Good quality rams are essential for achieving top lambing percentages. Quality terminal sires are best bought from a ram breeder that is achieving excellent results in lambing percentage, weaning weights and finishing weights. Rams used to breed replacement hoggets should be sourced from a reputable breeder that is breeding rams with qualities you are aiming to improve in your ewe flock.
You may wish to consider traits such as lambing percentage, low dag scores, low faecal egg counts, or resistance to specific diseases like facial eczema.
Once you have invested in high-quality rams you need to consider how to keep them in the best health possible to achieve successful mating. This includes maintaining rams in good body condition (not overfat or underweight), shearing or crutching to ensure the scrotum is free from excessive wool cover, no lameness and no other diseases such as pneumonia or facial eczema.
Semen takes 60 days to mature and illness, injury or poor condition in the months leading up to and during the mating period can seriously affect the fertility of your rams. We offer testicular palpation to screen rams for injury, physical defects and the disease Brucellosis prior to tupping.
Brucellosis is a bacterial infection caused by Brucella ovis. This disease results in abscesses forming in the lower, storage part of the testicles leading to infertility. Often these abscesses can be palpated but early in the disease process, they may be too small to feel so a blood test may be required to confirm rams are not infected.
Any rams with testicular abnormalities should be blood tested but it is a good idea to blood sample a few rams every year to reduce the risk of Brucellosis spreading through your ram flock unnoticed. Brucellosis is highly contagious, so new rams should be kept separate until the ram team is cleared.
Teasers are vasectomised rams used to synchronise ewes for a condensed lambing, help start cycling activity and increase the number of multiple lambs. This is achieved through a process known as the ‘Ram Effect’.
The smell and sight of a teaser ram for the first time, a few weeks prior to mating, causes ewes to start cycling. When a mob of ewes is exposed to a teaser ram for the first time together they start their cycling activity together, and so they are synchronised for their next cycle when tupping starts.
Also, because ewes have had their first heat while with the teaser they are more likely to conceive multiples at tupping. Using teaser rams needs to be very accurately timed or you may not gain all the benefits, you could even have a negative effect on mating outcomes. It is best to contact your Franklin Vets Team to discuss when teaser rams should be used on your farm.
Teaser rams should be vasectomised at least 2 months before they are used to make sure they no longer have fertile semen. Surgery takes about 20 min and can be scheduled for when you have the rest of the ram team palpated.