We still have just the two lambs. I am not sure what the other three ewes are waiting for, we have had perfect weather for winter lambing. I assume they are waiting for a winter storm to roll around. The two lambs we do have, were moved outside into the barnyard. I think they are enjoying the extra space to bounce around in.
Before moving them, (when they are easier to catch) we put the band on their tails for docking.
(This is an older post, edited)
Typically, the ewes take very good care of their lambs. We really do not have to do much in way of animal husbandry.
We do have a few routine management practices that we perform.
Tail Docking being one.
Most lambs are not born with short tails. A lamb's tail can be pretty long, depending on the breed. Some breeds have shorter tails and do not need to be docked. Our lambs have the longer tails.
The tails are docked in the first two weeks.
Why dock tails?
Tails collect manure, which can lead to fly strike (wool maggots, yes, it is gross)
It is an accepted practice and you could have a hard time selling lambs and breeding stock without the tails being docked.
I have went back and forth with it, just like disbudding goats (which we still do) trying to decide if I wanted to use this management practice. I talked with a breeder who had the same dilemma, she chose not to dock her Border Leicester's one year. She started docking again. It is easier to take care of the animal with the docked tails. Especially, during lambing and shearing time.
There are several methods for docking tails. I chose the most common, Banding ,using a tool called an elastrator.
A rubber ring is placed on the lambs tail. 7-10 days later the tail falls off.
The lamb does experience some pain, but we have observed it is short-lived.
We give the lamb a shot to prevent against tetanus at the time of banding.
Here is a good tutorial showing the procedure:
There are several other methods, but this is the only one I feel comfortable with at this time.
I have been reading about an Electric tail docker, which cuts and cauterizes. I am considering switching to this method. Until then, we will continue to band.
There are different opinions, on how short the tail should be docked. Some show lambs have their tail almost completely removed. We do not participate in this practice. If my lambs do not show as well because of it, so be it. That is a decision we have made.
I understand that some think that tail docking is wrong, just as they do disbudding and other animal husbandry practices. This is not our belief, we believe we raise our animals humanely and this is a practice that is done to improve the health and welfare of our animals.
I respect others opinions and hopefully they will respect ours.
(This post is based on our opinions on sheep management practices)