How To Band A Lamb Tail In 3 Steps (Video)

Banding a lamb's tail helps prevent health problems such as fly strike, so follow these three steps to band a lamb tail and protect the animal's health.

In this video Josh, from Porter Valley Ranch, explains how quick and easy banding sheep tails can be with an Elastrator and bands. 

First, what does it mean to band the tail of a lamb? Simply put, it’s the application of a rubber band at a precise location on a young animal’s tail. Blood is cut off to the banded area, and the tail will fall off in short time.

Many people don’t even know lambs are born with tails, as tail banding (or docking) is such a common procedure. But why do shepherds remove a lamb’s tail?

You may guess the reason for lamb tail banding comes down to aesthetics, and it’s true that there are tail standards for show lambs. But for the average shepherd, the reason is much more utilitarian. Lambs’ tails catch a lot of excreted feces and urine, providing a moist environment that attracts flies.

So, left intact, a lamb’s tail is a serious invitation to fly strike–simply put, maggots in the animal’s flesh.

And, while banding may seem unpleasant to us farmers, for the animal the procedure causes only brief discomfort.

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In this video we perform the simple procedure in the three simple steps, outlined below.

Read more: Flies are more than annoying for livestock—they can be downright dangerous. So here are ways to control the insects.

Supplies Needed to Band a Lamb Tail

Step One

Clean the area. Use rubbing alcohol and a clean rag to clean all sides of the tail near where you plan to band.

Step Two

Select the spot. Shepherds have different opinions on where exactly to select the banding placement. Josh shows his general rule of thumb, which is to find where the skin ends on the bottom of the lamb tail, and band there.

Step Three

Use the Elastrator and band to widely go around the tail. Once the location is selected release the Elastrator and the band should roll onto the tail.

Banding should be done within the first week the lamb is born. Tails will take up to two weeks to fall off. 

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