Tup Testing – Ram Pre-Breeding Examinations (PBE)

Farm vet Bobbie explains tup testing, what’s involved and what a ram pre-breeding examination (PBE) entails. Could it benefit your flock?

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Failure to ensure your ram(s) are fertile in advance of the mating season could result in poor or sub-optimal scanning percentages and/or a prolonged lambing window. Ultimately, this will have a negative effect on flock profitability for the season, and delay improvement of genetics. The latest data in the UK suggests that between 20 and 30% of rams are sub-fertile.
Scanning percentage benchmarks for UK flocks:

• Scanning % (lowland sheep) – 175 to 195%
• Scanning % (upland sheep) – 150 to 175%
• Scanning % (hill sheep) – 100 to 135%
• Barren – <2% (regardless of system)

What is included in a Ram PBE?

  1. The usual 5 steps of the ‘Ram MOT’ (Teeth, Testicles, Toes, Tone, Treatment)
  2. A general clinical exam and a specifi c exam of the reproductive tract.
  3. Semen collection and analysis (via electroejaculation). This part of the exam is reserved for tups where any of the following apply:

a) sub-fertility is suspected
b) the tup is unproven (a recent purchase)
c) synchronisation protocols are being implemented in the ewes (CIDR ovis or teasers)
d) single sire mating groups or where there are high numbers of ewes.

How much will it cost?

A full Ram Pre Breeding Exam costs £60 (ex. VAT, correct July 2021) including the 5 step MOT, clinical exam, semen collection and analysis.
If you only require the 5 step ‘MOT’ this is billed on a time basis. This can be done at your farm, or at our Markeaton Lane practice.

When should it be done?

It takes ~60 days for a tup to produce new sperm and return to normal sperm production after a period of stress (disease, lameness etc.). Therefore, it is important that a PBE is carried out ~ 8 weeks in advance of the planned tupping window. This also allows time for the correction of body condition score, retesting any tups that fail the initial PBE and to source replacements if required.

And don’t forget Flock Health Club members receive 10% off ram PBEs & MOTs

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