Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming  (Read 2259 times)

Helen Wiltshire Horn

  • Joined Apr 2014
Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« on: April 02, 2014, 08:58:48 pm »
Hi, I am new to this board and also new to lambing!  I have 5 wiltshire horns, 3 of which have lambed so far and have 5 strapping lambs.  I went on a practical lambing course last weekend and also had a knowledgeable sheep keeper come and help me yesterday with castrating and tail docking for the first time.  Anyway, as is the way with these things, when I tried today to put on bands on my ewe lambs tails, I wasn't sure of the length, having done it so confidently yesterday with someone looking over my shoulder!  I have made sure to cover their bits but the tails look quite long to me.  Does this change as the lamb grows in size and can anyone give me some guidance as to where the band goes on?  Any other tips? 

I also have a question about my ram who was surplus to requirements from the person I hired him from and has therefore landed up living permanetly with my Dexters.  I noticed today that his toes are very long to the extent that they look like talons and that one of the front ones has a split almost in the middle of it, horizontally.  My concern is that if I trim back to the split his toes will be too short.  Can anyone offer any advice?  He isn't lame at all and came to us with quite long toes. 

Anyway, I should be grateful for any advice.  I must say that the past few weeks have meant a very steep learning curve and I am lambing by myself as my husband is away with work for the next 2 weeks.  Thankfully all seems to have gone well, though it takes me back to being a new Mum and I find myself constantly worrying!  The weight of responsibility seems huge. 



  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2014, 09:21:15 pm »
Wilts shed - don't bother docking them as there is no need.


  • Joined May 2013
Re: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 09:34:06 pm »
I found blue spray to be good if they have a foot bother,
but yes i would trim them espeherly as spring is on us.


  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Wiltshire
    • Maythorn Farm
Re: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2014, 09:36:21 pm »
We have Wilts and never dock their tails and they've always been fine.  If you do trim the rams feet, just make sure not to over trim!

Helen Wiltshire Horn

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 09:42:33 pm »
Thanks for the advice.  Even though they are self-shedding I had a nasty case of fly-strike last Summer which I am keen to avoid. What about hygiene and docking?  I am now worried that one of the ewe lambs had poo on her tail.  I have put iodine on it around the band and there is no heat so I suppose I will keep an eye on it over the next few days.  Has anyone had problems with infections caused by docking?  Regarding the foot trimming, my fear is that is if I take his feet back to the split this will be too far but will see how I get on this weekend. 


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Tail docking and a question about foot-trimming
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2014, 09:51:52 pm »
I don't think docking is hygenic or otherwise - in fact the tails help prevent strike as they can use them to swish at flies.

I can't remember ever having a wilts struck round its back end - was it mucky or do you have them somewhere particulary damp/flyprone?

As for the foot - it is a 'function over form' thing. If it isn't limping, don't trim as it can open the cuticle up to infection.


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