Friday, January 30, 2009

Tail banding day

The girls are three days old ... time to band their tails. I did a lot of research before we docked our first lambs born back in 2007. There is a lot of controversy over tail lengths if you do an internet search on tail docking of sheep. Articles on the 'net had convinced us that medical problems might arise if they are docked too short so we used the guidelines there.

And the Tunis breed is a descendant of the fat-tailed sheep of northern Africa. The Tunis breed standard says "The Tunis has a slight "fat tail" and should not be docked too short." It goes on to mention "The tail should be no less than one inch in length in accordance with Sheep Industry Development Program, Inc, recommendations for breeding stock. It has pronounced width."

So after much care we banded them "on the long side." This is a photo of the first one - Ruby. Yes, we even brought them in the house to do the banding. See the black ink from the Sharpie we used to mark the spot? She was more interested in Bobo our cat than she was the tight band on her tail.

Needless to say I was very surprised when I walked into the barn at our first sheep show, those sheep just didn't have any tails left. None, nothing, nada...

Well, today, we weren't ready to go that far and don't have any shows nearby so we doubt these will ever be show sheep. So the three girls today will be left with a "happy medium" about an inch to an inch and one half. Short enough for cleanliness and long enough for a little "privacy".

A tetanus shot, a quick band on the tail, a kiss on the head and we were done with those three.

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