Birthday spent at docking pen

Docking lambs on their farm in Western Southland last week are (from left) Tim Ronald and his...
Docking lambs on their farm in Western Southland last week are (from left) Tim Ronald and his parents Gaylene and Wilson Ronald. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Farmer Wilson Ronald celebrated his birthday docking sheep with his family in Western Southland last week.

The family docked some of the 1750 Texel Coopworth lambs on their 84ha farm Wilrock, in Fairfax.

The flock was docked in accordance to new government rules, which came into effect in May.

Under the Ministry for Primary Industries regulations, a sheep’s tail cannot be docked shorter than the distal end of the caudal fold.

‘‘It’s a pain in the arse ... but it’s the rules so you’ve got to do it,’’ Mr Ronald said.

The tailing process was no more difficult than before but it made it harder to clean up a sheep when preparing it for the meatworks.

Although Texel Coopworth were a clean sheep breed, if any were dirty, the longer tail made the tidy-up more difficult.

‘‘That nub makes it harder to clean.’’

Lambing generally had gone OK this season but they were short of feed ‘‘like everybody else’’, due to a wet August and September.

‘‘It played havoc with feed.’’

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