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Ram MOT and Fertility

Examination of the Breeding Ram

Sperm production typically takes 6-10 weeks. It is important to test rams early to identify problems which could impact the rams performance and ultimately the, lambing season. Up to 30% of rams may be sub-fertile so it is vital to test rams especially if they are young and have not worked.

The physical examination is carried out by your vet who will also take semen samples. It is important to examine rams from teeth to toes to testicles as any pain or inflammation can affect sperm production.

Did you know a ram can lose up to a whole body condition score throughout the breeding season. Ideally rams should be BCS 3.5-4/5 at the start of tupping. Rams that are too fat or too thin will have trouble serving ewes, decreased libido or become sub-fertile.

Semen samples can give more information about the quality of the semen produced and indicate any abnormalities.

A fit ram can serve around 80 ewes in a 21 day period so knowing which rams are fit can give enough time for problems to be corrected and purchase replacements if necessary. Rams are typically run with the ewes in two 17 days cycles.

A ram that is both fertile and in good health for mating will:

  • Last longer in the flock saving on replacement costs
  • Get more ewes in lamb so fewer are lost as barren
  • Get ewes in lamb faster giving a tighter lambing period
  • Give you more lambs on the ground so a more profitable season
  • Possibly have a tighter lambing period

Teaser Rams

Teaser rams should also be fit and healthy but not fertile! They provide a useful purpose to tighten the lambing period and should be introduced two weeks before the breeding rams. Vasectomies should be performed at least 8 weeks before being put with the ewes.

Ideally all teasers and rams should be kept one mile from the ewes. This allows for a tighter lambing period – out of sight, sound and smell!

For more information please call the practice on 01872 225599 

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