Preparation for lambing starts way back before tupping. Pragmatic action & strategic veterinary input in the months before tupping can optimise breeding and therefore have significant impact on your scanning percentage, lambing percentage, lambing window and much more!
A full clinical examination of your rams will be undertaken to identify any abnormalities that may reduce fertility. Using the systematic AHDB 5 T’s of Tupping approach (toes, teeth, testicles, tone and treat) we can pick out any changes or conditions that may make him unwilling, or unable to mate.
These are normally obtained by electro-ejaculation. The sample will then be examined under the microscope for motility, density and signs of abnormality in the individual spermatozoa. However, not all rams will respond to this technique and therefore a negative result is not always indicative of infertility.
Pre-tupping it’s also important to consider if you want to manipulate the breeding cycle of your ewes at all, either to tighten your lambing window, or to alter the timing of lambing. Our team can perform vasectomies (either in house, or on your farm) to create teaser rams, or we can advise you on using CIDR-ovis (a progesterone releasing devise) that can tighten oestrus for natural service or fixed time AI.
Pre-tupping we can take trace element blood samples to assess any deficiencies in your ewes which may affect foetal growth (influencing birth weights & lamb survival), as well as undertake an assessment of ewe body condition score to ensure maximum fertility and conception.
Sheep abortion can be due a number of different factors, however, the two most common are Chlamydophila abortus (Enzootic Abortion of Ewes) and Toxoplasma gondii.
We can vaccinate against these two infectious agents, and vaccination needs to be done a minimum of 4 weeks before tupping begins; so combing vaccination with your pre-tupping checks can make management easier. We can also offer blood testing (often this is subsidised or free in the Spring/Summer) to check if any barren or aborted ewes have been exposed to C.abortus or T.gondii, to help inform vaccination decisions.
With both vaccines lasting multiple years, after vaccinating your whole flock in year 1 you can usually then progress to only vaccinating bought in ewes and replacements in future years
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