Docking

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Ofsailsnbales, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. Ofsailsnbales

    Ofsailsnbales Member

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    Greetings!
    I am wondering about tail docking, if the tails of two lambs were left without being docked, would cleaning their tails often (How often?) keep away the threat of flystrike? I really do not want to dock the tails, but I don't want to cause suffering later in their lives. If all I would have to do is pay close attention to their tails, and clean them when I see any mess, if that would save their tails, then I could certainly do it.
    I live in Atlantic Canada. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be specific. I read climate can be a factor in this decision. I hope someone can help me. Bye!
     
  2. animal_kingdom

    animal_kingdom Well-Known Member

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    Is it right to assume they are wool sheep?
     

  3. Ofsailsnbales

    Ofsailsnbales Member

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    I'm sorry about that! That is quite an important detail. They are both Dorset.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I'd really have to say take them off now while its easy. Damp conditions will mean a greater risk of flystrike. I guess if you shear the tails so there's less than a couple of inches of wool left routinely you could get away with it. Docking really is less painful than a trip to the dentist
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Ick. I wouldn't want to mess around with cleaning up under the tail that often. Some sheep can be pretty messy! I've got a dorset/suffolk ewe, and while she's not as messy as the Romneys I still wouldn't want the job of cleaning ;)

    If you're worried about it being painful, as Ross pointed out, it really isn't. It kinda freaked me out the first time, but some of my lambs didn't even seem to notice. Those that did were back to playing within 5 minutes. It's rather like having your foot fall asleep, you barely notice that the blood as stopped circulating (until the blood starts pumping there again, but that won't happen with the tail, it'll just fall off.)
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    If you've only got a couple of sheep, you don't mind cleaning them up if they get dirty, and you are sure you can make the time to do it if they do get daggy, leave their tails on if that's what you would prefer to do. I've half-a-dozen long tailers and only one of them gets mucky, usually in the spring with the flush of growth.

    As has been mentioned, ringing the tails isn't as painful as it sounds. There is a bit of initial discomfort but within 10 minutes they're as right as rain.

    Also, a pour-on fly preventative will take care of fly strike before it happens.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. Ofsailsnbales

    Ofsailsnbales Member

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    Thank you all for replying!
    Why do domestic sheep with wool have such a problem with their tails? Is it because they have been selectively bred to bear wool like they bear now? Or would they cover larger distances when feral, and they wouldn't be grazing in fields where they have been defecating for lengthy periods of time? Perhaps both? Maybe I'm wrong, could any of you tell me, please?
     
  8. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One of my sheep is a Rambouilet x Corriedale, so her wool is not super long, but long enough. I didn't dock her tail and haven't had any trouble. The only time this ewe had loose manure she was only a few weeks old so it was easy to wipe her behind off. A neighbor's flock had flystrike, and the tails were all docked. If the flies are coming in because the sheep are on lush pasture and their systems are upset, the loose manure is going to stick to the wool on their legs, regardless of how long the tails are.
     
  9. HesterDaddy

    HesterDaddy Well-Known Member

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    I have a on year old babydoll/cheviot cross who I aquired 3 months ago... undocked. I just spent some time this weekend cleaning and trimming the accumulation and I can tell you that I've made the appointment to visit my vet and have her tail docked (since she's so old now). It was messy, unpleasant and at times downright gross. If you've got the commitment to do it on a regular basis, I say go for it, but it's unsightly and unsanitary in my book.
     
  10. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    If you have ever had to deal with flystrike-you will band with ease. I have seen sheep so badly soiled that underneath the mess was a huge sore full of maggots. The sheep would have died if she had not been found and treated. We really haven't seen any discomfort when we band. The little guys go back to eating and playing like nothing happened.