Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Docking Tails  (Read 583 times)


  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Docking Tails
« on: August 17, 2019, 10:17:15 am »
Hi all,
I recently bought 5 ewe lambs 5 months old.  Their tails have been docked but a couple of them still have very long tails.  Does anyone know if it is ok to band them now at this age, or is it cruel?


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 10:19:00 am »
It’s not just cruel, it’s illegal after the first 7 days of life. Not much you can do about it other than keep them crutched (trimmed) out at certain times of the year.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 11:22:15 am »
Legally they need enough tail to completely cover the vulva when adult.  Breeds which traditionally winter on moorlands and or mountains need more, to keep the udder protected through winter.

I trim our lambs’ tails (within the first week of life) to part way down the thigh.

Keep them clean - wormed and if necessary dagged.  They’ll be much more comfortable with a longer tail than too little.

And yes, it’s illegal and cruel to band them at this age.  If it’s really a problem, you could ask the vet, who would probably refuse but would certainly use anaesthetic if they were to do anything.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 11:28:23 am »
Thank you.
It's not a problem at the moment but I was just thinking they may get mucky sometime.  I'll just keep the tails dagged and clean.  Thanks


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2019, 12:02:00 pm »
I would have a chat with the vet, they may be prepared to do something after fly season.
May not seem a problem now, but there is every summer of their life to spend checking and worrying.


  • Joined Aug 2014
  • East Anglia
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2019, 04:28:36 pm »
Yes I will phone the vets tomorrow, as I think they may be prepared do something under aneasethic.  I'm sure the sheep will have a better life after it's done, and mine will be easier  ;D
I haven't had a problem with fly strike before but keeping sheep with long tails is asking for it!!

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Docking Tails
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2019, 07:15:33 pm »
Propensity to fly strike is affected by many things other than tail length.  Breed of sheep makes a big difference.  This year has been a bad year for us for fly strike, and we have (too) many breeds.  Texels are the worst I think because their wool is so dense and they tend to be fatter and so sweatier.  The shetlands and cheviots both have undocked tails and none of those got struck although running in the same flock. I'd leave them be.
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.


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