Tim Tyne gives a step-by-step guide to crutching and dagging sheep

It’s a fact of life that sheep get mucky backsides! Of course, this wasn’t always the case – the early domesticated sheep of 8,000 years ago were hairy little things with short tails (a trait still seen in the Northern Short Tailed breeds today), but, as the species developed over centuries according to the requirements of the people who herded them, woolly coats and nice, long fatty tails became the norm. However, times have changed (again!) and these characteristics are often cursed by the modern shepherd! Nowadays we dock the tails of many breeds, and a number of forward thinking producers are selectively breeding sheep that have little or no fleece, with the ability to shed what they do have naturally. A fine example of the wheel turning full circle! Be that as it may, for the vast majority of flock owners, keeping the back ends of their charges clean and free from the attention of the dreaded blowfly is a crucial aspect of routine husbandry.

For a Step by step guide – click on the link to the multimedia Photo gallery (above right)

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