"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wagging Their Tails behind Them?

~"Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and can't tell where to find them. Leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them." . "Do I look like Little Bo Peep to you? Goodness, such a fuss and ruckus about tails ? Who needs a tail anyway? I don't! " says Delilah.
~"Then up she took her little crook, determined to find them; She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed, for they'd left their tails behind them." Goth ( above ), ever proud of himself and knowing he is fully entitled to respect and admiration...says " I have a perfect tail! Short and covering a very important part of my anatomy. After all, who wants flies messing around in some very sensitive areas. They might lay eggs there and cause all sorts of distress that might distract me from pursuing my beloved ewes and ramming fences! I am perfectly pleased with my short tail!" ( he is looking a little pudgy here , I think) ~Here is a Jacob lamb with her tail still intact. There is a very tight rubber band on her tail, about 3 inches down from her spine, and it is cutting off circulation to the rest of her tail. It will wither and drop off. Sounds awful, but is necessary as far as I am concerned. " The tail in Jacobs is long, round and woolly reaching to the knees if un-docked.( you can see that this lamb's tail is even longer) Most people prefer to dock for the sake of cleanliness. Although Jacobs are fairly good at lifting their tails up, if they happen to get soiled--especially at lambing time or in the spring when the grass is lush and green-they can get heavy with dung tags. An owner would have to witness fly strike only once in their life to be convinced of the necessity of tail docking." Ingrid Painter JACOB SHEEP IN AMERICA
~" It happened one day, as Bo Peep did stray into a meadow hard by, there she espied their tails side by side, All hung on a tree to dry." Nursery Rhyme (above: lamb tails that have fallen off)
~Here is the posterior of Black Bart. He has a long tail. His tail has not been docked. The shearer needed to shear him to the end of his tail. Black Bart is an easy keeper and he says"My tail is quite beautiful, and I love the curls that grow out as my wool grows. Any cleanliness is your duty as a shepherdess to take care of. Just don't be expecting me to volunteer to stand still while you do that, or make it easy in any way for you to catch me!" You might have noticed I tend towards tail docking in my sheep. Like any other topic, this can be controversial and I have read up on this, and seen the sheep of people who feel strongly that a sheep should not have it's tail docked. I respect their right to do as they wish, but I will continue to dock the tails of my sheep because there are hot and awful summers when flies are pretty pesky and sheep have wool. Wool does not shed like hair on a dog's tail will. The woolly tails of sheep get woollier and manure clings like sticky tar to it. Flies LOVE this gunk. They spread the word and before you know it, you have a thriving fly community in a very unhappy sheep's tail! And that's my sheep tale about tails today. My sheep do have tails wagging behind them, but they are SMALL tails! Blessings: sheep, lambs, sunny spring days to watch lambs play

22 comments:

Jennifer said...

Very interesting! I am always amazed at the controversy some subjects stir up, such as disbudding in goats. As long as the animals are being taken care of I am a big believer in farmers doing what works for them.

Mildred said...

It seems that we both have posted TAILS today!!!

Juri said...

Very interesting! I never knew about the controversy about sheeps tails! As Jennifer mentioned, I was thinking of the disbudding of goats! Always something! However, when you explained about the flies, it makes sense to me, as flies, even in the cleanest and best of circumstances, are a constant irritation to anyone with animals...why ask for more? Your blog is very interesting to read!

Amy said...

Interesting stuff Kathy!

Shellmo said...

I think if it keeps them comfortable from flies then why not dock them! :-)

LindaSueBuhl said...

I think much of the controversy is around badly done jobs - we've all seen the pathetic messes of improperly docked tails or badly disbudded horns. My buck was the victim of a rotten disbudding - not only was his head infected for a long while - now he has deformed bits of horn which grow out - get broken off and have to be tended. Too much about me - interesting post and as always - a conscientious keeper of animals has to weigh their options and do what seems right and good. I trust your judgment for your sheep - they seem more than happy (well except Goth and he isn't a happy natured fellow - being a ram and all). Bo Peep wasn't as good a shepherdess as KathyBeep (rotten rhyming)

shadow mountain jacobs farm said...

