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How would you respond to this email?

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EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 03:23PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
So I just got this email from our fair this morning. How would you respond? My first thoughts are that it sounds like they're going to be looking for lambs with full caudal folds and will be sifting anything with a "show dock." I am about to call the fair and find out who will be doing the checking talk to that person. I'd also like to know who the vet was that was concerned. This as I've got kids coming over today to pick out lambs... Grrr...

As you are shopping for your lamb, be sure to remember that the State Rules specify: To qualify for exhibit market lambs must be docked such that the tail (dock) is healed and can be lifted from the exterior. Lambs having no dock will not be eligible. (IX. A). This rule is for the health and safety of your animal and the protection of your investment as lambs whose tails are cut too short can suffer from rectal prolapse. (The vet we had at the fair last year was very concerned over the lack of tail on four of the lambs shown.) I know that many breeders are cutting the tails shorter and shorter. It is critical that you take the responsibility for checking your sheep at purchase as we will not be having weigh-in this year. The tails will be checked as the animals come across the scale and animals not meeting the state rules will be excused at that time.

What is the optimum tail length for the health of you animal? The optimum tail will be long enough to have the tail webbing still attached to the tail.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 03:27PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Let me add that in the past we've always had a pre-weigh in and lambs were checked then (though none have ever been rejected that I'm aware). We were just informed a week ago that there will be no pre-weigh in this year, so these kids will have raised this lamb all way to fair before they are ever checked.

redroperPosted 04/25/13 03:43PM Send a private email to redroper. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I think that someone needs to be educated that tail length is only one possible cause for prolapse. Genetics plays a very large role as is shown by the link below of a Katahdin (I believe) with a full tail and a prolapse.


or this one:

Both of these sheep seem to have "liftable" docks to me.

Don't let them site the (very) old Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin research from the '70's that was abandoned in the 2nd year, when the long dock lambs prolapsed.

mmPosted 04/25/13 03:58PM Send a private email to mm. Changed 04/25/13 04:00PM
"To qualify for exhibit market lambs must be docked such that the tail (dock) is healed and can be lifted from the exterior. Lambs having no dock will not be eligible." IS THE STATE RULE. "The optimum tail will be long enough to have the tail webbing still attached to the tail." IS NOT PART OF THE STATE RULE! They do not need to have tail webbing attached to be liftable. This issue more than anything else really irritates me. You need to fight this because whether or not a tail is liftable is totally subjective. If they are going to follow the state rules they need to follow them, not add their own interpretation.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 04:07PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 04/25/13 04:07PM
That's how I'm feeling. The whole problem with this rule is that it is so ambiguous. What does "lifted from the exterior" mean? I had one buyer tell me that for their fair the tail has to have some vertical movement. I get that and it actually makes the "lifted" make sense. Either there's enough joint that the tail can move up and down or there isn't. I have a call into this person, but they are apparently out of the office until Monday now. I want to know WHO will be doing the checking, HOW they will be checking, and exactly WHAT they will be looking for. I also want to know who this vet is.

This rule, while well intentioned I'm sure, misses the point. I was at another fair a couple years ago and this lamb is prolapsing in the ring. But its dock was long enough so it was allowed to show. Uh, doesn't that miss the point entirely?

BascolocoPosted 04/25/13 04:19PM Send a private email to Bascoloco. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Ditto what mm said so well. It would seem to me the state rule should be applied in the same way it is interpreted and applied at State Fair.

I would ask if the fair is prepared for the potential liability they face deviating from the state rules as their letter indicates particularly with a subjective (rather than quantifiable) rule.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 04:35PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
How specifically is the rule applied at State Fair? I've never been.

BascolocoPosted 04/25/13 04:47PM Send a private email to Bascoloco. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I have not seen any dq'd and the tails are pretty short. Definitely no caudal fold.

I think your fair should use state fair as a resource and ask for more information.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 05:01PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Great idea. I will recommend this. I'm not crying foul play or politics here. As far as I've seen, "politics" has never been an issue at our fair and everyone really gets along pretty darn well compared to what I hear of a lot of other fairs. I think it's more an issue of some unrelated party (i.e. the vet) brought it up so they're trying to cover their bases. Still, I'm afraid they may be making a mountain out of a mole hill here, which isn't what they want or need right now with their shortage of both money and staff.

slomomPosted 04/25/13 05:49PM Send a private email to slomom. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Ems...On page 1 of 2013 State Rules for California Fairs, it states PREFACE 3. These rules cannot be waived or amended by anyone, including the fair board, management or judge. PREFACE 7. Fairs may create "Local Rules" that may be stricter than State Rules but that may not circumvent the State Rules.

