Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Tail docking lambs  (Read 517 times)

sheepgirl1

  • Joined Mar 2021
Tail docking lambs
« on: March 27, 2021, 06:38:36 pm »
Hi all, a newbie sheep keeper here. First babies born couple days ago. Advice is much needed though! How far do I dock tails using elastrator? And what are the harms in docking too high up! Very scared and anxious as I donít want to harm my beautiful babies! Ta all in advance for your help :)

sheepgirl1

  • Joined Mar 2021
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2021, 06:42:07 pm »
Unfortunately Iím well out of the way of any experienced shepherds and am raising my sheep single handedly - so any simple advice or words of reassurance would be really appreciated. Ta lots my friends !

vfr400boy

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • one life live it
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 12:44:22 pm »
We got our lambs already with bands on id say they are about 3 inch down just enough to cover ther bum ,
    Am sure some one with more experience will answer soon

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 01:12:09 pm »
Sounds about right but some breeds don't get docked, hebridean and other Northern Shorttailed breeds especially, and if they are docked then they shouldn't be registered.  Commercial type sheep are mostly docked though to help prevent dirty tails and fly strike.


When choosing the place to put the band, imagine that tail length on a fully grown animal, where it will be proportionately shorter.  Better leave a bit too much than cut it so short both anus and vulva are exposed. The sheep needs enough tail left to waggle at flies.
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twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2021, 01:43:39 pm »
For ewe lambs the tail must be long enough to cover her vulva. If you look at the underside of the tail there will be a bit at the top with bare skin, which then filters in a v shape down the tail to wool. We tend to put the band at this point. But the main thing is for ewes it covers the vulva, and for rams you probably want to go about the same length but it must cover the anus.


Some of my ewes are docked too short (not by me, I brought them in), it can predispose ewes to prolapse although Iíve never found that myself.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2021, 02:35:45 pm »
The tip of the V on the underside of the tail is a nice tip.  :thumbsup:

I have always done it (in those few of my lambs, now, which are not naturally short-tailed...  so my Wensey and Romney crosses) by looking at where the tail lines up with the most forward part of the back of the thigh, and aiming to have the ring lie about there or slightly above.  I shall note how that relates to the "bare V" this year, and report back! 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2021, 02:54:57 pm »
Iím not sure if I explained it very well Sally  :thinking:  but it always works for me. I donít like tails too short, so would rather slightly longer than shorter.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2021, 02:58:25 pm »
Iím not sure if I explained it very well Sally  :thinking:  but it always works for me. I donít like tails too short, so would rather slightly longer than shorter.

You explained it perfectly to me :).  Whether a newbie "gets" it, we will have to see if any ask for clarification! 
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2021, 06:16:45 pm »
I very much agree with what the others have said and when in doubt leave longer. It used to be that people would basically amputate the whole tail and this is still common practice in some countries. It's really awful for many reasons not least of all the animals well being. You want to make sure the vulva is fully covered and male lambs should be docked at the same length as the ewe lambs. You will be fine  :thumbsup:

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2021, 11:11:14 pm »
this is still common practice in some countries.


Yes, we were in the USA a few years ago and went to some agricultural shows. It was quite shocking (to me) to see sheep with no tails at all. I did ask one owner why they did that, and they just said "because that's what we do". There's not a lot you can say after that!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

ZacB

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Suffolk
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 06:52:17 am »
A tip? We were told three fingers for a ewe, two for a ram.
Hold your hand under the tail as if patting its bum! (Sitting at the kitchen table trying to put into words what my imaginary lamb bum patting hand is doing  :roflanim: )
The tail hangs down the back of your hand, thumb pointing up (this sounds so wrong  :huff: ).
The tail hangs down over the back of your fingers, band gets placed two fingers down for a ram lamb, three fingers down for a ewe lamb. I typically thing this is a little short and give it a bit more, to then look in the field a little later and regret leaving too much tail!




Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 07:16:52 am »
some good descriptions here ....   I did a video last year ... I wonder if I can find it?

Just one piece of advice ..... too short is against welfare regulations ... so end of woolless V  plus just a wee bit is a good rule of thumb.
Linda

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sheepgirl1

  • Joined Mar 2021
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 01:37:27 pm »
Hi all, thanks so much for all your advice! In terms of age, would you recommend waiting couple of days to dock them, or same day as they're born?
Ta!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 01:57:30 pm by sheepgirl1 »

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2021, 02:08:25 pm »
The younger they are the better. As long as the lamb has been licked dry, mothered up and sucking well. I tend to do mine 24hrs old, same for castrating.

sheepgirl1

  • Joined Mar 2021
Re: Tail docking lambs
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2021, 02:14:55 pm »
Fab! Thank you Twizzel!

 

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