NCT For Rams
Breeding season is one of the most important times of the year for sheep farmers. So farmers should make sure the ewes and especially the ram is in prime condition for this. Below are the 5 ‘T”s you should check on your ram.
Carry out the check 10 weeks in advance of breeding as this will give you enough time to get your rams in proper condition.
The animal’s health and well-being are closely related to its teeth. The older a sheep gets, the more teeth are lost. A ram is in its prime when it’s between the ages of 2 and 4 years. After this, they will begin to lose teeth.
- Avoid breeding rams with overshot and undershot jaws.
- Incisors should close firmly on a dental pad.
Tone and Torso
This includes an all-over body check, since poor body condition reduces fertility and performance. 15% of bodyweight can be lost during a six week breeding season so rams should have a body condition score of 3.5 to 4 at the start.
- Check eyes for infection or defects.
- Check for any fighting injuries, brisket sores, ulcers or lesions.
Good feet are vital to maintaining condition and working ability.
- Check for foot rot, scald, stiffness and infection or other foot problems and treat immediately and footbath to avoid problems later.
- Check joints for arthritis particularly in older rams.
Testicles And Sex Organs
- Sperm quality and quantity related to testicle size – large, firm testicles mean that less will be rams needed.
- Testicles should be firm, not soft or hard and free from lumps.
- Improve testicle size and condition by feeding a good quality protein for six to eight weeks.
- The epididymis is the sac at the base of the testicle which stores semen. It should be free of hard lumps and have a rubbery tone.
- The testicles should move freely in the scrotum – any restriction may indicate infection or injury.
- The scrotum should be heavy and soft.
- Needs to be clean with no signs of injury/infection
Now is the time to give your ram the once over before he goes to work. It is too late after you put the ram out to find out that he is not performing. This can have a disastrous effect on farm profit for the year. It can take very little for a ram not to be performing and if the above simple checks are carried out it can prevent this from happening and save a lot of stress to the farmer when he finds out that the ram has not being working to full capacity or not working at all.