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Author Topic: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?  (Read 2527 times)

Birchlea

  • Joined Jul 2016
  • East Sussex
Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« on: December 16, 2016, 07:43:01 pm »
Hi and sorry for the schoolboy question but we are new to keeping sheep. We have had varying advice regarding separating our ram from the ewes.
He's in with them now to hopefully do his job. He was late arriving and has only been in with them for a week. We only have three acres so would prefer to leave him in the flock as long as possible. Is this ok?
He has two mature ewes to cover but there are two of this years ewe lambs in with them. Will they become fertile and receptive this year?
Any advice or tips would be very gratefully received as we know next to nothing but are keen!
Thanks.
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clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 07:53:07 pm »
we leave our boy in until 6 weeks prior to lambing when we start feeding the ewes
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 08:25:54 pm »
there are two of this years ewe lambs in with them. Will they become fertile and receptive this year?

Yes, quite probably! (Was it your intention to breed from them this year, or not?).  Our boy has given up on his now hopefully pregnant ladies, and spends all his time flirting through the fence with the ewe lambs instead. They're most definitely egging him on too!

Have you raddled your boy so you can record what dates the girls have been served? We've found that really useful in the past, and last year all of ours lambed within a couple of days of their predicted dates.

One reason to separate the tup after a time is so you have a definite end date for lambing. If you leave him in all winter, and the girls (particularly the ewe lambs) don't give birth when expected, you won't know if they're going to lamb later or if they're not pregnant at all. As a first timer, I'd suggest you probably don't need that stress?


HTH!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016, 01:06:37 am »
I would take the ewe lambs out pronto.  Soay lambs take a long time to mature, which means that if they do get in lamb then they are far from fully grown, and growing and rearing their own lambs could be too much for them and affect their long term health.
Your ram will be the problem - again, I would take him out and let the ewe lambs back in after a month.  It will stress the ewe lambs to be away from the flock, so the sooner they return the better.  They also learn about lambs and motherhood from watching the ewes give birth.  The reason the tup will be the problem is that you can't keep him completely on his own, unless he's only a fence away from the flock.  Soay rams jump, amazingly high, so unless you add taller posts to your fencing and add another roll of mesh above the existing one (to give a 2m high fence) there is always the risk he will jump back in.
Our Soay rams were awful when left in with the ewes at lambing - they pawed and butted at the ewes when they were on the ground trying to deliver, so the ewes had to get up, not ideal during delivery when they need to push and proceed with labour.  Now we never leave male sheep (including wethers - they're just as bad) in with the ewes long term.


A possibility would be to board out your tup with another sheep keeper who has a tup or a bunch of tups, and room to keep them separately from the ewes.  Soay tups can be really aggressive towards other tups, so big fluffy, hornless companions would be best - the Soay would bounce off  ;D
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 01:10:45 am by Fleecewife »
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kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 11:34:38 am »
Have to say my experience of ram and or wethers in with the ewes at lambing time varies.

Have had some excellent rams and currently have the most brilliant wether in with the ewes ( he was used previously so does know about ladies) even so  he is attentive to threats to the flock  but leaves the ewes and lambs well alone; On the other hand have had similar experience to others with a ram who became very excited at the ewe attempting to give birth and made himself a real nuisance.  Only way to know is to leave him in but if you have alternatives maybe better not to risk it.
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in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 07:07:24 pm »
We found the same to be true, as Fleecewife. Tups or wethers were equally as bad. They wouldn't leave the ewes alone from a few days before lambing. They chased relentlessly and would have made lambing impossible. They seemed to scent a change in the ewes about a week before lambing  was about to start. I would never leave them in now. Not worth the risk.

We didn't put our ewe lambs to the tup. They may well conceive so probably best to remove from tup straight away. Much better to put them in the second year when better grown.

Birchlea

  • Joined Jul 2016
  • East Sussex
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2017, 09:15:34 pm »
Many thanks for the tips.
I guess we should take him out ASAP to prevent him bothering them during lambing. As for the ewe lambs the ram has had unlimited access to then since November so we may have problems if they produce especially as one of them is still very small.
Oh well, I guess that's how you learn! I just hope the sheep don't suffer in any way.
If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of food!

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 04:09:20 pm »
Quite a few commercial flocks put ewe lambs to the tup but they keep breeds that mature much quicker than the Soay.  Slow-maturing breeds pushed too hard too young will be much more likely to have lambing problems and poor milk yield as well as fail to achieve optimum size or health.

Birchlea

  • Joined Jul 2016
  • East Sussex
Re: Separating our Soay ram. Do we need to?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 08:49:49 pm »
Thanks all. The tip and the wether are together away from the ewes now and the first lamb has appeared. Neither of them appreciated being out of the flock but I guess they will settle as confinement draws on! At least they are together rather than alone.
If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of food!

 

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