Angora goat) in preparation for lambing.  Crutching is recommended for sheep that are not shorn prior to lambing.

Crutching provides a cleaner sucking area for lambs.  The last thing you want is for a newborn lamb to suck on a tag or piece of wool.  Crutching also improves the quality of the wool clip and makes shearing easier. It helps to prevent flystrike. Rams may be crutched around the pizzle to prevent pizzle rot.

Image of crutched ewe by Kelly Cole

Not all sheep require crutching or shearing prior to lambing.  Some are naturally devoid of wool around their hindquarters.  

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