Ram Preparation

Sheep Connect SA

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

There is much to consider before sending the rams out for mating - in summer, heat stress is a major factor.  A ram who has suffered heat stress before joining could successfully serve ewes with the stored mature sperm (eg 2 to 3 weeks) then there will be a 7 week delay before new viable sperm is produced.


This webpage is presented by Sheep Connect SA and looks at Ram Health  

It discusses the fact that good ram preparation leading up to joining is essential to ensure that ewes have the best chance to achieve optimum conception rates, and a tight joining and lambing period.

To increase lambing percentages you first need to ensure you are providing the best opportunities to conceive.

The key points covered are:

  • A regular check on the ram’s 5T’s (torso, teeth, toes, testes and tossle) in ascertaining its lameness, flystrike, fighting injuries, and body condition score is a vital method in ram preparation. This check can increase the conception rates.
  • The accessibility and adequacy of shade, cool water, and good quality feed for the ram because the nutrition-level affects testicle size and sperm production
  • Maintaining a 3.5 body condition score 2 months before they mate is critically required because if unattainable, it may cause further disasters
  • The ram’s teeth must be in a good shape so that it can sufficiently intake feed
  • Poor hoof shape or abcess may reduce the ram’s ability to serve the ewe
  • The epididymis tail of the testes should be large and firm and of uniform size, not hard and disease-free,
  • Rams must be healthily well-fed and sexually rested
  • Palpation of the tail of the epididymis and its size specifies the level of sperm production
  • Checking the ram’s tossle for damage is also necessary because damage may reduce productivity
  • Environmental factors such as the hot weather can accumulate heat stress to the ram that diminishes the sperm production and may lead to temporary infertility

Final comment

To increase lambing percentages you first need to ensure you are providing the best opportunities to conceive, so good ewe management is also essential.

2017 - Australia - Sheep Connect SA
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