2013 crypto outbreak changes plans for next lambing season
The breeding season is almost complete and over the coming weeks I will begin to take up all Bluefaced Leicester rams.
Once the rams have been taken up, they will be put on 1kg/hd/day of concentrates to help them build up their reserves that they have lost throughout the mating season. I will leave the Scottish Blackface (Lanark type) rams with the ewes for a week or so longer.
All in all, the breeding season went quite well with very few repeats. I was delighted with the low number of repeats I had from the 70 Blackface Mountain ewes that I artificially inseminated. There were 13 repeats out of 70 which gives a hold to first service of a little over 81pc.
It's so far so good with this project, but getting the ewes in lamb is only half the battle. The real battle will begin over the coming months and into spring. In general there have been very few repeats throughout the flock and I think that the conception rates have been good for a number of reasons:
* The ewes were in the right condition before and at mating and they were on an increasing plane of nutrition;
* The ewes were dosed against fluke and were also treated with liquid trace elements before the ram was introduced which impacts on the immune system, fertility and hormone production;
* Ram management was good, with all the rams fertility tested. I checked the rams several times a day to ensure that they were tupping correctly, were following ewes, so I could put a raddle mark on them and to ensure they were healthy and not sick. I also gave some concentrates meals with high levels of oats to rams for energy. I use this meal on rams that are busy working and have no time to graze and also for rams that are losing body condition quicker than others. If there are any of the above, action is taken and rams are swapped with another ram or taken up completely and replaced. It is important to be vigilant and act immediately if something is wrong;
* The ewes were not put under any major stress.