Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?  (Read 3943 times)


  • Joined Jun 2013
Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« on: May 23, 2014, 01:20:41 pm »
My Herdy lambs are now 3 days old, and I wasn't planning to dock their tails as the breeder I acquired the stock from doesn't, and most of the ones I have seen in their native Lakes have full tails.

The local farmer I borrowed the adopter from suggested however that I should dock the males, but not the females. Even if I did that it would only be to 3/4 length, so is it worth it? Any consensus?




  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 02:42:27 pm »
I don't see any need to dock any sheep.  Unless they are a breed which are incapable of lifting their tails when they poo or wee :)
I wouldn't dock a Herdwick for sure. :)


  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 02:46:45 pm »
The only undocked ewes I have at present are a dozen or so Beulahs, they are a mess, dagging was a mucky chore. However short tailed sheep also manage to get covered on occasion so take your pick. The ewes would probably sell better as ewes tail on as that is what people expect to see.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 02:52:46 pm »
I may be wrong, but I understand that the reason to dock male lambs but not females is for ease of distinguishing the two from a distance in a large flock, or for sorting them quickly at weaning. With just a few as I assume you have I see absolutely no reason to dock.  We didn't dock our Jacobs when we had them and they are a long tailed breed.  We had no problems with mucky bums any more than in our short tailed breeds.  Tails are there for a purpose for sheep, so it isn't my way to remove them because others do so.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 03:03:23 pm by Fleecewife »
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  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 02:54:42 pm »
Thats funny, I docked umm some of my commercial ram lambs but not all, I maybe docked 30%, on one ewe I docked her ram lamb and left her ewe lamb long, none of my un docked lambs have mucky bums, the only ones with mucky bums have docked tails

The ewe with one of each has a mucky bumbed short tail and a clean long tail...

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 03:35:56 pm »
On some breeds, such as the Badger Face, the underside of the tail is woolless and the wool is coarse and long and hangs down the sides and back of the tail, so not near the anus. Long tails also offer some protection to the udder.  On Down breeds and so on, with finer fleeces, the wool is shorter and fluffy and will almost certainly get in the way when the sheep defacates, partcularly when the fleece is long anyway in late WInter and early Spring.  The wool surrounds the udder anyway, so a long tail isn't necessary for protection.


  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 10:38:16 am »
I know I am bit late to this post but Herdwicks are never docked.  They rarely get mucky unless they are in dire need of worming.
If you wanted to sell them as breeding sheep then you would have trouble selling them.


  • Joined Jun 2013
Re: Tail docking Herdwicks - Yes or no?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2014, 07:49:20 pm »
Thanks folks, tails are staying, they look much better with, and no reason to dock them it seems


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