Docking is the shortening of the lambs tail. A high percentage of farmers dock their lambs tails.
The sheep's tail protects its udder and vulva from weather extremes.
Some buyers do not like a docked lamb they prefer undocked especially some ethnic buyers.
Not all breads of sheep need to be docked, some breads have short tails such as the Icelandic and Shetland.
The docking of the lambs tail prevents fecal matter gathering on them.Docking the tail reduces the occurrence of wool maggots.
A lambs tail should be docked before they are 6 weeks of age.
You should not dock a wet lamb or in wet conditions to prevent infections.
The most popular and known as safest way to dock a lamb is to use RUBBER RINGS known as Banding
- The lamb will experience some pain for 10 to 20 minutes
- It is the best method for lay people
- You use rubber rings and an elastrator tool to apply the rings
- Be hygenic and do the procedure in a clean area to prevent infection
- The tail is pulled through an open elastic band,it is released and then tightened on the tail cutting of the blood supply to the tail
- The tail falls off after a week or two
- Do not dock a wet lamb
- The lambs can be given lidocaine to reduce the pain
- The use of the rubber rings is called banding
- The lamb needs to be protected against tetanus before docking
It is important not to dock the lambs tail too short as it could lead to the death of the lamb. It is reccomeded to leave enough tail to cover the ewes vulva and the rams anus.
If the tail is too short it will cause rectal prolapse because the musles and nerves of the anus of the lamb are damaged. It is also thought that vaginal prolapse can occur with too short a tail.