MM's family and mine both exhibit at the same fair where this was an issue a few years back. I completely agree with her statement above. If a fair is going to implement a new rule of any sort that effects how breeder's of any species manage their herd, it should be done in a timely enough manner so breeders can accommodate a percentage of their offspring for sale.

My issue with the way the State Rule is worded, it that there is too much room for interpretation. When we hear someone refer to "lifting", we automatically think with their hands. The vet that performed the dock inspection that year, used a pencil.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 06:21PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Okay, just got off the phone with the person who sent the email and will likely be enforcing the rule at the fair. She said she included the "web" comment to guarantee that a kid's lamb won't prolapse (which I informed her would NOT at all guarantee that a lamb will not prolapse). But then she continued that she realized that it's almost impossible to find a show lamb with a dock that long and all she wanted was to be able put her hand back there and "hook some form of tail." So sounds She then showed me some pictures of what she thought, without touching the lambs, would be acceptable. They all looked reasonable to me.

BascolocoPosted 04/25/13 06:53PM Send a private email to Bascoloco. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Sounds like a positive outcome (or at least as positive as possible). While perhaps not exactly a fan of the current rule, I do not argue with it as written, because I believe any changes would be very much in the wrong direction. I won't write much more, but if anyone is so inclined I would be happy to discuss via email.

SouthHampShowmanPosted 04/25/13 07:49PM Send a private email to SouthHampShowman. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
the club docks always look better and it helps enhance or clean up the levelness of hip structure. at our fairs we have a document that says things about how they can not disqualify a lamb or use the excuse, " I could have places this lamb higher is its dock was shorter...". I like the rule even though it doesnt apply to me. it makes it equal, and by the way this is for a 4-h fair.

karinfish11Posted 04/25/13 08:33PM Send a private email to karinfish11. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
As a means of reinforcement, I would her pictures of the California State Fair champions and bring them to the scale at fair time to show the length of tail accepted by the California state fair officials as I seriously doubt you will have any lambs presented that have shorter tails that those in the winner pictures. In fact you could send her several years of pictures. I would also remind her that if the idea is to protect the lamb from rectal prolaspe as long as no short docked lambs are prolapsing at fair time then what would be the point to dismiss other than taking a pointless punitive action against a project member. Perhaps they might have had a point to protect the poor showman at a pre-weigh in but at fair time and no prolapse hummm isn't the argument a moot point?

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/25/13 08:58PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
That's a pretty good point, Karin. It is rather a moot point to prevent rectal prolapse if they're good at the fair. I'm kind of in agreement with Bascoloco, that the rule is written and I'm not up for taking on getting that changed. I just don't want to see it interpreted as longer than what is typical in the rest of the state. Doesn't sound like that's going to be the case. If they get to where they're wanting longer, I will fight it, but I don't think that's the case here. She's being thoughtful and reasonable about it. That email sure had me worried though!

sheliaPosted 04/25/13 11:38PM Send a private email to shelia. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I remember one year our lamb had a little red opening and the state vet had our son tie him to the fence and her words were " if that lamb even makes a sound and that pops out, your outta here, you know the problem of this, too short of a docked tail."! Well the lamb didn't make a sound, he stood there for almost five min. We told her that the lamb never had prolapsed, he just has a red area around his anal ever since he was born. So he got to show and took a second place in a very competive class, red hole and all. .

