This paper examines the practical and welfare implications of breeding a polled sheep with a short tail, devoid of wool on the head, legs, belly and breech, which has been proposed as a breeding goal (Scobie et al., Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animimal Production 57 (1997) 84-87). Mean shearing times were slower (P<0.001) for control Romney (n = 68) and Coopworth (n = 144) ewe hoggets compared with times for both breeds after they had been trimmed to resemble the breeding goal. Romney wethers (n = 80) were slower to shear than ewes (P<0.001), but trimmed wethers were much faster to shear than the untrimmed controls. Trimmed sheep produced less wool (pooled mean weights of fleece wool for trimmed sheep vs. total wool for controls being 2.5 vs. 3.5 kg; P<0.001), half the difference consisting of lower-value oddment wools from the untrimmed controls. Tails were docked to 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% of the distance between the base of the tail and the hock of Perendale lambs (n = 158), and 0, 20, 40 and 60% on Coopworths (n = 196). More dags accumulated as the tail stump increased in length, although significance depended on the time of year and management system. No fly strike (cutaneous myiasis) was observed in Perendales given physical and chemical protection, whereas a small proportion of all tail lengths were fly-struck in Coopworths given only physical protection. When shorn as hoggets, the time taken to shear Perendale ewes increased with increasing tail length (P<0.001).
|Publication Title||Animal Welfare|
|Author Address||AgResearch, PO Box 60, Lincoln 8152, New Zealand.|
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