Ram management/ tighter lambing periods

Tommy700

Member
Basically iv started this to learn new ways other than my old man has always thought me. Can anyone share their own experiences or knowledge when it comes to tupping. Great topic as lamb prices had started so high at the start of the year.
Tighter lambing periods?
Higher lamb yields?
Teasers ?
Sponging?
Ram fertility checks?
 

AYF

Well-Known Member
We use teasers here.
In two weeks before the tups, teasers out and rams in same day.
Some say they need longer, others say less. 2 weeks does ok for us.

Works very well.
We don't have that energy draining week or two of drips and drabs at lambing any more.


As for extra lambs, flushing is key.
Keep the ewes on a very bare place then into nice lush aftermath with the teasers.


What breed ewes have you?
 

Tommy700

Member
Rams in the same day? An old fella over the way from us always said he’d give them a few days break between teasers and tups.. but I guess makes more sense letting them in right away.

Do you let the tups in on two cycles then ? Or no break at all?

This year hadn’t been as bad with stragglers but the 3-4 years previous nightmare..

Yeah we have always flushed too with ewes in quiet good condition to be fair aswell as the rams had them well checked over too

We run all lowland breeds mainly Charollais,Cheviots and tex small number of bluetex. Tups being the same with Suffolk which seem to only ever have footroth compared to the others. What do you run yourself?and what teasers ? I was told Dorset’s?
 

AYF

Well-Known Member
Yup. Rams in same day. Usually have a few raddle marks before they leave the yard! We bring them in to change over as the groups tend to be big. So just easier to sort one lot of boys out in the race whilst the others wait in the yard for their girls!

We don't really break as such.
Older ewes get three cycles, change crayon for each one.
Rams go in with the theaves (two tooth) ewes the same time as we change to the third raddle mark for the older girls.
That way there is a slight relaxing in proceedings whilst the theaves get on with things (they do get a teaser too but not as effective on them)
We run the third cycle of the older girls with the theaves at lambing to make management easier.

If she hasn't held in 3 cycles she's out the door. Although we will sometimes wait till scanning to find out as I have had rams lose crayons before.


Have you figures on lambing % for each breed? They say texels aren't the easiest to get lots of lambs out of. Especially the more pure they are. Can't really comment on the others as I've no experience of them.
We run mainly suffolk x's and a few tex x. A few Lleyn's there (they seemed cheep at the time!) There's a group of easy cares both proper easy cares and our own concoction of wiltshire x texels mixed in with them.
The proper easy cares being an experiment really.
Bought a load of Aberfield ewes this year to try out too. In the quest for a smaller ewe that will still produce the goods, be a better mother and hopefully keep the lambing % up.

Teasers are a real mix. We've a few shedding lambs kept from the wiltshires and a few Jacob x exlanna (which don't shed unfortunately!) Which were bought from a teaser firm. Not sure how important the breed is tbh. Anything will do the job.
They say a group of rams kept in a pen in the field would do the same job!


What's your end goal?
Is it lambs for the hook or breeding?
 

Tommy700

Member
Yeah I agree on that system too we also use the raddle it’s a good indication on how rams are performing and obviously tupping..

we also do the same come scanning I guess only thing was my old man could leave them in for 8/9 weeks just because he hasn’t seen any marks of a tup even though come scanning we had a few in lamb without marks which was a shock but as you said belts break and colour fades.

lambing % on each breed not quiet we normal scan the lot together as there’s no PB as such every year if go through the obvious with the older ewes and I always keep triple and doubles as replacements for our ow but we only lambed 1.7% the last two years. Not all the overly happy but the early lambers are hard get a good yield.

we also have some Suffolk x and tex x.
Speaking of Lleyn’s a local farmer runs mostly Lleyn’s and he scanned 2.3% last year impressive im actually going to borrow a a couple for the later lambers see is there a good outcome. But as we are selling for the hook the carcass seems alot smaller which could be more difficult to meet weights as early. Aberfields have a good reputation only I heard a guy once saying he had awful trouble with udders after lambing. could have been a number of things I guess..

