Dagging or crutching is the cutting away of dirty, wet wool from around the tail and anus (crutch) of the sheep.
The wet, dirty wool attracts flies especially the blow flies (bright green or blue in color).
The flies lay their eggs on the wool and in one or two days’ maggots hatch from them.
The maggots burrow into the skin and feed on the flesh of the sheep.
The animal will be smelly, nervous, stamping its feet and wriggling its tail.
Maggots must be removed from an infected sheep. Part the wool and look for the small holes where the maggots have entered the skin. Press all-round the hole with your fingers and the maggots will come out.
Many maggots of different sizes will emerge. Clean the wound with tincture of iodine or gentian violet.
Shearing is the complete removal of the wool and is carried out using machine or hand shears.
The valuable wool can then be used for clothing, carpets etc.
Make sure that the wool is kept clean by not using too much marker paints on the animal and if it is your custom to wash your animals before shearing make sure that you wash them three or four days before shearing.
After shearing keep the sacks of wool in a dry place on plastic sheets to stop them getting damp.
If the animal is cut during shearing, treat all wounds immediately with tincture of iodine or gentian violet.
If you have the means to dip your sheep do it immediately after shearing.