JakerichardsonPosted 04/26/13 12:11AM Send a private email to Jakerichardson. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I think they made the rule to give the more commercial type lambs a chance. A friend of mine bought two ellerbrock ewe lambs last year with the shortest docks I have ever seen and they both lamb without assistance and had zero sighns of a prolapse. It's all genetics.

tripjsheepPosted 04/26/13 12:37AM Send a private email to tripjsheep. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I think most will use a #2 pencil to "lift" a tail. We had this rule and I actually was sifted from one show for a dock too short and I came completely unglued on the vet when he let 3 other lambs docked shorter then mine in the show. It is a poor rule considering that the dock doesn't have much to do with prolapse. As someone who actually kills these sheep there are much bigger concerns then the dock.

sweetmtn1Posted 04/26/13 01:33AM Send a private email to sweetmtn1. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
EMS..just a question on a statement they gave you..so they are nto having any pre-weigh ins...so in essance you do not have to have any type of gain requirement? Like many of the CA fairs, it requires them to have an ADG of .4 pound and some make it they must gain 20%. So your kids in your county can get a big lamb and hold it?

bigiron59Posted 04/26/13 08:28AM Send a private email to bigiron59. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
sweet mountain, that has been the impression that I get from a lot. Our fair has disposed of rate of gain, but imposed a max validation weight of 100 lbs. tag in is about 75 days before fair. With quest for a "more moderate package, with mature muscle shape" has come the lack of performance and so shows adapt. The trend will change ,and something esle will then become a problem.
Our committee was recomending no verification, just "random cks" with no performance requirements. The "no verification" will proably never happen here, as we always have issues with lamb location, ownership deadline, and any other possible problem you have could think of .And State lambs Have to be verified, so they can bring all the county lambs along as well.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/26/13 10:07AM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
No weigh in, no validation. Leaders are being given tags to put in the lambs. There is still the 60 day ownership requirements and 4-H leaders are being trusted to enforce this. So yes, kids can get a bigger lamb and hold it this year. Our fair has gone back and forth with this over the years.

20 years ago when I showed (has it really been that long?!), we had the pre-weigh in with a showmanship jackpot at the same time, but never required a minimum rate of gain. Then they quit that because apparently it was illegal for 4-H to hold a jackpot because it was gambling? So they went to what we're doing this year, just giving leaders the tags and working on the honor system. Then probably 7 years ago or so they re-introduced the pre-weigh in with the .4 lb per day rate of gain requirement (but no jackpot).

As I hear about all the politics that go on at other shows, I'm sure this type of "honor system" they're going with won't work at a lot of shows, but our fair is relatively small and I think I think it will work fine.

SHADOWRANPosted 04/26/13 05:46PM Send a private email to SHADOWRAN. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Karen I tired to bring something up that Ca state fair does and I was told several times that state fair doesn't follow the rules, I questioed breeds shows, docking, etc... I was blown away. This is from livestock chairs that have been in the fair business for 20 plus years.


sweetmtn1Posted 04/27/13 06:18PM Send a private email to sweetmtn1. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
EMS..I have found even in small county fairs..there is ALWAYS a few if not at least one family that will try to "win at any cost", it is those like that that discourage other kids. Even at our fair we have some..sad really

WisconsinsheepPosted 04/27/13 07:51PM Send a private email to Wisconsinsheep. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I like the idea of a .4 rate of gain requirement. But these stupid tail requirements are getting out of hand. They are based on bad research from the 70's and are usually enforced by a vet with a bad attitude and all the power to say yes or no to some poor little kids project.

oregonclublambshowmaPosted 04/28/13 03:19PM Send a private email to oregonclublambshowma. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I know a girl that raises commercial suffolks. Her sheep have HUGE tails, and she has about 12 out of her 50 ewes prolapse every year. She also keeps the ewe lambs from the prolapsers. I think it is purely genetics.

ewemama1Posted 04/29/13 01:42AM Send a private email to ewemama1. Changed 04/29/13 03:50PM
Bailey - in that case it probably is genetics but many times it has nothing to do with genetics - feeding, ramping, environment, stress - they all play a very important part.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/29/13 12:18PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I agree, ewemama1, I'm not convinced that dock length has NOTHING to do with it, but it's obviously only one of a variety of contributing factors. Compared to coughing, feeding and genetics, dock length is a very, very minor factor.

sweetmtn1Posted 04/29/13 02:22PM Send a private email to sweetmtn1. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I might suggest if you feel your fair MAY be harder on your lambs you sell to the kids..see if you can have your local vet certify the tail length before you sell them. I did that one year to kids that bought lambs from me as their fair was going to be critical as well... So I had my vet come and check each lamb and give a written statement for each lamb so the kids had that with their sales receipt.


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