True I guess we had our rams in a paddock beside them maybe 12 days prior so hopefully that’ll help.

End goal is really to get lambing% up along with tighten up my overall lambing.
 

Ard_Mc

New Member
Yup. Rams in same day. Usually have a few raddle marks before they leave the yard! We bring them in to change over as the groups tend to be big. So just easier to sort one lot of boys out in the race whilst the others wait in the yard for their girls!

We don't really break as such.
Older ewes get three cycles, change crayon for each one.
Rams go in with the theaves (two tooth) ewes the same time as we change to the third raddle mark for the older girls.
That way there is a slight relaxing in proceedings whilst the theaves get on with things (they do get a teaser too but not as effective on them)
We run the third cycle of the older girls with the theaves at lambing to make management easier.

If she hasn't held in 3 cycles she's out the door. Although we will sometimes wait till scanning to find out as I have had rams lose crayons before.


Have you figures on lambing % for each breed? They say texels aren't the easiest to get lots of lambs out of. Especially the more pure they are. Can't really comment on the others as I've no experience of them.
We run mainly suffolk x's and a few tex x. A few Lleyn's there (they seemed cheep at the time!) There's a group of easy cares both proper easy cares and our own concoction of wiltshire x texels mixed in with them.
The proper easy cares being an experiment really.
Bought a load of Aberfield ewes this year to try out too. In the quest for a smaller ewe that will still produce the goods, be a better mother and hopefully keep the lambing % up.

Teasers are a real mix. We've a few shedding lambs kept from the wiltshires and a few Jacob x exlanna (which don't shed unfortunately!) Which were bought from a teaser firm. Not sure how important the breed is tbh. Anything will do the job.
They say a group of rams kept in a pen in the field would do the same job!


What's your end goal?
Is it lambs for the hook or breeding?

Thinking of buying an Aberfield to run with horned ewes. See if there is a market for that kind of ewe lamb. And hope the ram be a bit easier to finish than the mule ram lamb.
 
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AYF

Well-Known Member
Yeah I agree on that system too we also use the raddle it’s a good indication on how rams are performing and obviously tupping..

we also do the same come scanning I guess only thing was my old man could leave them in for 8/9 weeks just because he hasn’t seen any marks of a tup even though come scanning we had a few in lamb without marks which was a shock but as you said belts break and colour fades.

lambing % on each breed not quiet we normal scan the lot together as there’s no PB as such every year if go through the obvious with the older ewes and I always keep triple and doubles as replacements for our ow but we only lambed 1.7% the last two years. Not all the overly happy but the early lambers are hard get a good yield.

we also have some Suffolk x and tex x.
Speaking of Lleyn’s a local farmer runs mostly Lleyn’s and he scanned 2.3% last year impressive im actually going to borrow a a couple for the later lambers see is there a good outcome. But as we are selling for the hook the carcass seems alot smaller which could be more difficult to meet weights as early. Aberfields have a good reputation only I heard a guy once saying he had awful trouble with udders after lambing. could have been a number of things I guess..

True I guess we had our rams in a paddock beside them maybe 12 days prior so hopefully that’ll help.

End goal is really to get lambing% up along with tighten up my overall lambing.
Having a count of % on various breeds might give you an idea of which ones to concentrate on.
Our scanning comes out 185-200% most years. That's the whole flock. It's normally the Sufolks taking it upwards as it would be mostly them in the triplets pen! And the triplets pen is too big really!!

If your on 170 but very few triplets you might be in a good spot! More triplets brings nothing but hardship in my opinion!


Of course, scanning% means nothing. The % per ewe sold is the big one.
 

Tommy700

Member
Great point actually I’ll have to scan separate breeds give me a better idea I guess. We tend to have very little triplets which then again is less work and easier on the mother of course.

when do you normally lamb early or later ?
Is it just me or are you finding iodine less effective each year on lambs even though I double/triple it up. I got some lambs with different problems the last couple of years and I’m putting it down to that. Always have a fresh pens. Lot of guys using alamycin instead few pets I’d bought last year seemed to have blue spray on their nabels
 

AYF

Well-Known Member
Great point actually I’ll have to scan separate breeds give me a better idea I guess. We tend to have very little triplets which then again is less work and easier on the mother of course.

when do you normally lamb early or later ?
Is it just me or are you finding iodine less effective each year on lambs even though I double/triple it up. I got some lambs with different problems the last couple of years and I’m putting it down to that. Always have a fresh pens. Lot of guys using alamycin instead few pets I’d bought last year seemed to have blue spray on their nabels
We lamb mid Feb onwards.

