Proper planning is key to success at breeding time
How quickly a year goes by. Last week all the ewes were bred using AI. Again, it was a two day job, with five days between each lot. Sponges were removed two days before AI and the ewes injected with PMSG.
All of them were housed the next morning and left to fast with no food or water for 24 hours before AI. This is very important because the ewes' bladders need to be empty so the vet has a better view of where to place the semen.
The rams arrived from Lyons Estate in the morning. On arrival they are put into individual pens so they do not harm each other. If left in a group they would start to fight and head-butt each other.
Then we let a couple of ewes wander up and down by the rams just to get them interested. Each ram is then let out to a ewe and, when he mounts the ewe, semen is collected.
The semen is then checked under a microscope. All the rams on day one jumped quickly and provided enough semen each for 40 ewes. The second day the rams were slower but with a bit of patience and encouragement they all worked.
All the rams' identification details are pre-recorded into my hand-held device. Each lot of ewes have their ID numbers recorded and correlated to the rams being used when they are being placed in the crates for AI.
This way the parentage of the lambs should be easily found. It is also very important that the ewe has both tags, so any ewes with one tag had this replaced with two new ones the day we were putting in the sponges. We changed any damaged tags also.