Lamb Tails

Did you know that lambs are born with long tails?

Sheep don’t have long tails. It’s not healthy for them to have long tails. I don’t know why sheep are born with their tails long. That’s just the way they are born.
Are you wondering how adult sheep got their short tails?
I’ll show you!

This is Apple.
She’s one of the lambs you saw in an earlier post.

 Lambs can’t wag their tails like a dog can. It just hangs there.

That means….. yuck! When they poo it gets stuck on their tail.

Dogs clean themselves off, but lambs and sheep don’t. All that yuck gets stuck under their tail and the flies love to lay eggs in it. That can make a lamb or sheep sick.

There are a few different ways to make a lamb’s tail shorter. We like this way the best.

We give the lamb an injection to make sure that they won’t get a
disease called Tetanus.

I’m holding the lamb in the photo. My 14 year old neighbor is giving the injection. I think that’s great that she’s learning so much about animals!

You may have had a tetanus shot if you got stitches.

If you get cut or step on a nail when you are outside, you may need a tetanus shot. Tetanus takes between a few days and a few weeks to show up after a wound.

It causes problems in your muscles which means that you may not be able to move your mouth, or your neck. You may have painful spasms in muscles, and you may get a fever.

Animals who get tetanus often die. Of course we don’t want that to happen to any of our animals, either!

Next we clean the lambs tail off first to make sure it is free of germs.
I make sure that I can find the right spot to put the rubber band
around their tail.
We want to make sure the lamb’s tail is the right length, not too long and not too short.
I have special pliers that help me get a
very tight rubber band in just the right spot.
I pull the pliers off and
the rubber band stays in place.
After about 3 weeks the lamb’s tail falls off. It doesn’t hurt them to have a rubber band around their tail. They run around and play as if nothing happened! 
*     *     *     *     *
I have a story about a little child that was about 6 years old who visited our farm many years ago. Our lambs had rubber bands on their tails, but their tails hadn’t come off yet. It’s really hard to see the rubber band under their furry tail.
The little child was not well behaved. She chased the animals and wasn’t kind to them. Her mother was no help! Nothing I could do would stop that girl from chasing our sweet, gentle lambs!
I was just about ready to put the lambs away and tell the little girl to get out of the barnyard.
She quickly caught a lamb by the tail! Oh, my!
The lamb’s tail popped off in her hand!
She thought that she pulled the lamb’s tail right off the lamb! 
She didn’t know the lamb’s tail was being docked (shortened) so she had no idea that she didn’t really hurt the lamb.
It all turned out well because the little lamb wasn’t hurt. The girl was so surprised by what she did that she stopped chasing all the animals! 
Please don’t chase animals. If they are running away from you, and you are running after them that’s called “chasing.” Farm animals don’t know how to play tag like you and your friends do. 
Chasing only scares them and makes them afraid of you and other people.
Chasing animals isn’t nice. You can do nice things!

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