What % is your iodine?
A mate sent some supposedly 10% iodine for testing, came back less than 5%! He got trading standards involved, the company simply said it must have been a labeling mistake!
Makes you wonder how many 'labeling mistakes' there are!

We used to use Bactakill, which I thought was good gear, but father insists on Iodine again as he was adamant the lack of colour in Bactakill meant that the lambing help weren't putting enough on.

A mate also swears by Copper sulphate for navels! Not sure what to make of that mind you.


Blanket antibiotics is a big no no over here by now. Although plenty are still at it.

Hygiene all the way. Gloves to pull lambs and a hand washing station for regular washing is order of the day here. And washing down and disinfecting leggings regularly.
 

paddysdream

Well-Known Member
Have never had an issue with joint ill here .Indoor lambing starting in late Feb. with hoggets lambing down end of March .Use 10% iodine liberally .
Wonder if it becomes endemic in a flock ?Hear of some resorting to foot spray etc to try and control it .
Built new lambing shed here few years ago and concreted floors of existing ones and the following lambing was the most disease free ever .No e coli etc .

I believe that hygiene is most important .Things like sheds here are cleaned out the day last of the sheep go out and powerwashed down .Hard to beat a few months sunshine to kill the remaining bugs on clean concrete . .Surprising the amount of people who decide a month before housing is an apt time to remove last years dung .Would normally house after Christmas depending on weather and would clean out sheds maybe week before lambing .I believe disease builds up and having ewes lamb down on months old dung ain't a good idea .All straw bedded here .
Individual pens not cleaned out ,just fresh straw used. Thats more a time/labour issue really as pens are set up in 3 span shed and would be difficult to clean out after each ewe .
Ewes lamb in one shed and penned individually in another shed then moved to adjoining shed for a day or two to harden up.Land is dry here but very little shelter so lambs would need to be weatherproof before going out .

Had a good amount of e coli problems few years ago but better feeding of ewes and not keeping older ewes with poor quality milk helped.Done blanket approach with Enroxil for a couple of years but at this stage its unlikely would even use a 100ml bottle in total .Trick is to get them in time.If they are missed for even 6 hours its often too late .Hygiene hygiene hygiene .

Use ram effect here with rams beside ewes for a week/10 days and removed for a week then into the ewes .Does tighten up lambing a bit .Would always leave a couple of rams in with the ewes after the main bunch are removed .End of May is about the limit for lambing but that's maybe 10/15 .Poor cast ewe price for a few years meant that a ewe lambing even a single in early May was better than a supposedly dry one at scanning in December .
Gave up early lambing here years ago .Tried it once again about 5 years ago with a bunch of older ewes where the plan was to finish the mothers along with the lambs .Lets just say not my brightest idea .
 

Tommy700

Member
We lamb mid Feb onwards.

What % is your iodine?
A mate sent some supposedly 10% iodine for testing, came back less than 5%! He got trading standards involved, the company simply said it must have been a labeling mistake!
Makes you wonder how many 'labeling mistakes' there are!

We used to use Bactakill, which I thought was good gear, but father insists on Iodine again as he was adamant the lack of colour in Bactakill meant that the lambing help weren't putting enough on.

A mate also swears by Copper sulphate for navels! Not sure what to make of that mind you.


Blanket antibiotics is a big no no over here by now. Although plenty are still at it.

Hygiene all the way. Gloves to pull lambs and a hand washing station for regular washing is order of the day here. And washing down and disinfecting leggings regularly.
Supposed to be 10% but I call bulls**t on it never got it tested but had often thought about it. A really good tell tale sign for me was if you accidentally got some on your skin, I remember as a small child it could be on you for days but nowadays you'd rinse it off more or less with ease. Maybe that’s just me?

