ALL the ewes on the farm have been prepared for breeding. They were dipped, fluke-dosed and supplemented with minerals and vitamins. This is one of the options I selected for the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
The ewes were also divided up into groups for each ram, with ram lambs getting bunches of about 30 ewes and older rams bunches of 50-60 ewes.
The Lanark ewe lambs for breeding won’t go to the ram until well into November.
There was another divide, with ewes selected for either the Bluefaced Leicester rams or the Blackface (Lanark type) rams for breeding on farm replacements.
These bunches will be run with the rams over the next few months. It is an important time of year to be vigilant and make sure they are working correctly, that they aren’t sick and running the risk of having a temperature which can make them infertile.
Once the ewes and rams are running together, they get very little disturbance.
I use a raddle on all rams as a tool to help me know if rams are working and are fertile. I use the powder and oil and brush it onto their chests. It’s a bit more labour expensive than the crayons, but I get a closer inspection of the ram more often which helps to make sure he’s healthy. I start off with a brighter colour, maybe yellow, and every two weeks I gradually select a darker colour, eg green followed by blue and red.
This is also very useful in the spring time in knowing when ewes are going to lamb and can be
Tom Staunton farms in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo