As summer comes to an end and Autumn looms ahead it's time to start thinking about the next sheep cycle. For many farmers, this may seem early to start thinking about tupping time but it takes 6-8 weeks for a ewe to change 1 body condition score. By preparing for tupping time by sorting through the ewes and the tups, and planning their management, grazing and handling over the next few months, a farm will become more productive.
Consult your vet for a thorough examination.
Keeping more productive ewes is vital to productivity and health so ensure you go through your ewes and cull out those less likely to be productive.
Body Condition Score (BCS) - lean ewes, cull those that were BCS 2 or less at weaning and have not gained 0.5 BCS in 4 weeks. Overfat ewes, BCS 4-5 at weaning may not have reared lambs last year, check records if available and cull if unproductive. Group ewes according to condition to enable appropriate feeding / grazing.
Udders – mastitis, cull ewes with hard and lumpy udders or current infections as they will not yield enough milk and will be a disease reservoir. Low or slack udders, or large teats – may cause problems for lambs suckling and increase the risk of mastitis.
Reproductive Problems – cull those which aborted or had ring womb or prolapse.
Teeth – teeth issues impact on condition and reduce the capability of ewes to rear lambs.
Feet – lameness should be investigated and treated, failure to respond to treatment should be culled, cases of footrot should be culled if treated more than twice in a year, cases of CODD should be kept away from other ewes until infection has healed and the ewe is no longer infectious.
Lambing Score/ Ease – cull if difficult lambing and do not keep their female lambs as replacements. Mothering ability – again cull if issues and do not keep female lambs as replacements.
Body Condition Score (BCS)
Segregate ewes into 3 groups, fat (BCS >3.5), fit (BCS 3.0-3.5) and thin (BCS 2.5 or less).
Identify pasture that will ensure ewes reach optimum score (3.0-3.5) by tupping.
To gain 1 BCS, ewes will need access to unrestricted high-quality grazing for 6-8 weeks.
Influenced by age, breed, stage of breeding season and nutrition/body condition. High protein supply increases ovulation rate. Prolonged under-nutrition can have long-term effects. Younger ewes have lower ovulation rates.
Proximity to rams stimulates ewes to cycle and ovulate earlier, up to 3-4 weeks. Pheromones from the ram stimulate ovulation in the ewe. Can achieve by housing and grazing rams near to the ewes. A teaser ram can be run with the ewes 17 days before planned tupping.
DN Progressive Healthy Bucket
DN Sugar Max Bucket
DN GP Bucket
If you require further information on Pre-Tupping, then please speak to your local DN Sales Specialist or call Dugdale Nutrition on 01200 420200.