Monday, November 22, 2010

Lamb marking day

On our Mole Creek farm, almost all this season’s lambs are a few weeks old. In other words, almost all our 35 breeding ewes got pregnant soon after they met our ram. But a few lambs were born in the last 1-2 weeks. Regardless, with summer only ten days off, it’s important the tails of all the lambs drop off and the resultant wounds heal before fly-strike (i.e. hot and muggy) weather starts. So yesterday was lamb marking day. Wikipedia says lamb marking comprises earmarking, castration and tail-docking [1]. Yesterday we gave each lamb an injection of Tasvax 5 in 1 vaccine [2], and we put a tight rubber elastration ring [3] around each lamb’s tail near where it joins the body. So technically yesterday was only partial marking. (Probably in January we’ll insert the NLIS eartags [4] and castrate those ram lambs we want to wether.) The five reasons for the vaccine’s apparent from the box (photograph). The elastration ring constricts the blood flow to the tail, and after 1-2 weeks the tail (i.e. bone and flesh) drops off leaving a small wound which soon scabs up and then heals over. After the tail drops off and before the scab forms, the lamb’s prone to fly-strike. The rings are painful: the lambs lie on the ground, roll around, and yell. But after 15-30 minutes the pain goes and the lambs act and sound normally. (The same type of rubber ring’s used in castration. That’s much more painful, and the pain lasts longer. I’ll write more about that when we do it.)


farmdoc said...

Here's WriterBee's take on the lamb marking [1]. The video clip shows the rolling around, and especially the yelling.

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

As a disinterested party but defintely not uninterested, why do lambs have to have their tails docked. I can only think it might have to do with them soiling them with lose feces?
I have been fighting a battle with your comments which either has been eating mine or not letting me in to write;several mini essays lost in cyberspace!