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Author Topic: Breeding queries  (Read 558 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Breeding queries
« on: October 07, 2019, 08:39:43 pm »
Our ram went in with the ewes on 23/9 but as yet we’ve seen no action. This is our first year and we have so much to learn. I read that when introduced the ewes will have a silent heat after 3-4 days which is non-detectable by the ram. Fertility peaks at 18 and 26 days later and then another heat cycle 17 days after that. So, is nothing happening because the ewes aren’t in heat? He sniffs their pee etc but that’s as far as it goes. They’re not trying to get his attention at all which I read is what should happen when they’re hot. This is my theory, that nothing will happen unless it’s the right time. Hubby’s thinking the ram’s a dud. So can anyone share their experiences? We don’t know what to do  ???
Also, do we need to be feeding them cake at all? We’ve slung them a bit of hay as they’ve been a bit loose but somewhere else I read said about feeding ewes extra up to a month before breeding! I know you feed more once their pregnant but how about during the actual mating (if it ever happens?)
Thanks as always for any help/advice. I feel like a real pain as I’m always posting on here!
Voss Electric Fence

crobertson

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 09:16:45 pm »
Hi, what breed are they? :)


twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2019, 09:25:25 pm »
Have you got a raddle on your ram? Either paste or harness. If I didn’t raddle my rams I’d be getting worried now as most of the tupping is done when I’m not in the field I.e overnight ! In fact 13 out of 16 of my ewes are now orange and my rams went in on 24 sept. Breed will have some say in when your ewes are cycling- hill ewes will start cycling a lot later than lowland. 


Feeding ewes pre mating is called flushing, this will help optimise how many eggs they shed at ovulation which hopefully increases lambing percentage. But it only works on ewes with a condition score less than 3.5 really. My ewes don’t have cake but do get an energy bucket a month before the rams go in until the rams come out, more so because as they move around the farm grazing after the cows sometimes the grass can be a little thin so this just fills a gap in energy levels if the grass is a bit thin on the ground. If your ewes have plenty of grass I’d just leave it at that.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2019, 11:22:15 pm »
As twizzel says, we rarely see our tups perform.  We don't raddle as ours are black.  We've been breeding sheep for a quarter of a century and have only had two empty ewes after 6 weeks of tupping in all that time.  Ours are primitives so we don't put the tups in until Nov 5th - the ewes usually lamb about the middle two weeks of April. Two reasons for the tupping date - primitives don't usually start cycling until well into Oct; we don't usually have grass up here until April so no point lambing earlier.  We are not producing lambs for the meat market, so we stick to natural times.
I would say don't overthink it.  If you really don't think your ewes have been tupped, then after they have been in with the current tup for 6 weeks you could run a known fertile tup in with them for another month.
I would just stop watching him and putting him off and let him get on with it in his own time. He will know when that is.
If he is a lamb himself, then he might have some problems with the ewes accepting him at first, but an experienced tup will know just how to manage his ewes.
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bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 05:07:31 am »
Its been a funny year this year.. My rams went in with their ewes on sept 1st and so far, there are 3 or 4 ewes in each group unmarked. Its possible that the ewes have been served and the fleeces were damp and the crayon hasn't marked? One ram is new but the other has proven fertility.

If your ram is sniffing the ewes and they are ignorning him then I would say that aren't cycling. I think you have Balwen?? Which are a hill breed, so won't start cycling till later than lowland breeds

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 06:59:32 am »
In case it helps, our Zwartbles aren't cycling yet. I'd definitely raddle the tup though. You don't have to use a crayon - raddle powder mixed with margarine / veg oil and smeared on the tup's chest works just as well.


