Preparing For Tupping

It may seem like you have only just gotten lambing 2020 out of the way, but now is the time to be thinking about getting ready for the 2021 season and prepping your tup so that he is in fine working order to get your ewes in lamb.

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We share the importance of preparing for tupping. A few things to remember that must be completed before tupping time are as follows;

Vaccines

If you use any of the abortion preventative vaccines then these should be given to all eligible animals before tupping time.

Both available Enzootic Abortion vaccines (Enzovax and CEVAC Chlamydia) require administering between 4 months and 4 weeks pre-tupping. The toxoplasmosis vaccine (Toxovax) requires administration between 4 months and 3 weeks pre-tupping.

Check The Tup’s Feet

If the tup’s feet are not good he is going to struggle to serve the ewes you want him to. Ideally check his feet at least 4 weeks before he is required -– this should allow any problems you may find to resolve by the time he is needed.

Check The Tup’s Testicles

Are they evenly sized? Are there any lumps or bumps? Is there any heat or swelling? All of these could indicate an issue with the tup’s sperm production and he could be sub fertile/infertile. Again, this check should be done at least 6 weeks before you want to use him, and again in the few weeks before use if any abnormalities were found on the first examination. 6 weeks is roughly how long sperm production takes, so if there are any issues 6 weeks before use they may resolve and allow him to be fertile by the time he is needed (or it gives you time to source an alternative tup!). If you suspect any abnormalities, contact your vet.

Check The Body Condition Scores (BCS) Of Your Ewes and Tups

If sheep are too skinny or are over fat they may struggle to get in lamb. Ideally to maximise your lambing percentage, ewes should be on a rising plane of nutrition before and at service (without being too fat!).

More advice on appropriate BCSs for sheep can be found on the AHDB Beef & Lamb website.

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