Shearing | 17TH MARCH 2021
Why Dag Your Sheep?
If you are looking to keep your flock in the best condition possible this year, you should look to use methods of dagging or crutching, which helps to keep their wool clean and in a good condition. It’s a mucky task, but it is always worth keeping on top of it!
What is dagging?
Dagging, also known as crutching, is a method used by farmers all around the world that removes ‘dags’ which is dirty, wet wool between the legs, the tail, and the rear end of your sheep.
It’s a common procedure used before lambing, as it keeps everything clean and also allows you to see the rear much easier.
If left unattended, ‘flystrike’ can occur, which is when flies lay eggs in the dag, and the fly larvae will then attack the animals' flesh. This can become extremely uncomfortable for your sheep and will often lead to them stamping their feet often, wriggling their tail, acting nervous, and smelling bad!
What should you use to dag?
There are a variety of opinions on what you should use to dag your sheep. Some people chose to use blade shears, but others choose to use mechanical shearing handpieces.
Firstly, you’re going to have to know when to dag your sheep. If you’re looking for a pleasant procedure, don’t allow the rear to become excessively dirty and do not allow significant dags to form, as this means you can carry out the procedure safely and easily.
When it comes to dagging people have their own opinions on how to dag/crutch, so find a method that works for you. If you are unsure, why not participate in a shearing course? Head over to https://www.britishwool.org.uk/book-online
- Start at the inside hock, and shear around the crutch to the outside hock.
- Pick up the outside leg, shear down the leg, and cut the wool on an angle.
- Turning the sheep on the side you have not yet sheared, shear towards the tail and out to the top of the hock
- Shear under the hock, and also under the tail.
- Shear over the tail, cutting the wool at an angle
Be cautious around teats and any other sensitive areas when shearing. It’s usually best to dag the whole flock whilst you are at it.