I was in Nicaragua a few weeks ago and while on a farm I noticed that all of the sheep Pelibüey were not docked. This made me reflect on the US sheep that I see every day in our barn. Why is it that the American sheep industry docks (shortens) tails while all the sheep I have seen in European and South American tend to not. In many instances American sheep are treated as well if not better than sheep I’ve seen internationally, especially in Nicaragua. My sheep are a part of my family, and I would never want them to do something that is harmful.
So why to do we dock tails in the US. There are several health reasons that lead to this common practice amongst the US lamb industry.
– It reduces a build up of fecal matter. After all sheep can’t wipe. It also helps with flies.
– It aids in lambing as it makes it easier to watch the udder and monitor for issues.
– It aids in shearing as it isn’t in the way.
So why don’t they do it around the world if it aids in health? Because several hair breeds don’t have large wooly tails that are in the way. These breeds are the ones we find more often in Europe and South America like the Pelibuey ,Barbados, Dorper, Kahtadin, and St Crox. Several breeds also have shorter tails already like Finnsheep and Romanov. For m
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So next time you see some sheep grazing without tails, know there is a farmer who cares for their health .