Docking of lambs' tails

Lambs' tails may be docked for cleanliness and to minimize fly strike. AVMA opposes excessively short tail docking, which is unacceptable for sheep welfare due to an increased incidence of rectal prolapse and skin cancer. If performed, the AVMA recommends that lambs' tails be docked at the level of the distal end of the caudal tail fold and at the earliest age practicable. Because tail docking causes pain and distress, the AVMA recommends the use of procedures and practices that reduce or eliminate these effects, including the use of approved or Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA)-permissible clinically effective medications.

Related resources

Literature review

Welfare implications of tail docking of lambs

Additional resources

Docking of lambs' tails video