We also used Bactakill maybe the most common one we do use. Like your dad I also think it’s very well watered down looking.

Copper sulphate? How’s he apply that some water and a mix ? That’s a new one mind you.

Hygiene is key the key. Lots of bedding in pens along with some liming now and again as well as welly’s/boots being washed down it only ever takes a few minutes really when you’ve a set up.
 

Tommy700

Member
Neighbour indoor lambs and had terrible trouble with joint ill this time,he blamed the iodine,he sent it back.
Very same happened my uncle last year out of nearly 500 lambs he had been hit with almost 20 with joint ill then again his lambing help could have been some of the fault well I hope so.. what happened after sending it back ?
 

Tommy700

Member
Have never had an issue with joint ill here .Indoor lambing starting in late Feb. with hoggets lambing down end of March .Use 10% iodine liberally .
Wonder if it becomes endemic in a flock ?Hear of some resorting to foot spray etc to try and control it .
Built new lambing shed here few years ago and concreted floors of existing ones and the following lambing was the most disease free ever .No e coli etc .

I believe that hygiene is most important .Things like sheds here are cleaned out the day last of the sheep go out and powerwashed down .Hard to beat a few months sunshine to kill the remaining bugs on clean concrete . .Surprising the amount of people who decide a month before housing is an apt time to remove last years dung .Would normally house after Christmas depending on weather and would clean out sheds maybe week before lambing .I believe disease builds up and having ewes lamb down on months old dung ain't a good idea .All straw bedded here .
Individual pens not cleaned out ,just fresh straw used. Thats more a time/labour issue really as pens are set up in 3 span shed and would be difficult to clean out after each ewe .
Ewes lamb in one shed and penned individually in another shed then moved to adjoining shed for a day or two to harden up.Land is dry here but very little shelter so lambs would need to be weatherproof before going out .

Had a good amount of e coli problems few years ago but better feeding of ewes and not keeping older ewes with poor quality milk helped.Done blanket approach with Enroxil for a couple of years but at this stage its unlikely would even use a 100ml bottle in total .Trick is to get them in time.If they are missed for even 6 hours its often too late .Hygiene hygiene hygiene .

Use ram effect here with rams beside ewes for a week/10 days and removed for a week then into the ewes .Does tighten up lambing a bit .Would always leave a couple of rams in with the ewes after the main bunch are removed .End of May is about the limit for lambing but that's maybe 10/15 .Poor cast ewe price for a few years meant that a ewe lambing even a single in early May was better than a supposedly dry one at scanning in December .
Gave up early lambing here years ago .Tried it once again about 5 years ago with a bunch of older ewes where the plan was to finish the mothers along with the lambs .Lets just say not my brightest idea .
Your lucky to never have encountered it I guess. All like you’ve said I’m pretty much the same in regards to bedding pens and cleaning out the sheds early summer I do the exact same can’t bare looking at a mess all summer and having to face into cleaning it come winter.

Do you mind asking what kinda shed had you put up? I’m in the process of putting up a bigger / second one at the moment. Feed barriers one side and pens on opp all straw bedding too. Anything you’d have changed or done that was a help.


Since it’s quiet windy where you are have you had many problems with mastitis? We never had e coli luckily. Always feed higher % protein for milk purposes.

Actually had our rams the same way this year maybe a week / 10 days beside the ewes before letting them in leaving them in for two weeks then out for a week and see how many more are tipped. Cast ewe prices have been poor lord of locals doing the same as you had said even one strong lamb at foot is worth a lot more. We always early lamb find it works best for us here and frees us up Nice and early in the year for other jobs as well with lamb prices been highest when we are selling. But like always it never takes long for prices to drift back down unfortunately.
 

scoffcruddle

Well-Known Member
Very same happened my uncle last year out of nearly 500 lambs he had been hit with almost 20 with joint ill then again his lambing help could have been some of the fault well I hope so.. what happened after sending it back ?
They sent him the usual Battles instead,trouble was the damage was done by then.

