Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: TWO TUPS ! Do we put them both in together or one after the other ?? Newbies  (Read 5361 times)


  • Joined Sep 2011
Hi - been looking at the forum for ages but now need specific advice !

We have two a ram lamb and the other a shearling. :sheep:

Do we raddle the ram lamb and run his for a few weeks; then swop over or do we run both tups at once with different coloured raddle ??

My thinking is that we put the ram lamb in for a few weeks with one batch of ewes.  Then take him out and put the shearling with ALL of the ewes on the basis that any that have taken with the ram lamb wouldn't accept the shearling ram and we stand a better chance of getting a high percentage of our ewes pregnant. We will be using 10 or 11 ewes of different ages.

As part of our flock is pedigree knowing who "DAD" is is more important than compact lambing although achieving both would be good !

Look forward to your comments and advice !   :wave:


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
To achieve knowing who the dad is and compact lambing, run both tups the other side of a stock fence feom the flock for the three weeks before you want to put them in. Then using different coloured raddle on each, put both in and leave for two cycles, changing each tup's raddle colour for the second cycle. Hopefully one or other will catch each ewe in her first cycle. And you'll know who by the colour.

Every other year I use a tup lamb and I've never had ewes who didn't accept him. I help him out by clipping the wool around the tails but then ours are particulary heavy-fleeced.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
What happens if a ewe is served by both tups at the same time?  For our pedigree flock we run 5 or 6 separate groups of ewes each with one tup.  We have never had an infertile tup, although one year we had borrowed a texel lamb who the ewes refused to accept - very colour prejudiced - so after a few weeks we swapped him for another.  So if it was me I would divide the group into two halves, and run one tup with each half, in separate paddocks.  If you feel there might be an infertility problem then after a full 3 weeks swap the tups around, using different coloured raddles (we don't use raddle as our tups are black, so we are just observant  ;))

Your idea would work too but I suppose it depends on whose genes you are most keen to have in your lambs.  By using two tups each on half the flock, once those daughters come up to tupping age, you can swap tups without inbreeding - provided your tups are unrelated  :sheep: :sheep:  Also if it was my tups, the one left out would simply find a way to jump in with the ewes while your back was turned  ;D
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  • Joined Jul 2011
One tup is plenty for 11 ewes.  If you are worried about their fertility then you should put one in for 17 days then change it for the other one.

I tup my ewes at a ratio of 1 tup to 50 ewes.

In my experience a raddle is not sufficient to know who the father is, because the mark might not be very good, and if you use a harness they can and do fall off, or the crayon can fall off (had plenty of that last year with faulty harnesses).  For pedigree breeding you should be using one tup for the season with one lot of ewes otherwise how will you know for sure who the father is.

As for which tup, well which is the best one?


  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
On a practical note I would be very reluctant to use a harness on a ram lamb because of the risk of rubbing.  I hate the idea of putting a youngster off his work because he is uncomfortable.

So far as your breeding plans are concerned what are you aiming to achieve?  I would take a long hard look at the bloodlines in each of the tups, a very critical look at the ewes and try and assess the strengths and weaknesses in them all.  While you don't need to use two tups on 11 ewes you might want to split them into two groups in order to try and achieve a particular end.  Do you have a ewe who is perhaps unrelated to the rest and of sufficient quality that you might be hoping for a ram lamb to use in the future perhaps?  Is there a particular characteristic that you want to improve that one of the tups demonstrates strongly?

If you are going to have a meaningful breeding plan then it really is essential that you know exactly who the sires of your sheep are.  Pedigree breeding is really a case of constant reassessment (in fact any breeding is) and that requires you know who is who and what the strengths and weaknesses of the various bloodlines are.  That won't guarantee success but it will help cut down a little on the disappointments.  It means that you might spend hours going through flock books but in the long run it will be time well spent.


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self
If you want to be sure of knowing the parentage, you have to run them in seperate groups.

Agree, don't use a harness on a ram lamb - just smear raddle paste on his chest.
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  • Joined Jun 2008
    • golocal food
    • Facebook
I wouldn't use a ram lamb first for more than 20 ewes... the strain may spoil him in later years. with our flock of 60 ewes IF we used a ram lamb we would use him as a chaser after the old man had been once through


  • Joined Sep 2011
Thanks for all your advice.  For information we have the two tups running each with half a dozen ewes and will leave them there for a good six weeks and not swop them over so as you say we are sure we know who the father is !  Also should mean lambing is reasonably compact !

We are also trying raddle paste - yellow seems to show up on the black fleeces !! :sheep: :&> :wave:


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Raddles an issue with our coloured Ryelands as well. Like you, we found yellow worked, and green later when we changed it.


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