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Paddywhack (also spelt Paddywack) or Nuchal ligament (Latin: Ligamentum nuchae), is a strong elastic ligament in the midline of the neck of sheep or cattle which relieves the animal of the weight of its head. It is pale yellow in colour. (The yellow colour is the elastin on the ligaments.) The name is derived from the corruption of paxwax (originally faxwax Old English hair + to grow).

The nuchal ligament is unusual in being a ligament with an elastic component, allowing for stretch. Most ligaments are mostly made of highly aligned collagen fibres which do not permit stretching.


It is eaten in several countries. It is high in protein (78%) and also contains fat (10%), crude fibre (0.7%), and crude ash (1%). The meat is taken from domestic cattle, the bison, African buffalo, the water buffalo, the yak, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes.[citation needed]

Dried paddywhack is commonly packaged and sold as a dog treat.

In popular culture[edit]

It is referred to in the children's nursery rhyme This Old Man, in reference to the fact that the old man is playing the bones; sheep bones.

See also[edit]