Regards hygiene at lambing this would be the cleanest fussiest farm you’d ever go near,I’d rate him as the best sheep farmer there is.
 

JohnBoy

Well-Known Member
As someone who knows only how to cook lamb I've a few questions.....

Flushing?
Sponging?
Cast lamb/ewe?

What do these mean?
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
As someone who knows only how to cook lamb I've a few questions.....

Flushing?
Sponging?
Cast lamb/ewe?

What do these mean?
Flushing- Put on higher plane of nutrition to increase lambing %
Sponging- Synchronisation, similar job to PRID, CIDR
Cast- Stuck on their back, can't get up.
 

paddysdream

Well-Known Member
Flushing- Put on higher plane of nutrition to increase lambing %
Sponging- Synchronisation, similar job to PRID, CIDR
Cast- Stuck on their back, can't get up.
As Meatloaf sang;

Two outa three ain't bad .

Cast ewe is one that has come to the end of its tenure ie it will not be kept to be put in lamb again .
Happens for a multitude of reasons ,bad udder ,general body condition ,age ,poor mouth/missing teeth ,difficult previous lambing (roll or bed out ) or not going in lamb .
Sheep here are put to ram as ewe lambs .If dry are put again as hoggets but that's it .Easy to spot one that has escaped notice for any longer as they are mud fat ,first to the trough and in general great order .


The correct name for a ewe on her back is dead mutton .
 

paddysdream

Well-Known Member
Sheds here are general purpose ones ie not built or designed specifically for sheep .
Ewes are housed in a 8 span 40ft lean to .Just silage rack between each span .Its divided sometimes and more times just one loose shed .Holds c. 450/500 before lambing but thats a squeeze .
Ewes are brought down to yard for scanning around Christmas and housed at that stage. By housed I mean the yard is open and silage racks in the shed .Ewes go in and out to graze .Have only 15 acres at yard.When meal feeding starts the shed is closed at night .
Meal feeding is troughs placed in field beside shed .
Simple case of load meal in back of wagon ,drive into field ,fill troughs and back into yard and open shed doors .Takes all of 10 minutes usually .While ewes are out just bed the shed/s when needed and put in silage .
Very simple system .
Trebles and thin ewes are separeted before this and fed in another shed .

Ewes will graze during the day but by twilight they will all be back in the shed .This is the usual thing unless very wet weather .Most ewes will lamb in shed early morning so they usually will stay back when others go out .Easy enough to manage them .
Pens are in a 3 span shed across the yard from this one .Holds about 40 individual pens with walkway between them .
Sheep left here till mothered up or longer in the case of problem ones/fostered lambs etc .
Then weather dependent they are moved to another adjoining shed where they are left till they go out .All lambs numbered so what I do is pick out the strongest ones/ewes with no problems to let out each day Can set up pens in this shed as well if needed .

Lambing begins here end of Feb. and ewes finished mid March apart from a few stragglers .

Hoggets are housed with mature ewes early March and lamb from 20th March for 3 weeks .Just ran on grass as 2 seperate lots ie those scanned in lamb and dry ones .Always handy to have a few older ewes lambing when the hoggets start for spare parts I find .
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
As Meatloaf sang;

Two outa three ain't bad .

Cast ewe is one that has come to the end of its tenure ie it will not be kept to be put in lamb again .
Happens for a multitude of reasons ,bad udder ,general body condition ,age ,poor mouth/missing teeth ,difficult previous lambing (roll or bed out ) or not going in lamb .
Sheep here are put to ram as ewe lambs .If dry are put again as hoggets but that's it .Easy to spot one that has escaped notice for any longer as they are mud fat ,first to the trough and in general great order .


The correct name for a ewe on her back is dead mutton .
Different country, different language. What you call cast we would just call culls. Would agree with your last sentence though, if you didn't find the soon enough.
 

