SERIOUS RAMIFICATIONS IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN FOR THE BREEDING SEASON!November 17, 2015
We share our ‘Tup Tips’ and special offers for a successful breeding season!
Earlier this year research by the National Fallen Stock Company revealed an alarming 44% increase in lamb losses in 2015. Cited as a result of low ewe condition scores, poor preparation during the breeding season is almost certainly to blame.
In addition, as the Scottish agricultural industry continues to battle circumstances outwith its control such as falling farmgate prices, plummeting milk prices and a £20 per head decline in livestock yield, the need for a lucrative lambing season has never been so crucial.
Fortunately we stock everything you need to stop you going baaaarmy, plus some handy ‘tup tips’ and deals from our Animal Health team to help you along the way!
A successful lambing season starts six months prior and if you fail to prepare for tupping, you could pay a hefty price!
CHECK YOUR TUP’S IN SHEEP SHAPE
At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s imperative that tups must be in tip top condition! Prior to tupping, checking of feet, teeth and testicles is essential. Ideally you should have a year round foot bathing programme in place but, as the tup covers a lot of ground during the mating season, an additional foot check is advisable!
Our 100 litre sheep footbaths and super solutions such as Golden Hoof Plus or Provita Hoofsure Endurance are excellent for maintaining healthy hooves. If footrot or similar condition is prevalent, copper sulphate based products such as Cheviot’s Hoof Paste will help combat the disease. We also recommend Nettex antibacterial spray and Footvax vaccine.
EWE MUST ABIDE BY CONDITION SCORES
Successful tupping is, of course, also dependent on healthy ewes and Lowland ewes must have a condition score of 3.0-3.5 at tupping time. To ensure optimum condition score, move your ewes onto lush pastures in the weeks prior to tupping. If grass supply is poor, you can compensate by feeding concentrates. Increasing the plane of nutrition is called ‘flushing’ and it can help increase the number of lambs produced by encouraging the ewe’s body to release more eggs. Our Animal Health team advocate drenching ewes with Provita’s Mineral Sheep Drench which includes essential vitamins, cobalt and selenium.
About a month prior to introducing the tup it is important to test ewes for worms, particularly if they have recently weaned. Again, we stock an abundance of effective wormers and flukicides. This is also a good time to give your ewes a footbath, check their teeth and udders, and trim any excess wool from around the tail. At this stage it’s advisable to consider culling any persistently lame or broken mouthed sheep.
MAKE YOUR MARK WITH A MONITORING PROGRAM
Once tupping has commenced, several marking products, (e.g. crayons or harnesses) should be used to keep track of your tup. This not only monitors the tup’s success but also can help predict the lambing date of cycling ewes.
To monitor tupping effectively, change the colour of the crayon after each 17 day period. If there is no sign of marking within a few days, or if a significant number of ewes marked in the first 17 days are marked again in the second cycle, then your tup may be infertile.
From footbaths, hoof solutions, minerals and vaccines to wormers, crayons and harnesses, one call or email to our Animal Health team will help you prepare for a hassle free breeding season. Remember, you ‘herd’ it here first!
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