A ‘teaser’ is a ram that has been vasectomised (rendering him unable to impregnate ewes), but maintains his testosterone levels, driving his libido and physical mating ability. As a result the ‘ram effect’ naturally synchronises the ewes ready for your entire, fertile rams to be introduced.
Teaser rams are used to advance the breeding season by two to three weeks, and to tighten your lambing window.
I recommend using teasers at a 1:50 ratio (1:100 as the maximum), and then introducing your rams at a ratio between 1:20 and 1:30.
Ewes need to be kept away from any males (sight and sound) for a minimum of 28 days prior to introducing the teasers (6 weeks+ is ideal).
What makes a good teaser?
Whilst there is no hard and fast rule about which rams you can vasectomise, the following criteria are preferable:
- High Libido; teasers will have to work hard and do lots of chasing
- Fit and healthy; teasers will work harder than your normal rams
- Legs; sound on their legs, with no lameness or history of joint ill
- Good teeth; an indicator of health and longevity
- Disease status: vaccinated + screened for Maedi Visna (or other diseases your flock is screened for)
- Shearling: to allow for multiple season’s use
If you intend to vasectomise a ram lamb, you should use him on experienced ewes.
If you purchase a vasectomised ram, or a ram to vasectomise ensure he goes through your quarantine and vaccination protocols.
Breeds such as Dorsets and Suffolks are ideal as they are early breeders, however, any breed can be used if their natural breeding season is taken into account.
When should you have a vasectomy done?
A vasectomy should be done 6 – 8 weeks prior to the intended introduction of the teaser ram. In this period the teaser ram should not run with any breeding ewes as he may still be partially fertile.
Where can the procedure be carried out?
Vasectomies can be carried out on your farm. Alternatively, you are more than welcome to arrange to bring them to the practice; either while you wait or you can leave them in the morning and come back to collect them later in the day.
What exactly happens in the procedure?
To vasectomise a ram we surgically remove a portion of the ductus deferens within the spermatic cord, preventing the passage of sperm from the testes to the penis. This is under local anaesthetic, and sometimes sedation depending on the patient. The two, small incision sites are then stitched closed (typically with dissolvable sutures that do not need to be removed). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication will be given at the time to reduce any swelling. Antibiotics may also be used.
And, don’t forget Flock Health Club members get 10% off any vasectomies!