Exciting news! Dechra now distributes Numnuts and NumOcaine, aligning with our product range dedicated to animal welfare. These solutions offer compassionate over-the-counter practical options for animal husbandry procedures and are readily available nationwide.

Our online store is now closed, however, click here to find out how to buy Numnuts products. Thank you for your continued support.

New Research Findings Support Numnuts for Tail Docking

Numnuts Significantly Lowers Pain Behaviours in Tail docked Lambs with Rubber Ring

CSIRO has just published research results showing that lambs tail docked with the Numnuts device experienced significantly less pain than ring-docked lambs.

The study, conducted in Mid Lothian, Scotland, included 30 Greyface x Texel ewe lambs. All aged from two to four weeks, they were divided up into three groups of 10. Each group was allocated a tail-docking procedure:

  • Ring only (Elastrator bands).
  • Ring with local anaesthetic (numOcaine) applied with a Numnuts device.
  • ‘Sham’, i.e. being placed in the cradle and handled, without being tail docked (this ensures that all lambs have the same degree of handling stress, so results aren’t skewed).

The lamb groups were videoed for three hours after the procedure and any abnormal behaviours relating to pain were noted. These included walking abnormally, lying down, rolling around, mis-mothering and being slow to suckle when returned to the flock. These behaviours were then totalled and analysed across the groups.

Numnuts for tail docking provides a bloodless alternative to the Gas Axe. It introduces a pre-operative anaesthetic in combination with the rubber ring and is safer for the operator. It has less burn and fire risk and removes the unpleasant noise and smell associated with a hot knife.

The Positive Findings Reported by CSIRO

In the article published in the scientific journal Animals, the CSIRO team report that:

  • In the first hour after tail docking, the ring-only lambs showed a significantly higher number of pain-related postures, particularly abnormal walking.
  • There was no difference in total counts (of pain related behaviours) between the lambs docked with Numnuts and the sham lambs, which were not docked at all.
  • The ring-only lambs displayed the highest totals for nearly every pain-related behaviour.

The full paper, part of a special issue on Pain Mitigation for Farmed Livestock, can be read here.

This comes as no surprise to the Numnuts team! The device has been heavily researched, with over 15,000 animals involved in trials in Europe and Australia. Every trial has shown dramatically reduced pain behaviours in lambs. 

Numnuts® for taildocking diagram. Numnuts delivers local anaesthetic in combination with an Elastrator rubber ring

Next, an Australia-wide Study!

Now CSIRO and the University of Melbourne are recruiting
participants for a study assessing farmers’ experience with Numnuts for tail docking across Australia.

We trust that it will produce even more scientific evidence of Numnuts’ effectiveness in pain reduction during lamb marking.

Commercial producers in NSW, TAS, VIC, SA and WA are invited to take part, using the device for tail docking in 60 of this year’s lambs. Technical support will be provided on the day, with $1000 funding to cover the costs of participation.

The study is funded by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

If you or a colleague are interested, please contact the CSIRO team for more details: 

Jim Lea: Jim.Lea@csiro.au, phone 0407 137 466
Alison Small: Alison.small@csiro.au

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