Sunday, November 8, 2015

Friendly Austrian sheep


When I worked at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, the joke was "If you had to look through a slatted fence all day you would have rectangular pupils in your eyes too."

Here is Austria we went for an Ausflug today and visited an open-air museum of centuries-old farm buildings in Bad Tatzmannsdorf.
This big mama ewe was on display too.

Giving the sheep sugar treats was verboten.

But we did pick up some apples from the grass and the sheep loved them.

Unlike in America, sheep are allowed to keep their long tail.
(Linking to Camera Critters.)


William Kendall said...

They`re pretty good natured animals.

crystal said...

Verbiten - takes me back to learning German in college. The sheep look happy with their long tails :)

Petrea Burchard said...

Do they dock the tails here? Why on earth...?

Dina said...

Petrea, Sheep 201 says this:

Docking is when the tail is shortened. Castration is when the testicles are removed or their function is inhibited. Both are routine management practices on most sheep farms in the United States and other developed countries. According to a 2002 USDA Animal Health Survey, 91.7 percent of lambs are docked and 77.4 percent of ram lambs are castrated in the United States.

Docking improves the health and welfare of sheep and lambs. It prevents fecal matter from accumulating on the tail and hindquarters of the animal. Research has shown that tail docking greatly reduces fly strike (wool maggots), while having no ill effect on lamb mortality or production. Docking facilitates shearing. Not many sheep shearers want to shear sheep with long tails. Docking makes it easier to observe the ewe's udder and detect potential problems.

Some markets (lamb buyers) discriminate against tailed lambs, since having a tail lowers the dressing percent (yield) of the lamb and removal of the tail during processing requires extra labor. On the other hand, ethnic buyers of lambs often prefer undocked lambs. For the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, unblemished lambs are often preferred for harvest. An unblemished lamb is one that has not been docked, castrated, or had its horns removed.

Not all sheep require tail docking. Because hair sheep lambs do not have long, wooly tails, it is usually not necessary to shorten their tails. Lambs from the Northern European short-tail breeds also do not require docking. Fat-tailed sheep are usually not docked. Some producers of wooled lambs do not dock their lambs or they only dock the ewe lambs.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Dina. That answers my question very well!

Alice said...

Lots of wool to shear and plenty of yarn to knit mittens and hats later.

crystal said...

Eeek - it's not easy to be a sheep!

spacedlaw said...

Fancy that! i had no idea about this docking thing. Thanks, Dina!