AYF

Well-Known Member
Sheds here are general purpose ones ie not built or designed specifically for sheep .
Ewes are housed in a 8 span 40ft lean to .Just silage rack between each span .Its divided sometimes and more times just one loose shed .Holds c. 450/500 before lambing but thats a squeeze .
Ewes are brought down to yard for scanning around Christmas and housed at that stage. By housed I mean the yard is open and silage racks in the shed .Ewes go in and out to graze .Have only 15 acres at yard.When meal feeding starts the shed is closed at night .
Meal feeding is troughs placed in field beside shed .
Simple case of load meal in back of wagon ,drive into field ,fill troughs and back into yard and open shed doors .Takes all of 10 minutes usually .While ewes are out just bed the shed/s when needed and put in silage .
Very simple system .
Trebles and thin ewes are separeted before this and fed in another shed .

Ewes will graze during the day but by twilight they will all be back in the shed .This is the usual thing unless very wet weather .Most ewes will lamb in shed early morning so they usually will stay back when others go out .Easy enough to manage them .
Pens are in a 3 span shed across the yard from this one .Holds about 40 individual pens with walkway between them .
Sheep left here till mothered up or longer in the case of problem ones/fostered lambs etc .
Then weather dependent they are moved to another adjoining shed where they are left till they go out .All lambs numbered so what I do is pick out the strongest ones/ewes with no problems to let out each day Can set up pens in this shed as well if needed .

Lambing begins here end of Feb. and ewes finished mid March apart from a few stragglers .

Hoggets are housed with mature ewes early March and lamb from 20th March for 3 weeks .Just ran on grass as 2 seperate lots ie those scanned in lamb and dry ones .Always handy to have a few older ewes lambing when the hoggets start for spare parts I find .
That 15 acres must be seriously dry land then?
Any of our fields would be mud in no time with that traffic! Very jealous I must say!



On the Joint ill front.
There is a theory that you either have it in a flock or not.
And that it can be bought in.

We had horrendous Ji when I was a youngster.
We improved an awful lot on hygiene and other things, went to virtually 0. Last few years again it's creaping up. Not to the stage that I worry, but more than it used to be. I do wonder have we simply bought it in!?

It can't all be sheds, as I know a few outdoor lads get it too!


Are there many on here who lamb at least some outside?

I'm seriously considering splitting the flock. First two lambings outside end of March. Then older ewes indoors feb as we do now.
 

eire23

Well-Known Member
Lamb inside and outside here. Zero joint ill in what's born outside. Have never seen it in a lamb born outside come to think of it.
The sheep lambing inside get a touch of it every year, not enough to call it a problem though.
I find that noroclav/synulox treats it well and the golden rule is make sure and treat them for 5 days even if their perfect after day 3. Don't be tempted to stop at that stage. Done that once and it came back and the lamb never recovered right.
 
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paddysdream

Well-Known Member
That ground is pretty dry ok .Still would cut up a bit in very wet weather .Basically the top gets greasy and its difficult to drive on but all sheep come with 4wd as standard so not a problem .
Its in 4 kinda divisions with a stream dividing one part from the rest .Had corn and sugar beet in one part of it years ago but the rest hasn't been ploughed/reseeded in at least 100 years .
Do know the P and K levels are off the scale from soil tests couple of years ago .

Used to lamb outside up to about 15 years ago .Had more sheep at the time but then again I had 15 less years on the clock .Always found that indoor lambing is more for the shepherd than the sheep .
Used to lamb outside with "standard " sheep ie mix of Borris type ewe,Texel and Suff cross .Maybe if I had used a different type ewe or lambed in April might have stayed at it .
Also animal welfare standards have changed so bunging dead newborn lambs into the nearest hole etc might not cut the mustard nowadays .
When beet industry ended it cut down out wintering option .Never keen on catch crop as its costly between machine and inputs .Once shed space was here switched to indoor lambing although the last few usually lamb outside as once the weather warms up its pointless keeping them indoors .

As regards the joint ill;used to have a bit when outdoor lambing but that was again perhaps a hygiene thing as some would lamb in less than ideal conditions
 
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Bog Man

Well-Known Member
Different country, different language. What you call cast we would just call culls. Would agree with your last sentence though, if you didn't find the soon enough.

One of my in-laws is from sheep country in west Wicklow and he always referred to Dry Elders. If he told a joke and a female thought it was too risqué he would refer to them as a Dry Elder.
 
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