Basic Sheep Care
Raising sheep is fairly simple, and takes much less money than larger livestock since there is no need for expensive equipment that is necessary for large livestock operations. In todays culture of small acreage, raising Texel sheep gives the land owner options. Even some larger back yards can support a few sheep. Sheep are also a natural alternative to mowing grass. If you have two acres or two hundred acres, the Texels will serve you well.
Tail docking is beneficial to the lamb and can save its life. However docking to short causes a lot of suffering and even death. The good news is it is very easy to get the correct length. Just place the docking band so that there is enough tail to cover the entire genitals area. Now the lamb is protected from fly strike, waste build up, biting insects, sun damage etc, yet wont suffer from prolapse due to to short docking.
Docking a lamb's tail too short is probably worse than not docking it at all. It increases the risk of rectal and vaginal prolapses, and leaves the bare skin around the anus and vulva exposed to the elements as well as painful bites of deer flies, mosquitoes and other damages.
In most countries it is illegal to dock a lambs tail too short. It is good animal welfare to dock the lambs tail the correct length which in turn will keep the lamb healthy all of their life.
We dock the lambs tail when they are four days old. By waiting until day four it insures that there was no interference with colostrum intake. We feel day four docking is an advantage to the lamb as the lamb is now well fed, growing, sturdy, yet still young enough that the docking is almost a non issue to the lamb. But again, day four is mostly to not interfere with colostrum intake as that is the most important part of a lambs life. The colostrum sets the tone for growth, health and illness prevention.
There are many benefits to raising sheep. There are advantages to raising sheep when compared to larger livestock.But we have to face facts in that sheep are pretty low on the food chain which falls under the category of disadvantages. By that I mean there is no shortage of animals that want to kill them, and can kill sheep easily, quickly, and with no warning. The threats are wild animals such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats, to the common house hold dogs. To this date, we have never lost a single lamb or sheep to predator attack. So how did we do it? Guardian Dogs! They are the answer. Even small predators such as possums and fox can snag a lamb with blinding speed, yet somehow, the guardian dog is always one step ahead of the predators. God built guardian dogs very well. They know danger before it gets arrives. Our neighbor is a trapper and in just a few weeks caught 4 Bob Cats. I am personally against trapping, but I do want to mention that 4 Bob cats were within feet of where our flock grazes yet we did not lose a single sheep. This would not be the case without the two Anatolian Shepherds that escort them everywhere they go.