Friday, May 12, 2006

It's the little things....

that can make a chore so much easier. I've done toenail trimming before and it is such a big job for me that I could only do a handful of animals before being tired and plain worn out. I couldn't understand how Wayne (of Foothill, where we agist) could grab a foot, snip, snip, snip, move on to the next foot and be done with all four in no time flat.

A few weeks ago I was at 101 Alpacas for their shearing day. I went so that I could see how others do it and pick up on any tips for my own use. Well..... Vicki was using this tool that looked very much like a gardener's pruning shear to trim up toenails lickety-split! As I watched, I didn't see her doing anything particularly different from my method. She's considerable smaller than I am so I was pretty sure strength wasn't a factor. It had to be the tool. She said I could get a pair through Useful Items for around $20. I figured if they worked that well for her, it was worth it to me to get my own pair. And if they didn't work any better than the nippers Wayne uses, oh well, at least it's a write-off. I ordered myself a pair and they arrived Tuesday.

So today I went down to Foothill Llama and Alpaca Ranch with my new toenail clippers in hand. Wayne and I rounded up the boys where my two hang out. We caught BB who wasn't too keen on being restrained, let alone having his feet touched. I was a little worried about poking myself or the animal with the ends of the clippers so I proceeded very carefully. Wayne held BB's head and I "wrangled" a foot. Well, I must say I was VERY impressed with my new instrument. It cuts through black toenails like a hot knife through butter! Wayne and I trimmed up 5 boys in about 30 minutes (and weighed a few while we had halters on) and when we were done, I wasn't tired. More significantly, my back wasn't killing me from bending over. And of course the boys seemed to be walking a little prouder now with their newly manicured toes!

The tool is made in Japan by a company named Saboten. The blades are teflon coated and the handles are orange. I've been told there's a green-handled version out there that has stainless steel blades but the person said they bought those in Canada. Those are easier to re-sharpen. For now, I'm simply in love with my bright orange snips!

The next tool on my list: the Tooth-A-Matic tooth trimmer put out by The AlpacaRosa.

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