For reference, this is the kind of behaviour you're looking for!  :love:


« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 07:01:32 am by Womble »
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2019, 09:24:04 am »
I did say in your post ( is any one putting their rams out ) that nothing may happen for 10 -14 days  , put some raddle on the ram and stop watching ,it  will happen when all are ready . Ewes can be fairly regular so if she lambed say 1st april last year then she will lamb around that date this year , you can bring them forward  one cycle  fairly easily so lambing mar 15th but  to bring forward 2cycles can be hit or miss . If you have plenty of grass then they shouldn't need nuts or similar unless you are hand feeding a small amount to tame them

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2019, 02:22:02 pm »
Ah I know Shep, but everyone around us is saying their tups are going to it and I get worried about it working out, especially as he’s a touch on the soft side! Plus I wasn’t sure if tups normally went after ewes all the time, or whether they only mate at the “right” time. We wanted the Radnors to lamb before the Badgers but maybe with more research and planning we can look at that next time.

Anyway, would you believe, after posting this yesterday, we woke to an orange bum this morning!! Just the one but at least it’s a start  :fc:

Womble we saw this behaviour, however he was doing it with the Badgers on the other side of the fence!! Their tup will be arriving soon.

He has a raddle harness. Will definitely stop watching and worrying now and let them get on with it. Hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be monogamous  :roflanim:

When I read about flushing it said move them to new pasture which I’ve done. They also have access to mineral buckets and a zinc lick. So no need to feed them extra at the moment.

One last thing - when would you recommend changing crayon colour? I read two weeks but we know he hasn’t marked until today. So would you say two weeks from today?

Thanks for the replies as always.


bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 02:27:15 pm »

One last thing - when would you recommend changing crayon colour? I read two weeks but we know he hasn’t marked until today. So would you say two weeks from today?

Thanks for the replies as always.

I think changing the crayon colour depends on how you plan to manage them when they start to lamb. I don't change the colour as all of my ewes will be indoors together for lambing. If you change the colour it could mean that you can slpit the flock dependant on their colour.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 02:42:40 pm »
Changing the colour will show if any ewes are returning and highlight if there’s a fertility problem with the ram, so definitely change it! If you’re 100% sure he’s not tupped any till today then change it in 17 days time. That’s the average length of a ewes cycle.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 03:21:23 pm »
On a lighter note - sheep can and do mate through a sheep mesh fence  :hugsheep:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 05:43:54 pm »
On a lighter note - sheep can and do mate through a sheep mesh fence  :hugsheep:

 :o

If I get any funny looking Badger lambs I’ll know who to blame!! Mind you it is on a slope and he’d have to be very agile, which he’s not. He has an official society name but we also call him Ludo after that big shambling creature that was in the film Labyrinth!

Although we will lamb these guys indoors I want to change the colour for the reason Twizzel says. There was a ewe with a faint orange mark on her side we noticed about two days ago but there wasn’t anything around her back end, not like we had this morning. I figure if the ewe takes on the first go-round she won’t get coloured again as she won’t go into heat and give off the pheromones or whatever it is. Also should give me an idea of how long a lambing period we could deal with. It’s only eight of these though, so at least I can check if :fc: we get more coloured bottoms going forward who’s been busy on which date.
None of them have bred before so just relying on nature to guide the way!

PK

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • West Suffolk
    • Notes from a Suffolk Smallholding
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 06:47:25 pm »
Just to reinforce previous comments, last year we introduced a new ram. We didn’t witness a single act of copulation but all ten ewes were pregnant when we came to scan them. He obviously preferred to do it with the lights off. Raddle can take the guess work out of it.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2019, 08:40:28 pm »
My ewes have a large number sprayed onto their side, same as after lambing - so I can match bum markings to specific ewes and know exactly when each on is due. It makes it a lot easier if you are lambing in the field - and leave them to it most of the time.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Breeding queries
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2019, 07:52:22 am »
My ewes have a large number sprayed onto their side, same as after lambing - so I can match bum markings to specific ewes and know exactly when each on is due. It makes it a lot easier if you are lambing in the field - and leave them to it most of the time.

I do this too … though I lamb indoors … does mean I can separate into 2 groups feeding according to date .  most years it is very accurate... last year was just different!!
Linda

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