This week we give you a checklist to help ensure the best results with the upcoming breeding season.
- With lambs well weaned and farmers working hard to help their animals prepare for the upcoming breeding season, we came up with a checklist to help with the preparation.Â
- Make sure and check all ewes mouthsâ, weaning time is the preferred time for this. Check Incisors and molars, this is vitally important, and any shep found with infection/disease or that are severely undershot should be culled from the herd.
- Udders of ewes should be thoroughly examined post weaning, and is very important in reducing lambing problems. Look for mastitis, cording in teats, or lumpy hard udders. To check for corded teats simply roll the teat between your fingers, should the canal feel hard this means a corded teat. Look out also for poor placement of teats, multiple teats and bigger than usual teats. It is advised to cull any ewes found with these problems.
- Ewes who have had previous birthing problems such as prolapse, c-section, barren ewes, or ring womb should be culled to prevent further problems.
- Ewes should be put through a foot bath once every 3-4 weeks as the mating season approaches.
- With regards the ram how he is treated in the run up is even more important. Like ewes, Ram feet and mouths should be checked for infections, disease and other signs of bad condition. Check the rams testicles for signs of infertility and bad health. It is preferred they are big in size, evenly sized, firm and free from lumps. Soft or swollen testicles are a sign that a ram should be culled from the herd. Protein should be introduced in the run up if a rams condition is not up to scratch. Keeping the rams temperature at normal levels is vital for maintaining fertility.
- When choosing replacement ewes or rams, choose wisely. Only choose breed which are suitable to you and your lands. For example cross breeding mountain ewes with Belclare rams would lead to an increased litter size. Although mountain ewes, as per the name, are best suited to mountainous areas. Texel rams make a better choice for mid season lambing, or Suffolk when looking for earlier lambing and faster growth rates.
- Most important of all, ensure your animals have the best quality grass possible. It is vital they gain sufficient weight daily, and there is nothing better than good grass to ensure this.