I'm with you Kathy on the docking of tails. I always dock at 3 days old with a band. I do dock a little longer than some do but I like the look and they use those little tails for so much. I have one ewe right now with a full length tail and it is so very greasy and dirty, I really don't like it much. It is a individual choice and I surely don't condem someone for not doing it. Good post today...

Mrs. D said...

I always learn something from you Kathy. There is nothing fluffy and shallow in your blog. If I had sheep, I'd do the same as you. My dog has a docked tail, as it is the requirement for the breed. As always, it's an education and a pleasure to visit you.
Deb

noble pig said...

Wow, I learn so much here. I think the practice is fine. Removing the tail keeps them comfortable. I think the fly problem would be horrible.

Lanny said...

Ah, the things we find to blog about eh Kathy? Well you know us, we take the "controversy" even farther under the tutelage of Doc, but when in Rome...

Flies and slugs, the bane.

kenleighacres said...

I'm with you Kathy! I had to deal with fly strike once with our commercial sheep and that is definitely enough for me :) I love how all of the tails are different.

KathyB. said...

Jennifer, I had kept sheep for years before I learned tail docking and dis-budding horns ( from goats ) was controversial!I agree with you, what works for the person keeping the animals?

Mildred, tails can be very important, can't they? I don't want one for myself though!

Juri, thank-you for visiting! We used to have dairy goats, and thanks to Lanny's husband, Dirt, our little goat kids had their horns dis-budded very nicely so we never did have problems in that area. Fortunately!

Amy, thank-you!

Shellmo, although flies are not as big a problem here as I have seen in other states, flies do cause problems and something about maggots growing out of the tails of live sheep just creeps me out.

LindaSue, I have seen improperly docked tails. Too short,as in NO tail covering the privates,very popular in the sheep show ring, causes other injuries to the sheep. They need a few inches of something to wag the flies away and protect their vulvas....

Shadow Mountain. we band the third day too. Also leaving various lengths depending on the lamb. I too, believe it is up to the shepherd and the sheep are not harmed ( except momentary pain ) either way. I just know I do not want to spend time penning my sheep up to scrub tails, or have them frenzied by flies in the rear end.

Mrs. D, your dog is beautiful. Our Vizsla has a docked tail...I like the look of some of the breeds with docked tails and there are some practical reasons for various breed standards, but that is controversial now too! Boy, we humans are a quarrelsome bunch, aren't we?

Noble Pig, there are a lot of farms keeping large flocks of sheep in the area of your future home . You might notice they usually have their tails docked!

Lanny,your sheep look mighty fine and show standards for Suffolk seem to be a little more concerned about covering the privates, am I right?

Kenleigh Acres,did you notice the difference in the picture of the tails ? Some were short to begin with, some are very long and curly..etc. just like the lambs themselves, so different! I LOVE the Jacob sheep!

Karen said...

I loved all the pictures today! Have a blessed week.

Anonymous said...

You are such a cut up with your tails - I mean tales. :-) Have a great day Sis!

KathyB. said...

Karen, thank-you!

Sis, ha, ha! Want to come over and help me band tails and testicles someday?

Daisy said...

Oh dear. The flies sound dreadful. I cringed hearing about how the tails are docked but it does sound necessary. I learned another something new here today. :D

KathyB. said...

Daisy, it does seem morbid, doesn't it? Other people cut the tails off, but most sheep keepers do dock tails.

megan said...

Hey, I think next time someone takes issue with your decision to dock your sheep's tails, you should (with as straight a face as you can muster) just ask them if they circumsised their sons???? :-D SERIOUSLY!

KathyB. said...

Megan, good one, but alas , circumcision has become an even MORE controversial subject!

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